Red in Moon Venus – Kali Uchis
Braeden Forman April 17, 2023
By: Braeden Forman
It’s a new golden era for R&B, and Kali Uchis is leading the charge. The 28-year old Colombian-American singer-songwriter first properly broke out with her appearance on Tyler, the Creator’s hit “See You Again,” and ever since has been among the leading ladies of the genre, presenting something distinctly different from the R&B zeitgeist of, say, a SZA or a Summer Walker.
For all the great music she’s produced over the past half-decade or so, Uchis has never quite been able to escape the shadow of her biggest comparison point as a singer and artist; the late, great Amy Winehouse. It was understandable with her major label debut, 2018’s excellent Isolation, going in such a heavy retro funk/soul direction that definitely did have its shades of Back to Black (and that’s not a comparison I make lightly!). As a vocalist, though, I always found Uchis’ voice to be much lighter and more sultry than Winehouse, whose voice was so full of power and character. And, in recent years, Uchis has made the move towards spacier, more neo-soul type production on 2020’s Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) as well as the TO FEEL ALIVE EP from that same year.
Red Moon in Venus is a continuation down that road, and from the moment I turned on this album one word came to mind: heavenly. The album starts with “I Wish You Roses,” which aside from being absolutely incredibly produced and performed by Kali, makes for a rarity: a breakup song that manages to be non-toxic and genuinely good to both parties in the breakup. The whole song is absolutely ethereal, and these vibes are really what sets the tone for the album as a whole.
The star of this album, as is par for the course, is Kali’s voice, which is just as dreamy and incredible as ever. The vocals on tracks like “Love Between…” and “Not Too Late (interlude)” are just incredible, and I think it’s on these tracks with more sparse production that Kali really gets the chance to shine and flex her straight-up talent. By far the standout from this album, and the early leader in the clubhouse for the title of song of the summer, is “Moonlight,” a dreamy laid-back cut that has already attained viral TikTok status. The comparisons to her last megahit, 2020’s “telepatia,” are bound to be made, with both of them featuring mixed-language hooks and earworm basslines; but, honestly, I found “Moonlight” to have an even catchier hook than its predecessor- and besides, I’m certainly not complaining about another “telepatia.”
I do think some of the production choices on this album don’t fit Kali as well as they could. Tracks like “Endlessly” and “Hasta Cuando,” for instance, feel more like The Weeknd demo tracks than anything Kali would make, and I’m not a huge fan of “Deserve Me” with Summer Walker. Overall, though, this is exactly what I want out of a Kali Uchis album: laid-back, sexy, heavenly R&B with heavy neo-soul vibes that will be sure to soundtrack many of my windows-down, volume-up car rides this summer.
Favorites: “Moonlight,” “I Wish You Roses,” “Como Te Quiero Yo” and “Love Between.”