The album’s imagery is painted in the title, with the blood red moon being a rare lunar eclipse, thought in astrology to send emotions into spin, which you can hear in Uchis’ tumultuous, conflicting emotions of love throughout the 15 tracks. In conjunction with Venus, both planets are considered to embody divine femininity – part and parcel of the singer’s charm. Whether you’re an astrologer or not, Uchis will make you a believer with this LP.
Kicking off with a hazy awakening is ‘in My Garden…’, with chirping crickets and birds and a breathy PSA-type announcement of “I just wanted to tell you in case you forgot… I luh you”. The anthem of good karma ‘I Wish you Roses’ swiftly follows, with superb orchestration, goosebump-inducing synths, grooving bass lines and of course, Uchis’ pillowy, nonchalant vocals playing off each other.
These three components seem to be the foundational ingredients in the recipes of these songs, as Uchis takes the listeners through a woozy, psychedelic-infused trip, riding the wave of romantic love.
In the way she borrows the enthralling funk of ‘80s music on songs like ‘Worth the Wait’ (featuring Omar Apollo) and ‘Moonlight’, she also adopts the same, straight-talking language of this era when speaking of love. So much of today’s music expresses romantic feelings cryptically but Uchis lays it all out in celebration. The rose-tinted clichés are pulled out the bag throughout, from the “Love between two human beings can be so wonderful” on ‘Love Between’ and “It’s valentines like everyday” on ‘Endlessly’.
The peaks of the album come during the ‘80s-influenced dance tracks. The sleek and groovy ‘Hasta Cuando’ sees Uchis effortlessly flitting between her two mother tongues of Spanish and English, with the same sophistication of her 2018 hit ‘After the Storm’. Next up is the effortlessly cinematic, Darkchild-produced ‘Endlessly’, with its infectious post-chorus hook “Callin’ you on your bluff / Don’t ever stop giving me your all” and funk-heavy bassline with paired synths, reminiscent of the legendary ‘I Could Never Say It’s Over’ by The B. B. & Q. Band. Both these tracks deserve to be listened to under a spinning mirrorball.
‘Fantasy’, featuring Uchis’ bae Don Toliver takes us to the dance floor once again, but packaged as a more modern cut with afro-beat infusions. The summer banger frustratingly cuts off prematurely with “That’s it, that’s the end of the song / Come on, baby, let’s go home”, making the song an itch that’s not quite fully scratched.
To halt the momentum even further, ‘Fantasy’ is followed by ‘Come Te Quiero Yo’. Similar to the sickly-sweet ‘Love Between’, the slowness of these tracks are more sludgy in their delivery than fittingly sedative. ‘Not Too Late’ also has this skip-value, as its slurring chorus lacks oomph and leans on repetition rather than building itself with a richer song structure.
That aside, as the album progresses, you can start to really hear Uchis’ honest emotions being put into a cosmically-induced spin. Regardless of whether she’s loved-up or pissed off, she maintains the same self-assurance. ‘Moral Conscience’ puts this on show, thematically going hand-in-hand with ‘I Wish You Roses’, as she opens with “One thing about karma, that bitch will find you”, before reciting her mantra “You’re gonna feel it, when you’re all alone” as her vibrato on “feel” doubles down on her calm confidence in the existence of cyclical karma.
The frosty and retrospective R&B cut ‘Blue’, enhanced by melancholic saxophone, serves as the underbelly to the previous, possessive ‘All Mine’, as Uchis questions “What’s the point of all the pretty things in the world, if I don’t have you?”. The plucking, take-no-shits ‘Deserve Me’ with fellow RnB sensation Summer Walker, is another break-up anthem in the collection. With this track, Uchis once again asserts she’s the queen of collabs, as demonstrated in ‘Worth the Wait’ with Gen Z man-of-the-hour Omar Apollo, who flawlessly exercises his falsetto for the track’s chorus.
Every collaboration shows integrity, drawing upon the best qualities of each artist to create music that’s true to all parties. It’s no wonder everyone’s clawing at a feature with her. On ‘Deserve Me’, Walker and Uchis lean away from pining for unrequited love and, instead, mutually agree that their respective lovers don’t deserve them.
The sequence leading up to the end of the album throws the flow a little bit, taking away from the neatly packaged sentiment the album was previously presenting. The bass-twanging, slow jam ‘Moonlight’ awkwardly precedes the chirpy, always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life album closer ‘Happy Now’.
The peppy track takes a turn with Uchis’ dreamy la la la’s layered by a repeated cartoony mantra of “don’t speed through the rainbows”, as the woozy, romantic trip draws to its close and gradually vaporises. Perhaps this trailing close is only alluding to her next album drop, as she previously tweeted she would be releasing two albums this year.
Red Moon In Venus is a glowing collection of quintessential Kali Uchis, harmoniously blending her sultry, nonchalant vocals with a diverse parade of genres and influences. Although the project isn’t necessarily a step-up from her previous albums, it certainly isn’t a step-down. Moreover, Uchis delivers a timeless celebration of love in all its unique facets, whether that’s the rose-tinted, dopamine highs or the woeful, longings lows.