AOTY 2018


Nao - Saturn
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2018 Ratings: #147 / 705
User Score
Based on 85 ratings
2018 Ratings: #99
October 26, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Little Tokyo, Sony UK / Label
Alternative R&B / Genres
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The Skinny

NAO assuredly ascends into the stratosphere with sophomore album Saturn, an open diary that leaves you both rooting for and absorbed in the afflictions of the angelic singer.

The Line of Best Fit

A powerful documentation of letting relationships, jobs and regrets go, Saturn is an emotional journey through struggle and empowerment, through loss and rebirth.


On Saturn, the London-based singer-songwriter delves into the difficulty and ecstasy of reasserting one's identity, pushing her sound into new realms.

The Independent

Saturn is a work in perpetual orbit, which leads the listener through NAO’s personal journey over the past few years. It’s an album that feels grounded and also futuristic.


Nao is entirely galactic on this record – there is an omnipresent sensation of otherness throughout the album. Whether it be in the trademark effluvient vocal or in the consistently atmospheric and glistening instrumental, ‘Saturn’ is spacial.

The Guardian
With the rise of R&B classicists in the form of Jorja Smith, Ella Mai and Mahalia, Nao presents a compelling alternative to the mainstream.
An astronomical album, filled with blessings, Nao’s second record fuses R&B and jazz to explore the hardships and feelings of being a modern-day black woman.
The 405

In short, Saturn is quite the trip, more than worthy of its stellar name.

On her second album, the London singer-songwriter examines personal growth, romantic upheaval, and the trials of young adulthood through an astrological lens.
Loud and Quiet
‘Saturn’’s sonic palette and millennial anxieties are both strikingly modern, a testament to Nao’s perceptiveness as a songwriter.
No Ripcord

It's unfair to describe Saturn as an outright disappointment because it's far from it - If You Ever and Love Supreme are notable examples of how she's developing her earthy, soulful sound with urgent funk bursts.

‘Saturn’ is a triumph and by reflecting so intensely on her struggles, Nao seems to have emerged a stronger person for it.
só não dou nota maior porque não é um disco que ficou na minha cabeça, nenhuma música me chamou muito a atenção (talvez só yellow of the sun, que jam!!), mas ainda sim é um disco muito bom e eu fiquei bem feliz com esta evolução dela. Eu ñ gostei de sua estréia dois anos atrás, me pareceu só mais uma artista wannabe de r&b alternativo atual, com todas suas visualidades, ... read more
This is OUTSTANDING. So lush, well-produced and cohesive, and yet the songs don't blend together. I love that the album gains momentum in the second half by clustering the BANGERS together. The cluster of Love Supreme, Curiosity and Drive and Disconnect nearly took me OUT. Special mention to the incredible title track; they're voices complement each other so well and it's probably my favourite song on the album lyrically.

It's a beautiful accompanying album to Honey, too. Come THROUGH ... read more
Nao's songwriting really gets a chance to shine on this compared to her debut. I love the travel and space metaphors that tie this project together without feeling overdone. Really no weak tracks on this and I appreciate that.
Faves: If You Ever, Curiosity, Love Supreme, Gabriel, Orbit
I absolutely loved her debut. Saturn is a continuation and another great album for this soul of the 90s revival.
This album is very reminiscent of SZA's album from last year, with a ton of pop-heavy soul music that is very conscious of what makes it engaging as well as widely accessible to listeners. Like that album, however, I think it'll take some time to grow on me. It took easily four listens to that album for me to consider it one of the best of the year. With that being said, this album requires at least one or two more listens before it will really settle in and feel like something ... read more
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Track List

  1. Another Lifetime
  2. Make It Out Alive (feat. SiR)
  3. If You Ever
  4. When Saturn Returns
  5. Saturn (feat. Kwabs)
  6. Gabriel
  7. Orbit
  8. Love Supreme
  9. Curiosity
  10. Drive and Disconnect
  11. Don't Change
  12. Yellow of the Sun
  13. A Life Like This
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Added on: September 19, 2018