Street lights, asphalt, the glint of frost, whites, blues, and greys coat the darkness of pre-dawn and steam leaves the party’s solid mass as they exit, bass still pulsing in their ears. Blood, Rhye’s sophomore record, exists somewhere between the melting frost and human steam.
Pop and vapor exist in a somewhat similar state. They are beautiful, reoccurring, and are forgotten as soon as they disappear. Steam has weight. Whether it is in thinking about the various ways it can be created or in its form of matter, there is value that can be put to it.
Society often struggles to give value to lightness, it’s a continuous discussion that is much more thoroughly investigated in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Pop is light and is constantly changing, what is hot today is gone tomorrow. Nonetheless, it is its momentary existence that gives it substance. This is where the second album from Mike Milosh’s project Rhye shines.
While listening, one can feel the music’s texture, but like air, it’s in a constant state of change. “Taste”, the album’s second track, is funky, complex, smooth, and can be aptly compared to what is felt during the experience of drinking wine. Comparing something to wine may be cliche, but here the statement fits, and if one is worried about cliche in pop, they might want to try a different brand of music.
Rhye finds something beautiful in exploring the well-worn ground of the moment. Blood is honest and feels free to open up about the vulnerability of life and the creation of art, and is unafraid to investigate the feelings and ideas that everyone experiences. This is what makes it so damn sexy.
Vulnerability is in vogue, like machismo was in the 50s, 80s, and many other times throughout history.
When thinking about ‘the moment’, we often forget its surroundings. There were many moments that led to this one and it is affected by various relationships, including those with other individuals and/or the landscape. On “Phoenix”, Milosh’s sensual croon blends seamlessly with a funk bassline as the singer/producer continues to add layers; classical strings, an electric guitar riff, there are rattle and snare, and the explosions of the unstable love are exposed.
Blood feels like the moment you and a just-met lover leave a pulsing club at 3:30 one February morning. It’s exciting, it’s fragile, and this might be the only time it happens, but it is happening. There is a warmth to the album’s cool production, and it sinks its teeth in slow-like. The pressure can be felt, the weight is there.
After listening all that will remain are the marks on your skin, but maybe that is the mark of good pop music. It exists in the moment. It’s electric and steamy. It’s a glance and only lasts for an instant. Rhye makes good pop music.
HURRY – LISTEN – RHYE
IMAGE – GENEVIÈVE MEDOW JENKINS