In early March, Colombian American soul and R&B singer Kali Uchis released her third studio album “Red Moon In Venus,” a fiery, starry-eyed interpretation of love and femininity. Consisting of fifteen songs that produce lush soundscapes detailing the fantasies and realities of an all-consuming romance, “Red Moon In Venus” shows Uchis at her most ethereal, celebrating the power of love and exploring the harsh realities of romance.
Contrary to the popular belief that a blood moon is a bad omen, Uchis’s red moon is a celestial body that guides her to a state of divine femininity. In an interview with NPR, Uchis revealed that the apocalyptic images a red moon evokes inspired her to assume control and power through her music. She intended to create an album that would “end the world.”
Uchis is certainly aware of her captivating energy throughout “Red Moon In Venus” — her alluring charisma acts as the driving force of the album. Uchis takes the playful and psychedelic energy that defined her past albums, “Isolation” and “Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios),” and shrouds them with the maturity appropriate for exploring themes of love, lust and heartbreak. In “Red Moon In Venus,” she doubles down on her emotional vulnerability but retains the fluidity in her music that transports listeners to otherworldly realms of feeling. The result is an intimate, spellbinding journey that tracks the highs and lows of loving and being loved.
Dreamy instrumentals, silky vocals and affectionate voiceovers are sprinkled throughout “Red Moon In Venus,” mesmerizing listeners from the first track. “in My Garden…,” a song under thirty seconds, kicks off the album with a breathy and suggestive love confession from Uchis. This introduction offers a smooth transition into the album’s lead single, “I Wish you Roses,” which depicts devotion and heartache competing for dominance in a relationship. Disguising the song as a declaration of faithfulness, Uchis subtly expresses the pain of wishing the best for a former loved one, sweetly repeating the lines: “But I wish you love, I wish you well / I wish you roses while you can still smell them.” The lead single reveals Uchis’s composure and grace, as well as her journey toward self-acceptance.
Through the rest of the album, Uchis dives into the deep end of love and blends divine forces with her own raw emotions. “Fantasy,” a dance number that is both upbeat and sensual and features R&B artist and Uchis’s romantic partner Don Toliver, highlights the carefreeness that comes with infatuation. Their back-and-forth banter on the song is infectious: As Toliver invites her to dance, Uchis lovingly pleads, “On my body, don’t let go of me/I just want the fantasy, love it when you worship me.” Despite these professions, Uchis abruptly interrupts the song and declares it over, saying “Come on baby, let’s go home” as she walks away from her lover’s fantasy.
A similar tension between bliss and despair is at play in songs like “Hasta Cuando,” where Uchis taunts an ex-lover who continues to wrong her after their split. On a more somber note, “Blue,” a standout in the album, has Uchis hopelessly looking to the heavens for a cure to her unreciprocated lovesickness, asking, “What’s the point of all the pretty things in the world if I don’t have you?”
“Moonlight,” a defining track on “Red Moon In Venus,” ties together the album’s theme of higher celestial powers and love’s transcendence. Uchis boasts her intuitive bond with the moon and the way she adopts its gravitational force, attracting those around her effortlessly. “I just wanna get high with my lover/Veo una muñeca cuando miro en el espejo, kiss kiss” she sighs. “Moonlight” is an enchanting track that not only showcases Uchis’s grace and allure but acts as the beating heart of “Red Moon In Venus.”
While tracks on “Red Moon In Venus” offer various interpretations of love, they are also Uchis’s warnings to past and future lovers to not underestimate her feminine sensitivity and drive. With a hypnotic tracklist of songs, Uchis softly reaffirms her right to stand up for herself and reclaims the pains and joys that love has brought her.
In the closing lines of “Happy Now,” the last song on “Red Moon In Venus,” Uchis determines to protect her peace. “Piece of mind/I’ve gotta free my mind/Just wanna remember all the good things,” she sings, trailing off as her voice is submerged into lulling background sounds of crashing waves. Learning to let go of her regrets, Uchis shows how she can govern her own destiny and become the red moon that controls love’s most unpredictable tides.