Rhye - Blood Album Review

Story posted February 9, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Lilly Adams

Modern day music has seen a fair share of talented and critically acclaimed alternative R&B artists, such as Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, SZA, Anna Wise, etc. While certainly not as popular as the artists listed above, alternative R&B duo Rhye made up of Michael Milosh and formally Robin Hannibal have found a unique lane for themselves within the genre by infusing it with the lush sounds of sophisti-pop. Their career has been subtle, only just now releasing their second album after five years and Robin Hannibal leaving just before the first studio album was released. While it has been subtle and almost recondite to mainstream audiences, it has garnished critical acclaim from a wide range of music publications all over the world. Now, with their sophomore album Blood, Rhye comes through with an album that consistently delivers their critically praised sound, but offers little in the ways of variety.

Blood was written over the duration of two years by Milosh, which shows prominently in the album by the enormous amount of personal touches it holds, a surprising feat, as Milosh seems to be a private man, only tipping out some information about his life in interviews. Blood offers a more intimate and personal experience. Milosh sprinkles in small but humanizing moments across the album, something he has previously refrained from. It is well-known that Milosh’s marriage ended in the five year hiatus Rhye took from creating music, and this is no doubt an underlying subject of the album.

The first half of Blood seems to be about the struggles that can happen in any relationship, from guilt, to remorse, to mistakes. Milosh’s stunning, delicate voice expresses pain and passion about the damage he caused to his woman and the damage she caused him. Rhye’s sense of acceptance of the relationship’s turmoil and finality is heartbreaking and intense throughout the album. Milosh sounds drained from the emotion he’s felt in the most beautiful way possible.

Blood isn’t all Milosh singing remorsefully about broken relationships, however. The second half of the album is less about reminiscing on how it all went wrong and more about the aftermath of a relationship, and what he can do to try to move on even if that means seeing a new woman. While the instrumentation doesn’t reflect this optimism, it’s optimistic in the sense that the audience can truly feel Milosh’s new outlook on life and purpose in the lyrics. He states in the ninth song, “Phoenix,” “My Phoenix rising crazy/Oh, it’s gotta hold on me/This kind of love ain’t stable.” It’s a refreshing new start for Milosh, realizing that sometimes break-ups aren’t always one-sided, and that the other partner can be at fault.

Much like the lyrical themes throughout the album, instrumentally the album is consistently good throughout, though lacks the variety to fully feel like a complete album experience. Most songs feature a slow and steady beat, followed by Milosh’s soothing voice gracefully gliding over the occasional violins and trumpets, taking the audience on an emotional and personal journey through the equally beautiful lyrics. While this is a great formula for writing enjoyable songs, the lack of deviation from this formula holds the album back as a whole.

Blood is an exceptional return for Rhye. Milosh was able to take the formula that led to his most successful songs from the past and apply it to an entire album, but failed to offer anything new outside of this formula. However, this return makes audiences hopeful that Rhye is here to stay, and given that the progression made with the thematic content of the album, hopefully experimentation with Rhye’s songwriting is soon to follow, being able to attain the prominence they held five years ago.

Rating: 7/10

 

Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in film/video. To contact her, email lillyadams11@gmail.com.