The college love culture has nothing to do with love at all. Intimacy is based around one–night stands and stories of passionate sex that flitter away with each new weekend. It is rare that we, as college students, talk to someone we are interested in about what it means to feel vulnerable, to be wanted, and feel safety in the grasp of a lover. These topics stay in the shadows, lingering in our minds as fantasies constricted by communal expectations. Mike Milosh, lead singer and leader of Rhye, an LA–based group focusing on transient disco funk and romantic ballads, brings these issues out of the shadows in their new album . Through the 11–song album, Milosh brings to the forefront themes of solace and comfort in a relationship in a manner that makes you want to sway with your S/O on a dimly lit dance floor, but does not dive much deeper than that.
Milosh brings a lot of intimate feelings to the table with this new album. Five years since his previous album with producer , much has changed with the band leader for Blood. Milosh has gone through a divorce (with Zoey 101 star for those interested), lost Hannibal, and found a new lover, who is prominently featured on the album cover in a Robert Mapplethorpe–esque black and white portrait. Through his new album and impressive live–band, Milosh creates a 40–minute sex playlist that blurs between one song and another. Through the seamless transitions between songs, the album creates a mood of lust and romanticism that lingers with the listener through Milosh’s heartbreaking falsetto and bubbly orchestral plucking. His use of a full band behind him allows for smooth fluctuations between funky bass lines to soft guitar ballads seamlessly.
The caveat of making an album in which every song stirs up the same feelings is that there is no track that stands out more than the other. With Milosh’s basic rhyme scheme of “ay”–based words and obvious double entendres, it is difficult to distinguish individual tracks. However, each one is as beautiful a love song as the next, and just as sexy. “Stay Safe” hums sweet-nothings about removing oneself from society while finding new security in someone else. The same ideas of solace, new love and intimacy are found on “Your Weight” through tender lines like “My body loves feeling invaded by your gentle grace” coupled with sexy talk like “You’re coming slow, I hear you’re so bad.” Milosh is not afraid to share how hot his love life is at the moment.
Milosh retains this theme of vulnerability, but creates songs that are more sexy than most Hollywood sex scenes. Through “Taste,” we loom over a scene of a lover waking up the other by going down on them. “Phoenix," the most passionate sex song of the album, is full of double entendres:
“See all these ghosts dripping blood on this pain
Kill all these ghosts with slow motion explosions
Feel my body through your fears and stains
I’m coming fast, oh my God, oh my God”
Sure, that stanza was not the most subtle way to create romance, but it is hot. The “oh my God(s)” are delivered in a hushed fashion, like one experienced during an orgasm. Milosh delivers powerful songs that are meant to make you grab your lover from across the dancefloor and take her to your room for hours and hours of orgasms. It feels like listening to a . The appeal is understood.
His cry–like contralto coupled with his soul–pop full band makes even the softest songs consume the entire room in feelings of intimacy, sex, and kinkiness. It is not a deep album, despite its attempt at depicting intimate scenes, but it still gets the job done.
Though we are often looking for dynamic albums, there is something to be said about an album you can put on and never feel the need to skip a song. It may be difficult to distinguish one song from another, besides “Phoenix” (you can’t listen to it without pausing it after some of those downright dirty lines he delivers), the same complaint people have about artists like . Despite this simplicity, these songs are beautiful, creating an environment perfect for pulling your lover close and consuming the moment in a heat of passion. It is unfortunate that Milosh does not go deeper into his feelings as one truly feels the moods of new love he depicts. This project feels complete and complex instrumentally, despite its shallowness of imagery in its lyrics.
Blood is a great album to put on when you want to get vulnerable with someone, or maybe when you just need something sexy to put on when you want to make sure you get the right mood for that new person in your life. Whether that be one night or one year, Rhye’s simplicity in romantic themes will give you what you need to make that moment perfect. Just make sure you have the scented candle and dim lighting to go with it.