Nav - NAV Album Review
Disclaimer – this album contains course language and mature subject matter, please
listen at your own discretion
Release: Feb. 24, 2017
Features: The Weeknd
NAV is the self-titled debut project from Canadian producer/rapper and
protégé of The Weeknd, Nav. This artist, like his mentor, is known to be secretive, as
he has never done a major interview or shown his face extensively anywhere. As a
product of Toronto’s Rexdale community, he is following the footsteps of Drake,
PARTYNEXTDOOR and The Weeknd to stardom with a dark, nocturnal sound that is
one with Toronto.
This project begins with “Myself”, a somber cry for help, where Nav claims to
dislike himself when he isn’t sober. This track shines a light on the issue of
substance abuse, as Nav details the toll his addictions have taken on him. This theme
is too common throughout NAV, which is one of the project’s few downfalls.
However, Nav’s somewhat regretful attitude towards his vices make for more
compelling art than similar commentary from the majority of other rappers.
The project begins a run of more up-tempo bangers, where Nav exhibits the
thug/boss side of his personality. These tracks, including NAV, My Mind and Good
For It boasts synth-driven, bass-drenched instrumentals with trap beats to frame
Nav’s cocky, threatening tone. The best track here is My Mind, which has an
extremely catchy melody.
The pace slows down at Lonely, which is somewhat of a syrupy love track
that could be linked to any other RnB singer from Toronto. This trend continues for
a few tracks, with the exception of Up, a track co-produced by Metro Boomin. This
track is probably the project’s worst, as it has neither the catchy melodies nor the
memorable production that is characteristic of Nav’s music.
Following this track, the project returns to form with “Interlude”, another
slow love song. This track, by contrast to Lonely, it’s earlier contemporary, is
downtrodden and somewhat sad. Nav speaks about how a girl makes him feel
happiness, but he is still isolated from her emotionally because of his behaviour.
Sleep, a pseudo-banger with a darker instrumental is next, but Mariah, another love
track follows. This song is Nav talking to a girl who is only with him because of his
status. It is sobering and Nav’s hurt is tangible, as the backing music is slow and
cloudy in a way that paints a picture of his dejectedness.
The project’s energy returns with, Some Way, the album’s big single, which
contains a verse and a chorus by The Weeknd. This track gained Nav new fans as
The Weeknd is rumoured to have dissed Justin Bieber in this song. The media
attention this brought gave Nav exposure, which was an awesome publicity stunt to
showcase Nav to a wider audience. This track is not really the project’s best, as it is
not very memorable musically. It is composed of another trap beat with a muted
synth backing, with lyrics about clubbing and being with “the squad”.
The closer song follows. TTD, another brooding love track about a
woman who is loyal to Nav features a liquidy, somber sound. If the city of Toronto
got to have a soundtrack, this song would be on it. It is so characteristic of the city’s
famous aesthetic and a perfect ending to a grand showcase of Nav, a character who
is triumphant, dejected and aloof all at once.
Favourite Songs (In order of appearance): NAV, My Mind, Interlude, Mariah
Least Favourite Song: Up