Full of as much ache as the vocal is, the glare of the harmonica’s melody at the start of Jonathan Emile’s new single “Moses” sets the tone for the entire song soon to follow in quite the Dylan-esque fashion. Charged with emotion and a raw vulnerability that isn’t common among the mainstream side of pop music, “Moses” slinks along to a relaxed tempo, gleaming with rich textures of both the aural and, in the case of its video, the visual variety, and while it doesn’t actually shape any sort of a new identity for pop music in general, it definitely entices anyone listening into the spellbinding web Emile can clearly create in the recording studio.
The guitar parts are quite stirring in this track, and in some moments, expressive in ways that the lyrics never could be. There isn’t a lot of separation between the strings and the vocal in this mix, which creates a forceful harmony capable of stealing away most of the attention from the imagery in the video right out of the gate. It’s commendable to make a song that stands on its own without the assistance of any other elements inside of a music video, but to some extent I have to wonder if Emile was limiting himself in using a one-dimensional songwriting concept here. Only time will tell us how much staying-power he has as a performer, but regardless of the long-term, “Moses” is a provocative listen without debate.
An inventing addition to a pretty diverse discography, this latest release from Jonathan Emile is a sweetly gentle ballad to start your year off with. “Moses” is as versatile a pop composition as they come, paying homage to different layers within the artistry of its composer without overstating any one particular theme over another. I’ll have to hear more of his music to be certain, but if what he’s demonstrating in this track is any sort of indication as to what he can do on a regular basis – in or outside of the studio – I think he’s going to see a lot of success with the right audiences in the 2020’s and beyond.