Simple but shot with a vivid nod to surrealism, the music video for Jonathan Emile’s new single “Moses” doesn’t break the bank when it comes to production value, but it’s undeniably an exquisite offering by any artistic measurement. By sticking to the simplistic over the indulgent, Emile circumvents a lot of the problems that his peers on the international pop circuit have been having with their own similarly-stylized content in the last couple of years, and while “Moses” might not have been meant as a statement song, it certainly sounds like one given the context of its release in the grander scheme of things.
Lyrically speaking, this track from Jonathan Emile is quite poetic, but it isn’t necessarily one that I would describe as being swaggering in nature. Contrarily, I don’t get any level of ego out of Emile’s performance here; there’s a lot of self-awareness, yes, but not to a degree where the music begins to sound even slightly self-centered. He’s telling us a story that is both reflective and commentarial, which isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re straddling a melody as barebones as the one this acoustic guitar is providing him with.
Which brings me to my next point; the string play. In “Moses,” the guitar parts are almost too rustic when paired with the smoky lead vocal Emile is throwing down in the middle of the master mix, resulting in a jagged harmony that is still somehow palatable by the time that we get into the chorus’ hook. This isn’t a bad attribute per-say, but it isn’t one that you’ll find commonly on the Top 40 in the United States or anywhere right now, for that matter. Was it conceived with this kind of a concept on purpose? Perhaps, but that’s for Emile and Emile alone to know here.
I would love to hear how this guy approaches “Moses” in a live setting, mostly because of how amazingly flexible the bones in this track are when we strip away everything else. He could electrify the guitar parts or even adapt it for the piano; he could focus all of his attention on the vocal or even do something a bit more black and white than he already has in this single version – no matter how he chooses to play this composition, it’s got the potential to convey a different meaning (depending also, of course, on who happens to be in the audience).
I’m not convinced that “Moses” is the best material that Jonathan Emile has in him, but with that said, I’m really digging the creative direction he’s going in with the release of this latest single and its companion video. Emile still has a lot of rough edges that could easily be sanded down with a little more time and his continued dedication to the medium, but for what he currently lacks in polish he more than compensates us for a sensational poeticism and unguarded emotion in his music that is one of a kind regardless of where you’re looking on the pop spectrum nowadays.