“I’m dumb and I’ll chase/ I’m young and I’ll waste you away,” singer-songwriter Abra sings on “Roses XOXO.”
“A rose,” she says, “is something that blossoms and is super beautiful and then dies really fast, like all beautiful things. Everything dies. Everything has its seasons. Move the fuck on. There’ll be more roses next year.”
That impassioned title interpretation matches the nature of Abra’s new album, Roses: “It’s about the loss of innocence.” Check out an exclusive premiere of Rose below:
Her own loss of innocence, she says, occurred long before the making of this album, however. Perhaps she is referring to a time closer to a few years ago, when she could be found on YouTube, performing acoustic guitar covers of explicit southern rap songs as “Hurricane Gabrielle” from her bathroom. Eventually, a pre-fame Father would be drawn to these videos and reach out to her. Since then, Abra began to take trips to the Barrio, the now-defunct Awful Records’ apartment studio in Atlanta, center of creativity and debauchery. Within the subsequent year, she collaborated with many of the group’s members and released her own EP, BLQ VELVET.
Abra prides herself on being a polymath; she makes her own beats, writes her own raps, and sings. She avoids the modern vein of traditional rap sounds in favor of drums and synthesizers reminiscent of 1980’s pop. “I’m Phil Collins with 808s,” she exclaims.
Roses features Abra often exploring the tension between being hurt by people and being able to reconnect with people. On the ballad “Pride,” she finds herself having sacrificed all of her pride in the helpless throes of heartbreak, but still in a state of willing desperation to connect with something emotionally.
Her current work is certainly a departure from her cheeky acoustic covers in terms of seriousness, but in real life her sense of humor is applied liberally. When speaking about the album, she took the rose analogy to an extreme by comparing the fake, prop roses in her trunk that were to be thrown in the dumpster to an imaginary girl with breast implants who eventually gets dumped. “But you’re still a beautiful rose” she clarifies. Has Abra been thrown in the trash before? “Yeah, I am a trash can.”
She returns to a somewhat serious tone to expand on the significance of the rose. She responds, this time more adamantly: “It’s like a human life. It’s ugly as fuck and then it’s like ‘I’m flourishing and I’m beautiful’ but it doesn’t last forever — just like everything good. Everything dies. But it is beautiful for a little while, and that’s it.”