Rob Alexander’s latest solo release Dream Out Loud is another outstanding collection of songs from the Florida native. His artistic growth isn’t slowing and you finish the release certain he hasn’t yet peaked. “Olivia”, the new single from the album, is representative of the mature AOR approach defining the release in its entirety. There are obvious similarities listeners may draw between Alexander and Elton John and longtime members of John’s band making appearances on the release strengthens its superficial similarities.
He’s no rank imitator, however. Alexander brings an even wider and more expansive personality to bear on his songs. It comes across vividly during “Olivia”. He often sounds like he is figuratively jumping out of his skin as he sings, never out of control, but rather inflame with emotional exuberance. He isn’t faking. Alexander delivers his vocals like a man empowered by the meeting of his gifts and the moment and inspired by where it takes him. The crowning touch is the audible call in his voice begging us to hang around for the ride.
He makes it easy. The other great convergence powering this song, the cumulative effects of the arrangement and Alexander’s singing, builds from humble beginnings into a genuinely dramatic listening experience. Producer Gabe Lopez emerges from the track as his chief collaborator and the production provides oomph to the instrumental attack. It never goes overboard, however. The careful balance maintained between the various instruments and the vocal arrangement. Lopez captures the necessary details without leaving the track bloodless.
The lyrics are intelligent yet accessible. There’s never any attempt to broach new territory with this track, Alexander’s subject matter will readily connect with listeners and has a thoroughly adult presentation, but the mechanics of the songwriting are even greater. It is obvious they are crafted with attention paid to bringing the words into accord with the music rather than these critical components working in opposition.
There’s a slightly boisterous tone to his vocals as well. It isn’t brash, not boisterous in that way, but rather irrepressible. It is an emotional quality tempering even a hint of darkness; listeners know, after enjoying Dream Out Loud, that Alexander will weather life’s challenges. “Olivia” is cut from the same mold. Rob Alexander stands out for a variety of reasons but one of the primary reasons runs through each second of this single. His zest for life, to feel, to love, bursts out at listeners during this performance.
Music like this is in the transportation business. “Olivia” wants to sweep listeners away from the outset and does so without ever compromising its integrity with cheap shortcuts. The near-cinematic of the track, its vocalist and band sound alike occupying an immense screen, is certain to touch emotions yet also provide memorable entertainment. Rob Alexander’s latest single underscores the impassioned nature of his music, its skill, and its enduring value. “Olivia” should be considered among the year’s liveliest singles and an excellent introduction to Dream Out Loud for newcomers. It’s difficult to believe they won’t seek out more.