"Blur The Lines" by Rheo Uno

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"Blur The Lines" by Rheo Uno

Review

I try (when I know the date) to wish "Hot Music Live Presents" featured artists a 'Happy Birthday' on the appropriate day. When it comes to the twentieth of this month, it's going to be enhanced for Rheo Uno as she's treating herself to a special event with the release of "Blur The Lines".

Another collaboration with her co-writer & producer Charlie Drew of Monarchy Music, this is a slightly earlier composition compared with her more recent singles, as it dates back a couple of years to a moment when both were recovering from bouts of COVID19 and the associated anguishes of isolation & sought artistic therapy to ease themselves back into emotional functionality.

Described by the artist herself as "… that situation I'm sure everyone's been in, when you meet up with an ex, after the boundaries have been set but the inevitable happens and you keep getting drawn back in", however the obvious first impression which strikes me & probably will many other listeners, is the similarity in title with the notorious "Blurred Lines". Before I go any further, I'd like to be clear that had the latter been released by a Coventry & Warwickshire artist, I certainly would have declined to review it on ethical grounds.

Of course I may simply be delusional here, but I can't imagine that Rheo is unaware of possible comparisons and so I'd like to consider the possibility that she's taking the (appropriately named) Robin Thicke head on. If so, I think she wins hands down & I applaud her for doing so.

It's something I appreciate when any artist attempts to reclaim, reappropriate or rehabilitate misused language or ideas: it's a powerful and commendable move. Where one (admittedly now richer) musician chooses to "examine" the concept of ambiguity of purpose and motives in terms of entitlement, power, misogyny & overriding consent, Rheo offers an alternative, more nuanced, humane & compassionate discussion.

Rheo doesn't view ambiguity as "opportunity": she is genuinely puzzled & wants to explore & resolve the issues, while accepting the possibility that there may be no definitive solution to the moral & emotional conflicts: something vastly more mature and realistic, substituting genuine adult values which can build & sustain relationships for the adolescent braggadocio of the hit record.

It would be wonderful if "Blur The Lines" was indeed a huge hit, seen as an antidote to "the other one". Lyrically it's miles the superior & cedes nothing musically nor in performance.

These generally are exciting times for Rheo as her talent gets recognised ever further afield (among recent accolades are: "Best Female Solo Artist 2022" in the NREA Music Awards, "Best Dance Track 2022" in the Unsigned Only International Songwriting Competition for the as yet unreleased "Deep End", one of the top 25 most played artists by BBC Introducing, and "One to Watch in 2023" by BBC Introducing East Midlands) and she is adamant that her sound must keep developing & evolving: she has kindly let me hear the follow-up to "Blur The Lines" and I can't wait to tell you about that too. She has a definite plan to fuse her various personal musical styles still further, though to be honest, even though with the switch last year to the new "Rheo Uno" brand which was intended to be much more pop orientated, I think it would be wrong not to detect dance elements in all her work, even if this is something she intends to increase over the next few singles. Certainly you can dance to "Blur The Lines": in fact you'll probably (if you are a dancer) really appreciate it as it is a subtle one which builds steadily with a musical sophistication lost on certain mega selling tracks I could mention. I'd also like very much to cite another quality which is, in my opinion, a hallmark of the "grown-up" musician: humour. I defy you not to smile at the opening of the song. In fact one of the things I have always admired in Rheo's work is her tongue in cheekiness which is a gloriously uplifting attribute in the often po-faced world of mainstream music. That she knows how to balance the twinkle in her eye with what is otherwise a rather serious-minded song is also hugely to her credit.

Let's hope this one breaks really big folks.

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