"Dead and Done" by Rheo Uno

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"Dead and Done" by Rheo Uno


I'm really pleased to be reporting on the latest single from Rheo Uno: "Dead and Done". It seems ages since I last wrote about her: it was when "Take It Slow" came out: that could be because I seem to have missed a release in the meantime. Not sure how that happened but my apologies to you & to her.

Co-written with Charles Drew again, it's quintessential Rheo Uno. Part of that is the characteristic layered writing. You can dance along to it, oblivious to the meaning of the words & still derive much personal enjoyment, or you can dive a bit deeper into the track & get more of the obvious effort she put into the words. Which I think is more respectful…

As tends to be the case, that content is darker than most dance music seems to be: it concerns to liberation from a toxic relationship: "it's about reaching that point mentally, where that person can't touch you anymore" (let's face it: the title is quite a clue here).

Much as one might applaud the honesty of the words (and the clarity of truth gives the song its emotional lift beyond just a song to dance to), although writing it seems also to have gifted Rheo new power and acted as a form of catharsis, personally I'd rather she'd not had to go through it…. To return to her own words: "I realised I was really coming back into my own as an individual and this is where the song stems from. I'm not resentful, I just don't let that person hold any space in my life any longer. I'm doing Me and whatever you're doing, is none of my business."

I don't think anyone gazing upon Rheo from the outside would take her for anything other than a confident and assertive young woman: however I suppose that "Dead and Done" brings us back to the realisation that externals (especially those curated for the public & social eyes) can tell partial and misleading stories. Anyone can be hurt.

Musically the song is another exercise in imaginative and anti-formulaic writing: one of those songs which is robust enough to also be coming out on 29th of March in an acoustic version (and it's interesting how artists like Rheo, Ivy Ash, Emma McGann or The Rising/The Night Hearts are managing to write well honed dance/pop songs which are not prisoners of genre, format nor arrangement). Personally, I'd actually be perfectly happy just listening to it for aural pleasure (it's that good) but as I said, I feel that she deserves my deeper engagement.

Ad it's not just me either it would seem since it's already Track of the Week on BBC Introducing for Leicester. (It's also worth noting that Jess Iszatt on Radio One likened her to Raye: a career high already for 2024 as far as Rheo in concerned).

One final note: I tend to refer to Rheo's tongue entering her cheek at some point in most of my reviews: she does seem to like to defuse the heaviness which comes into her songs with the use of humour & equally bridge the gap (almost subversively) between her formal "goddess" visual persona and the true humanity she clearly possesses. In this case, I draw your attention to the rather unusual cover art: no it's apparently not a staged shot but "the results of my birthday celebrations in January". Can you think of anyone else with the chutzpah to take that route? It's hard to do so.

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