Rob Alexander Releases A Pop Delight

The status quo in pop has never welcomed experimentation with open arms, but for the true rough riders in music like Rob Alexander, something as trite as the status quo has never really had an impact on the innovating he gets behind. The singer’s new pop delight Young Man’s Eyes is a testament to his rebellious ways, and if you’ve yet to take a peek at what the thirteen-song tracklist has in store for listeners this year, I’d recommend you do so as soon as possible. Whether it’s the smoky tone of “We Can Be Winners” or the pop patriotism of “The Kids Don’t Play Anymore,” this is a record that is guaranteed to leave even seasoned audiophiles intrigued.

You can tell that Alexander isn’t experimenting in “Black Widow Rising” or the title track simply for the sake of fitting in with a swelling trend in indie pop; if anything, he’s doing everything in his power to reject the limits of any trends inside of his compositional attack. Instead of putting everything on a pop-style harmony in this material, he’s letting the attitude of the lyrics shape the core narrative of Young Man’s Eyes, which is a challenge that a lot of his peers would unquestionably shrink from.

These instrumental tones are some of the more ominous of any to make their way onto an Alexander LP but in songs like “Fly on the Wall” and the steady “Merry Christmas in Heaven,” they’re so controlled that they are never given the ability to drown out the other elements in the mix. Clarity matters even when you’re trying to employ components of atonal white noise into an otherwise typical harmony, and we’re reminded of this repeatedly in these tracks. If any critics were accusing this artist’s sound of being detail-free before Young Man’s Eyes, I think they are going to be set straight here.

I think it’s rather obvious when listening to “Like an Angel,” “Freak Show,” the introductory “The Soul or the Skin,” and “Get Over Yourself (w/Gigi Worth)” that there’s more to this style than simply mashing together the edgier parts of classic rock and pop in a single sound. The songwriting in these particular songs alludes to influences from classic pop, alternative soft rock, and even western pop that haven’t yet received their due spotlight in Rob Alexander’s discography, and in Young Man’s Eyes, he’s made to flourish in a way that left me eager to hear what he is going to produce next.

If you weren’t listening to Rob Alexander before Young Man’s Eyes or hadn’t even heard of his music, this latest album presents the right combination of songs to make a fan out of you in just under an hour. Though not the most stripped-down look you could create as a pop musician, this is an artist that knows who he is and has perfected the kind of music he wants to be known for, and if that isn’t something worth writing home about in 2023, I don’t know what is.

Clay Burton