Fana Hues’ voice can only be described as romantic. Whether she’s singing about new love or loneliness, her timbre often transmits a sumptuous sense of desire. It bounces jauntily through the dubby piano and flirtatious sway of Tyler, the Creator’s “SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE,” but it also swims through rivers of uncertainty and reverb-drenched guitar on 2022’s “dayxday,” always brimming with hope like a spring sunrise. That aura has surrounded her music, starting from her early years singing in her family band and in school productions of The Wiz to her first two solo albums, 2020’s Hues and 2022’s flora + fana. Hues has said she wants to “showcase the full spectrum of emotion” in her work, which unfurls through her hummingbird-delicate vocal runs. Her third studio album Moth—short for Matters of the Heart—shows Hues at her most assured, standing on firmer sentimental ground as a writer, singer, and lover.

In the past, the content of Hues’ love songs often scraped against their brighter presentation. flora + fana’s “breakfast” feels like gossamer—glittering, doo-wop guitar strums succumbing to a wall of lush bass and synths—but in its pure wistfulness, its story of post-relationship sorrow reads more like a hollowed-out Harlequin romance novel. “Must’ve left my heart where my head is…Woke up in the wrong day; forgot breakfast,” she says sweetly, forcing herself through the motions. But Moth largely moves with more clarity and confidence. In the bridge of “Gone Again,” she’s approaching a similar situation from the other side. This time, she’s the one questioning where the relationship stands, content to work through any fallout: “I know you’re here with me, we’re fine/And what we are won’t be defined/Still I need you to say ‘You’re mine baby.’” Uncertainty still lingers, but this time, she’s the one calling the shots.

Like the insect the album is named after, in her metamorphosis, Hues molts fear and doubt—and embraces a lust for life. Take the dancefloor-ready single “Rental,” where she compares a casual fling to the thrill of joyriding in a fancy car: “Let’s forget the safety/Ain’t no destination/Ain’t no course/Don’t it feel better when it ain’t yours?” Or consider “What Speaks,” which ditches metaphor entirely and asks a potential partner what exactly their desires are in and out of the bedroom. Hues isn’t just welcoming the future, she’s relishing in it. Producer Josh Grant—who has credits on nearly every song—offers up waves of hearty digital and acoustic funk that wash these mini-affairs in vibrant technicolor.

Boldness doesn’t just come through in the production or the lyrics, but also in the way Hues manipulates her dulcet voice. There are a handful of times on Moth where she pushes her higher register to its limits, where it matches the layered emotions of her writing. The hook of “Sweet Like” stacks vocals in the middle of a tornado of drums and bass, amplifying her seductive demands for attention. On lead single “Paper Tigers,” competition for a potential love interest boils over into a hook where she belts for her life, channeling Tina Turner and Janelle Monáe. Explosive moments like these are few and far between, but it’s nice to hear as much variety in her delivery as there is in the writing.

That’s not to say Moth ever gets boring or repetitive. Hues already plumbs the depths of her heart compellingly, but her writing gleams even brighter here, like a gemstone catching stray fragments of light. Life still has its ups and downs; relationships bloom and wither; decisions can feel like life-or-death scenarios. But Hues is no longer a victim of circumstance or meet-cutes gone wrong. She’s fully at the helm and willing to accept the unpredictable with grace. “Matters of my heart never looked so strange/Focused on the things that I cannot change/Who am I to judge what my God has made?” she says on the breezy late-album highlight “Til Morning Come.” With Moth, Hues isn’t shying away from life anymore. She’s ready to find love and self-actualization in the messes and successes of her future.