NUXXE · November 12, 2021
Salvador Navarrete, otherwise known as Sega Bodega, recently released his sophomore album, Romeo. This 10-track album further explores Navarrete’s experimental electronica intermixed with pop and UK bass. The London producer’s first solo album, Salvador (2020), was an emotionally raw album, showing us a new side of Navarrete. This album uncovered the artist’s distorted relationship with self-confidence and the dark side of his past. Prior to Salvador, Navarrete spent most of his time co-running the label NUXXE with Shygirl, Coucou Chloe, and Oklou, as well as producing music for other London-based artists. Since then, he has pivoted into a solo career while still collaborating with artists such as Charlotte Gainsbourg and Arca on his latest release Romeo.
Romeo takes on an entirely different feel, centered around the narrative of a fictional character named Luci, from the Latin root “light.” This mythical light-being acts as Navarrete’s partner throughout the album. Navarrete’s vivid imagination takes the wheel as he explores his songwriting style and ventures into a new space with Romeo. In an interview with Fader, he explains that his conception of the album idea came from a photo shoot he did: “I remember really wanting to do this image where I’m sat on a bed and this person made of light is holding me from behind, which is the artwork for one of the singles [“Only Seeing God When I Come”].” The story Navarrete tells on Romeo is experiential and interpretive. Unlike his past works, Romeo isn’t a clear translation of Navarrete’s thoughts but rather an ambiguous piece of art that he wants us to formulate our own messages about. On the track “All of Your Friends Think I’m Too Young for You,” Navarrete fuses his signature electronic beats with deep vocals and glitching sample sounds. This song goes through a unique path, with the first half representing Navarrete’s character in the relationship and the second half representing Luci with lighter vocals and a slower exit beat.
Later in the album, Navarrete incorporates new sounds like the guitar and its dreamy acoustic riffs on the popular track “Cicada (feat. Arca).” The collaboration between the guitar, the fast paced electronic beats, and the muffled vocals makes for a spooky daydream. Arca’s verse gives the sound a beautiful edge, her vocals transitioning into an instrumental bout with sounds that mimic cicadas. Although the album can feel overwhelming at times when the harsh club beat breaks and smooth synths compete against each other, it keeps the listener engaged with each track presenting a new idea. In the song “Luci,” we learn more about Navarrete and his mythical girlfriend’s relationship. The demonic vocals and lyrics make you question their dynamic: “We had it all, all we wanted was a soul / Run forever just to stay away from being cold.” While the lack of detail makes their relationship feel ominous, it also forces listeners to build their own storylines, accomplishing Navarrete’s goal of making his music ambiguous.
The concept album Romeo leads the listener through a futuristic love story. Navarrete is growing into his artistic style and his improvement in songwriting has given birth to a complicated yet compelling sophomore album. With the mix of UK-inspired club beats and nuanced vocals, Navarrete taps into new sounds while still managing to incorporate his signature feel. It might take you a few listens to make up your own story of the relationship between Navarrete and Luci, but regardless, they’re certainly an eccentric couple.