'No Rain, No Flowers," a story of freedom
Sabrina Claudio’s first studio album is a story of humble confidence, growth, bitterness, acceptance of change and self-love delivered in eight tracks. Claudio has received widespread critical acclaim after the release of the EP “Confidently Lost” in 2017 and the her mixtape, “About Time.” Claudio’s latest release comes from SC Entertainment, a division of Atlantic Records. The album, entitled “No Rain, No Flowers” has all the groovy, smooth and intricate beat and melody work as her previous projects, but also comes with a full storyline. The album took only a month and a half to make and was mainly helmed by Claudio herself and producer SadMoneyMusic. Claudio says she has never felt so compelled to be vulnerable as she was while writing this album. In eight tracks, “No Rain, No Flowers” takes listeners from the start of a raw, open and infatuated relationship to the end, where Claudio comes to terms with all that has happened. At first listen, one could assume it is about a romantic relationship, but that is up for debate and interpretation. The single “Messages from Her” has a haunting melody and careful, thoughtful lyrics that truly prelude what the album means and what Claudio wants the listener to understand about her journey.
Fans and other followers of the artist are likely aware of her recent scandal. Tweets of hers resurfaced in which she made derogatory comments about black women from her official account and an apparent secret handle. Claudio said in a statement, “I realize my past ignorance is affecting people I care so much about, and I am so sorry. I've made mistakes and while I cannot take them back, I will learn from them.”
Claudio takes listeners on a journey that certainly is a whiplash of emotions; pay close enough attention and you might find yourself relating to the stages that she goes through on some level.
The album is cleanly split into two parts; the first four tracks flow into each other and the last four stand alone. The progression is built like a rollercoaster – climbing to the top and then making its way back down to a state of contentment and neutrality. “Come Here,” “Naked” and “Numb” are the tracks that really stood out and can carry on with or without the storyline she has built through the album.
“Come Here” is her declaration and where the story begins. The growing emotion in her voice throughout is the most striking aspect of the track. A seamless, delicate transition leads us into “Naked.” The beat drops, and we break away from the light, intentional guitar strumming we heard before and into this Afro-inspired beat. It gives off this subtle confidence on her part, a freedom that she feels because she can so blindly strip to the barest parts of her mind and trust someone.
“Creation” is the climax on this fictional rollercoaster, as the lyrics and beat are more raw and directional. This is the anthem of the woman scorned, bitter and petty with good reason. Seething lines like “she must wanna thank me” and “so, you’re welcome for the pleasure” are deliberate, steady and clear, allowing them to carry that much more weight. The second half of the album starts with “Numb,” a stream of consciousness as we watch her begin to cope with what is happening around her. “Numb” is my personal favorite off the album, as it opens with this futuristic kind of feel, reminiscent of the airy, light rhythm in Outkast’s “Prototype.” This track also has the second beat drop on the album that I loved to hear.
Claudio maintains that same groovy, R&B sound that she has cultivated without sounding repetitive or similar to her previous works. Claudio and her team of producers continue to push the boundaries that she has set and experiment with the relationship between new sounds and her own voice and melody. The music is not behind her but with her, holding just as much weight as her words. This album is meant to be a guideline for growth and change, for dealing with another memory, another lesson and another story.