Playful, slightly restless, and instantly infectious in every way that a thoughtful extended play of any genre should be, The Real J Israel’s latest dispatch – Glass Half Full – doesn’t waste a second getting our attention with an especially bold melodicism as it’s presented in “A Better Me” and “I Am Me.” The beats don’t have to be loud in the mix to shape the mood of the music here; right out of the gate in “A Better Me,” every textured pulsation it emits adds to the overall catharsis in the lyrics, and Israel doesn’t need any drums here to keep time. This vocalist and guitarist seems wholly intent on enchanting listeners in this all-new pair of studio cuts, and as far as I’m concerned, he did one heck of a good job.
Aside from the construction of the verses, the vocal-led harmony feels like a focal point in Glass Half Full from the moment we first make contact with it forward. There’s scarcely a moment when we’re taking in the lyricism here where The Real J Israel fails to capture the stinging emotionality that one would expect to find in a live performance, and at the same time, a lot of what he is doing here feels like a mere teaser for the grandiosity we might witness in a proper stage show. It all adds up to an increased curiosity concerning who this player is, and the last time I checked, that was a pretty good thing.
The tightness of the master mix is a particularly nice feature, but for me, the compositional integrity is what makes a song like “I Am Me” the stunningly easy listen it ultimately is. There’s a lot that a strong production polish can accomplish, but one thing it can’t compensate for is a lack of substance, and that’s not an issue in this track. There’s a lot of soul to the narrative in this single, and you don’t have to be a music critic to acknowledge it – you simply need to listen to the music as it’s being offered.
I only just recently found out about Israel for the very first time, but I’d love to hear more music like this from him soon. If what he’s performing in this song is representative of who he is and what kind of a message he wants to spread via music, I think he’s going to be in for a lot more success as 2023 rolls around. I love his creative outlook, and with the right exposure, it could take him anywhere.