Rob Alexander continues making a strong case for consideration as one of the burgeoning vocal and songwriting talents in the indie scene today. It’s a far-flung corner of popular music that, frankly, cannot contain him. The South Florida singer is a marquee talent whose appeal demands the widest possible audience rather than pigeonholing him. Young Man’s Eyes, his new album, is Alexander working at the peak of his considerable powers and should propel him higher than ever before. The thirteen tracks included on the new release are a dazzling cross-section of styles and moods that will leave you certain of his gifts.


He starts things off with one of Young Man’s Eyes’ most energetic moments. “The Soul or the Skin” engages a timeless subject, the war between higher and lower aspirations, that intelligent pop music doesn’t take on nearly enough these days. It’s writing such as this that separates Alexander from the herd as he isn’t afraid to tangle with larger themes than love or heartbreak. Pop songs like this, even with rock influences making their presence felt, prove that there’s a place for adult concerns in a supposedly disposable art form.

The even-handed point of view evidenced throughout “Sometimes We All Fall Apart” helps make this song one of the collection’s best ballads. Alexander sings like a vocalist who has learned the song’s lessons time after time in life and he’s derived peace of mind from accepting the track’s message. “Your Shelter” has a much more spartan line of attack than the aforementioned ballad and the profound intimacy of the performance makes it a contender as well for the album’s best ballad. His piano playing is superb at every turn.

Gigi Worth, a longtime backing vocalist for Whitney Houston, Michael McDonald, and countless others, joins Alexander for a duet. “Get Over Yourself”, however, is neither a ballad nor another of the album’s pop-rock gems. It’s a physical and in-your-face dance number and has a broad-based appeal that helped make it one of the album’s singles. “Young Man’s Eyes” will be the peak moment for many. It’s a patiently developed ballad that eloquently addresses the life changes that affect us all and the piano playing, once again, makes for a powerful tandem with Alexander’s voice.


The affirmative message behind “We Can Be Winners” isn’t undercut by the jaunty arrangement but enhanced instead. The high-stepping musical character of this song, underlined by keyboards, has a surprising swing as well. Alexander’s beaming enthusiasm makes for one hell of a vocal performance. “The Kids Don’t Play Anymore” may be problematic for some as it settles Alexander’s songwriting point of view in the camp of an older individual rather than embracing the cross-sectional appeal of the album at large. The arrangement, however, blossoms with a wide range of variety rather than embracing a single focus. Its rich bouquet of rewards comes at an excellent place in the album’s running order, near the end, and invites repeated listens. Rob Alexander’s Young Man’s Eyes is a restless, far-reaching affair that few listeners will not enjoy. It’s arguably his best album yet. 

Garth Thomas