Kali Uchis’ third album has a seriously lush start: birds chirping, wind chimes and the Colombian-American singer whispering “I love you” are the initial sounds that pull you into ‘Red Moon In Venus’. The instrumental works as a perfect, serene introduction to a collection of songs which Uchis has called a “timeless burning expression of desire, heartbreak, faith, and honesty”.
The following track ‘I Wish You Roses’ similarly nails the brief, with lush orchestration and soulful antidotes of letting go of love without bitterness: “With pretty flowers can come the bee sting”, Uchis purrs over steady R&B arrangements, “but I wish you love, I wish you well”. Her voice offers unconditional grace throughout the track, that is, until, she hits reaches her boundaries: “You’re gonna want me back/You know I can’t do that” at the close. This is an artist in full control or her craft and message.
- READ MORE: Kali Uchis – ‘Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞’ review: a divine, boundary-busting second album
‘Red Moon In Venus’ arrives two years after Uchis defiantly dropped her first full Spanish-language album, ‘Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞’, following 2018’s breakthrough, guest-heavy debut ‘Isolation’. Upon the former’s release, she acknowledged the barrier for those “who do not wish to make the attempt to listen to music in languages they can’t understand”, but was steadfast in her decision. Uchis has since bagged numerous wins at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, and album highlight ‘Telepatía’ has had considerable chart success.
With her most recent offering, however, Uchis takes on a different kind of defiance; here she wants to embody the “divine femme”. Instead of only leaning into the creative and nurturing habits the archetype is known for, she blissfully navigates the darkest manifestations of love, weaving in tales of both delight and calamity.
On the sultry ‘Worth The Wait’, Uchis duets with Gen Z heartthrob Omar Apollo, as both singers lean into retro registers in their deliveries. Their voices spiral over the track’s steady tempo, oscillating between spoken questions and honest confessions, at one point sweetly acknowledging in unison that “most people don’t know how to love that’s why they’re empty.”
On ‘Moonlight’, Uchis keeps the sentiment concise, hitting the highest peaks of her vocal range as she dips between English and Spanish. ‘Moral Conscience’, meanwhile, opens with Uchis declaring “one thing about karma, that bitch will find you” as she weaves a beautifully haunting threat of universal retaliation for childhood wounds. On ‘Deserve Me’, Uchis is joined by Summer Walker and sighs that “I don’t deserve the shit you put me through / Like you don’t know that you’re lucky”. By the track’s conclusion, she’s repeating “you don’t deserve me” like a mantra. Kali doesn’t forget, or forgive, easily, it seems.
In a note accompanying the album, Uchis warns that “many astrologers believe the blood moon can send your emotions into a spin”, but despite its subject matter, the record’s production and graceful composition prove more calming than dizzying. Most of the tracks brood in alluring R&B, but closing track ‘Happy Now’ ends the record on an upbeat note. The disco jaunt sees Uchis venturing into a sweet pop moment, as she earnestly asks, “can we be happy now?” It’s an optimistic, open-ended inquiry for a story deserving of a hopeful resolution.
- Release date: March 3, 2023
- Record label: Geffen Records