Rob Alexander’s “Back to the Radio” comes off his debut solo album Long Road Coming Home and his creative partnership with producer Gabe Lopez will make a deep impact on anyone willing to give the song a chance. Alexander isn’t pursuing music exclusively, he holds an anesthesiology practice in southern Florida and teaches at Florida Atlantic University’s School of Medicine, but it’s clear listening to this song alone that Alexander burns with a passion to create music and has the considerable talents to back it up. This isn’t just some lark from a delusional white collar daydreamer; instead, “Back to the Radio” is a release containing great artistry and entertaining appeal for a wide swath of listeners. There’s a strong melodic spirit underpinning the song and Alexander’s vocal talents are more than capable of carrying the day for the song. Despite the professional choices he’s made and their rewards, it’s clear that Alexander’s musical talents are great enough to have justified a career.
To pen an album’s worth of original compositions on your own stands out in a modern music scene where small armies of writers are often employed to assemble a sub four minute long track. Alexander sounds like an artist with a near effortless pipeline to his own creativity and “Back to the Radio” flows from his voice and the accompanying players with an ease that belies the undoubtedly hard work he and others put into its recording and performance. The great ones always make it sound easy. The uptempo pace of the song shifts gears at critical points, but maintains a steady pulse throughout that’s never overplayed and the massed guitar attack of the song has a muscular, but airy, touch. There’s definitely a mild retro feel built into the song, but it’s never so exaggerated that the song slips into a more specific and limited category. Alexander embraces stylistic echoes from that era, but he never wallows in them.
His vocal packs the same inspired wallop we hear from the music and he shows great restraint in how the way each new line unwinds that stresses the dramatic side of the song. “Back to the Radio” has a personal component to the songwriting, but there’s little question Alexander also wants this to be a musical and lyrical statement that resonates with as many as possible in its universal experiences. It’s the hallmark of the best songwriting and shows a steadfast refusal to ever allow things to become self indulgent. The threat is definitely there; perhaps Alexander is some weekend musical warrior with the cash to fund an album release, but none of the talent to make it matter. That isn’t the case here. Instead, Rob Alexander’s “Back to the Radio” reminds us of a time when songwriting mattered much more than it does now and leads off his full length collection Long Road Coming Home with style, intelligence, and sophistication.