Hot girl summer came early thanks to Miss Kali Uchis. Her third studio album—Red Moon in Venus, released on March 3—is classically her: sultry and airy vocals, stocked with the most relevant features in the industry, such as Omar Apollo, Summer Walker, and her boyfriend Don Toliver. Isolation traditionalists fear not—Red Moon in Venus takes after her revolutionary debut album. She doesn’t shy away from her highly feminine and spiritually sexy powers, which has effectively altered her listeners, colloquially called Kuchis. Multiple TikTok users claim they have glowed up after listening to Uchis, called “the Kali Uchis effect,” with proof to support it.
Uchis infallibly combines sex and love in Red Moon in Venus, typically treated in music as two opposing subjects. “in My Garden…” begins the album with a simple “I love you,” to the audience or her boyfriend—or both. Overall, “Love is the message,” Uchis said of the album. “The blood moon can send your emotions into a spin, and that’s what I felt represented this body of work best.”
“I Wish You Roses” is proof of Uchis’ era of healing and wanting the best for an ex. “Never thought I would be without you / I wish you love / I wish you well,” she croons. One of Uchis’ strengths is her worldbuilding in her songs through the use of floral imagery. She creates the lush soundscape that translates past the visuals of her music video, one scene in which she recreates that visually aesthetic, yet perverse scene in American Beauty. Sans a creepy Kevin Spacey onlooking, Uchis is present with just her flower petals, in a reclamation of her femininity. Overall, Uchis’ mantra for this album is love and peace, while also allowing the past to be just that. “You’re gonna want me bad,” she sings. “You know we can’t do that / You know you can’t do that.” Sometimes it’s best to love and let go.
“Worth the Wait,” featuring Omar Apollo, follows the same tempting beat of her many collaborations (think Tyler, the Creator or Bootsy Collins). Effectively ending the Freudian Madonna–whore complex, "Worth the Wait" contains lyrics including “Deep in my knees I got weak / Baby, you know I’m a freak,” and also “Quit tellin’ me you wanna put a baby in me / If your affection for me’s truly only skin–deep.” In the end, the singer explains, “I don’t wanna end up just another broken family.” Uchis has a gift of encapsulating multifaceted relationships, through her deceptively simple and infectious lyrics.
The 70s groovy style of “Love Between…” can be attributed to Uchis’ interpolation of “Love…Can Be So Wonderful” by The Temprees. Uchis changes her chorus from the 1972 song from “Love between a boy and girl can be so wonderful” to “Love between two human beings / Can be so wonderful.” In an effort to degender the lyrics, Uchis creates a love ballad fit for the inclusivity of 2023, while taking listeners back to the soulful and suave sounds of psychedelia.
“Fantasy,” featuring none other than her man Don Toliver, gives both of their fanbases an insider view into their relationship. Rather than giving Toliver only one verse, Uchis splits the song with him equally, creating a dialogue between the two. “Yes, we made mistakes / (Mistakes), now, can we make / this right?” the singer asks. To which Toliver responds “Lemme make it right.” Later he raps, “This here my fantasy / I wanna start me a family.” The answer to having a healthy relationship? Uchis and Toliver tells us in “Fantasy”: a healthy conversation in which both parties are involved. If only all arguments sonically sounded this good in real life.
Unlike her Spanish–heavy record from 2020, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios), Red Moon in Venus is primarily in English. But in “Como Te Quiero Yo” and “Hasta Cuando,” the Colombian–American singer skillfully traverses between the two. Uchis sings in the previous song “Como te quiero yo / I want you constantly, eternally, unconditionally.” Between English, Spanish, and her use of moans as ad–libs, Uchis unifies all her languages.
One thing is for sure, though, Uchis knows her worth. In “Moral Conscience,” she sings “One thing about karma, that bitch will find you.” When her ex, or someone else that harmed her, is free of distractions “You’re gonna feel it / When you’re all alone.” In one of her most spiteful lyrics, she sings “Yeah, everyone’s replaceable / But not me, though.” In “Deserve Me,” featuring Summer Walker, Uchis says, “You’re so manipulative / I need to know that you’re so manipulative.” Uchis is blunt and proud, which makes it that much easier for fans to sing along without having to decipher convoluted lyrics.
The standout song of the album is “Moonlight,” the sound of the TikTok glow up trend. Uchis sings “I just wanna get high with my lover / Veo una muñeca cuando miro en el espejo.” She serenades us about seeing a doll reflected back to her when she looks in the mirror, making it the perfect song to get ready to before going out. Uchis not only has confidence and self–love, but also has the infinite wisdom to share with her fans.
Through Red Moon in Venus, may we all have a spiritual and sexual reckoning—Kali Uchis style.