Kali Uchis fuses light and dark femme on “Red Moon in Venus”


courtesy of Kali Uchis and EMI and Geffen Records

Kali Uchis’s Red Moon in Venus is must-listen for r&b lovers.

Suhani Kashyap, Public Relations Manager

Kali Uchis’s latest album, “Red Moon in Venus,” summons cosmic themes of femininity and love, leaving listeners in a state of ethereality. Released on March 3, 2023, Uchis provides a gateway into her astral psyche, one of tantalizing beauty and bitter toxicity. Uchis spins enticing, sultry lyrics around her signature light, dreamy musicality, churning a bittersweet representation of divine feminine energy. 

Uchis’s fusion of 1960s Latin soul and modern R&B have designed her soft signature sound. Her 2018 studio debut album “Isolation” featured a plethora of genres including reggaetón, funk, and soul, with lead singles “Dead to Me” and “After the Storm” featuring Tyler the Creator. Her second album “Sin Miedo” released in 2020 featured the chart-topping single, “telepatía,” which grew to popularity through TikTok. 

With her newest album, “Red Moon in Venus,” the title itself sets the tones of love and femininity represented by the planet Venus. The “Red Moon” symbolizes new beginnings and endings, also prominent themes within the album. The album art embodies the heated, hyper feminine energy of the album perfectly with a fiery color scheme and Uchis’s goddess-like presence. 

“in My Garden…” is a 25-second intro, setting the stage for the femme fatale tones within the album. Uchis’s voice curls the lyrics, “I just wanted to tell you in case you forgot/I love you.” She continues to remind her lover that roses usually come with thorns in her lead single “I Wish You Roses,” where Uchis expresses her well wishes for her past lover and assures that he will want her back eventually. This single is an anthem for those releasing people from their life, a reminder that you don’t need revenge to heal–to wish well even to those who have hurt you. 

Uchis ponders on whether to continue her rapid, passionate relationship or slow things down on Omar Apollo feature, “Worth the Wait.” With high expectations for this feature, the overall song wound up to be disappointing. Apollo’s voice served as rather of a background noise than a feature. Alternatively, “Fantasy” features Uchis’s current significant other, Don Toliver, and explores themes of carefree obsession and re-acquaintance. With upbeat Afropop musicality and a heavenly vocal duet, “Fantasy” remains one of my personal favorites. 

Uchis transitions back to confident themes of self-love with “Hasta Cuando” and “Moral Conscience.” In “Hasta Cuando,” she capitalizes on her “toxicity” towards her ex. “Whatever makes you feel better/Paint me as the villain if that makes you feel better/Make everyone hate me if that makes you feel better//Hmm whatever makes you feel better,” Uchis whispers. 

With these lyrics, she emphasizes her prioritization of wishing the best for those who have hurt her, even if that means letting their anger out by ruining her reputation. She remains confident that she is the best that her ex will have, explaining that her ex’s new girl would still “trade lives with me if God let her.” 

With beautiful production, instrumentals, and lyricism, “Endlessly” is easily my favorite track off the album. The sublime musicality, carried by the upbeat drum, uplifts any mood, anytime. The lover-girl tones within this song are also seen in “Moonlight” and “Love Between…,” where Uchis explains that she “just want[s] to get high with [her] lover” and that “love between two human beings/can be so wonderful.” These songs carry a tone of dreamy psychadelia, a key distinction of Uchis’s music style.  

“Red Moon in Venus” capitalizes on maintaining cool, calm and collection even in moments where one should feel rage. Uchis reminds listeners that life is too short for resentment and that everyone deserves roses while they can still smell them. The emphasis on healing and wishing the best for others is refreshing compared to other recent vengeful, bitter breakup albums, which is why this has been one of my favorite R&B albums of the year. With seamless transitions and dreamy musicality, “Red Moon on Venus” is a must-listen for R&B lovers.