“Half of You” by Rob Eberle

It takes sharp songwriting skills to write from a place of personal experience without ever crossing the line into obscurity.

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Rob Eberle navigates that line like a master. His new single “Half of You” covers the emotional fallout from an one-sided love affair with more maturity, heartache, and yearning than you’d typically hear from three songs focused on similar fare. Eberle accomplishes this with a singular lack of histrionics that helps his material stand out, and the plaintive nature of his singing voice elevates anything smacking of cliché to the highest levels of performed art. It’s dazzling how far along Eberle’s skills have developed in a few short years.

The Long Island, New York native began young, as many of his ilk do, and found ample encouragement surrounded by a musical upbringing. He draws from a vast array of influences both modern and classic without ever directly owing a debt to anyone or a particular band. It’s a song that asks difficult questions, provides no easy answers for its “speaker” or the listener, and juggles a palpable sense of melancholy alongside genuine melodic grace.

The piano playing present throughout the cut is one of its most pivotal musical components. Eberle wisely refrains from cluttering the mix with too many notes, however, and “Half of You” has room to breathe. It invokes a languid and moody atmosphere. When he shifts gears, as he invariably does, it nevertheless fails to move far from its initial wheelhouse.

The vocal melodies are exceptional. His primary melody sustains the lead vocal, and adorning that central performance with scattered backing vocals gives “Half of You” an improbable gospel feel that he doesn’t expand on. There is no reason to do so. However, it’s a strong example of how he layers “Half of You” with many different musical voices rather than relying on a single line of attack.

Eberle’s skill with transitions is another strength of the single. The seamless movement from verses into the song’s chorus section develops the track in a dramatic yet never overwrought fashion. You won’t find a single hole in the cut’s structure. The sure hand that guides “Half of You” each minute of the way doesn’t betray any hesitation. It’s a single that comes across as if Eberle knew what sound he wanted to achieve before beginning the recording process, and nothing diverts him along the way from reaching that objective.

He’s experienced fulsome success over the last year. An Austin City Limits appearance, playing SXSW, a sold-out headline appearance in Manhattan, and working with Coca-Cola to produce original content are among the feathers in the cap that he’s recently collected. The future holds more triumphs, to be sure, and “Half of You” heralds such moments with glittering promise. Making the personal universal has been his stock in trade thus far, and “Half of You” shows his growing refinement in this area. It’s hard to imagine that he’s peaking so early in his career, but if he’s scratching the surface of his skills, it’s even harder to imagine just how far Rob Eberle can go.

Chadwick Easton

Music

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