Fusing the flamboyant rock harmonies of Elton John with a cosmopolitan lustiness more akin to the contemporary sounds of Bruno Mars, south Florida’s Rob Alexander reimagines modern pop through a lean and mean approach to melodicism in his new single “This Hollywood Road” that the genre could definitely use a whole lot more of this summer. Firing off a hook that could cut through just about any groove, no matter the size, Alexander rides a radio-friendly rhythm into the sunset in this fourth single from the Being Myself LP, which has catapulted his name into a lot of big conversations among indie critics in the year 2020. He’s earned the limelight, and that’s definitely obvious here.
“This Hollywood Road” is a great crossover track for fans of rock, pop and even blue-eyed soul, and while it’s undeniably a bit more of a hybrid than some of the puritan pieces that it sits beside on Being Myself, it isn’t entirely defined by its experimental frills. There aren’t a lot of instances here in which the focus is drawn away from the harmony between the vocal and the instrumentation that starts and ends with Rob Alexander himself, and while the guitars burn off quite a bit of tension in the build up – and retreat – from the chorus, I don’t think they ever control the mood of the music here for a second. Alexander is too commanding with his voice, and through that his attitude, for anything else to steal away his thunder in this single.
While this is the fourth single from Being Myself, it absolutely feels like the biggest statement piece on the record and a sneak preview into what we should be anticipating out of the singer/songwriter’s camp as he gets into the swing of a new decade in pop music. He’s employed Elton John’s touring band for this track, but other than sharing some similar creative traits with the classic rock icon, I don’t get the feeling that he’s trying to follow the same path one of his biggest influences once took. He’s looking to expose more of himself to the audience through his lyrics, but this music tells me he wants to get a little harder-edged with the melodies that create an energy for him long before he ever starts to sing.
Although I definitely wouldn’t say that Rob Alexander’s new single is the lone gem on the American underground beat that you should be closely examining this August, it’s easily one of my favorite new songs to come out of the south Florida scene in the last couple of months without dispute. Alexander never has a hard time maintaining his audience, but in “This Hollywood Road,” I don’t even get the impression that he’s even interested in preserving a fan base or playing to the tailored needs of one specific listener over another. This track is about him and his mission as a singer and as a songwriter, and I don’t think it’s the last we’ll hear out of the studio on the subject.
by Skyler Voss