The Colombian American singer songwriter Kali Uchis captivates fans with soft, enchanting vocals, honeyed instrumentals and harmonies shimmering with unbridled passion and intimacy. Throughout her discography, Uchis weaves an elaborate tapestry of love, indulging in the mystifying sensation of lust and longing while simultaneously navigating the emotionally taxing endeavor of men’s folly.
Red Moon in Venus, released March 3, is Uchis’ third studio album. Eager fans will be happy to know that another album in Spanish will be available later this year. With each new project, Uchis’ growth in subject matter and vocal techniques, alongside experimentalism with instrumentals and genres, is evident.
In 2015 Uchis released her debut EP Por Vida, which served as her first foot into the mainstream musical realm of R&B and soul. Since then, Uchis has mastered the art of crafting dreamy love songs and Latin pop anthems, with the additional aid of artist features, including Tyler, the Creator, Steve Lacy and Rico Nasty, and the incorporation of vibrant Spanish lyricism.
In Red Moon in Venus, Uchis derives inspiration from the divine feminine, exploring how the blood moon and its relationship with Venus brings forth a period of self-growth, reflection and honesty. Laying low since her 2020 release of the album Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios), Red Moon in Venus marks a pivotal shift in Uchis’ career: It is a lush, sincere commemoration of womanhood and a lovely chronology of initial allure, eroticism, heartbreak, healing and eventual acceptance.
“I Wish You Roses,” initially released as a single Jan. 19, is one of the opening tracks that best encapsulates the album’s emotional maturation motif. While the rest of the album’s openers appear juvenile and lighthearted in comparison, the track deals entirely with wishing the best for someone after a breakup. With strong reverb, steady percussion and sugary sweet soprano runs, Uchis sings, “Just know, any love I gave you’s forever yours to keep.”
The first portion of the album is a delightful, tantalizing ode to devotion, sexuality and Uchis’ wish to be with her lover forever. In “Love Between…” Uchis sings to a slow, bouncy beat that twinkles with chimes and springy acoustics. It epitomizes the influence of psychedelic funk and soul on the album, akin to the instrumentals of “Redbone” by Childish Gambino.
“Como Te Quiero Yo” is a distinguishing ballad that flaunts desire, confidence and raw fervor, where Uchis’ seamless transitions between English and Spanish are only punctured by soft moans and hushed, seductive spoken confessions. “I want you constantly, eternally, unconditionally,” Uchis croons. At this point in the album, commentary on clingy tendencies and unhealthy attachment arises.
Uchis is tormented by a breakup on “Moral Conscience,” another poignant tale of revenge and karma. While prior albums of Uchis’ may have ended here, she makes sure to branch out and reveal all parts of a breakup — the good, the bad and the ugly.
Regaining the pep in her step as the album comes to a close, Uchis dazzles in “Moonlight,” flaunting the power of the moon in her process of emotional healing. It is utterly sanguine, intertwining dusky R&B and swanky funk beats. “Veo una muñeca cuando miro en el espejo (I see a doll when I look in the mirror),” Uchis muses.
“Happy Now” is a glittery pop song of pure serotonin that promises closure and good intent. Similar in theme to “I Wish You Roses,” the track blossoms with maturity and growth, closing out the album in the same way it started.
While Uchis transcends genre and subject matter in Red Moon in Venus, there is more to be desired from her features. Omar Apollo, Don Toliver and Summer Walker provide blissful harmonies and distinguishing vocals, but they are redundant in genre, unlike Uchis’ previous ventures into hip hop and rap.
Just like the moon’s phases, Uchis cycles through an emotional journey of romantic triumphs and defeats. Poetic, sultry and warm, Red Moon in Venus is a compelling, personal narrative of faith in divinity and the power of womanhood.