“Olivia” is the new single from Rob Alexander’s new solo release Dream Out Loud and the surging pop sensibilities guiding the song are exceptional. I don’t hear an indecisive second marring this recording. Alexander and the arrangement begin building a billowing head of steam from the start. His veteran hand knows just how scale the song in a considered, measured fashion. It isn’t a vision for the song that renders it inert. No one will ever be bored listening to this song.
“Olivia” sparkles with life throughout. I used the word “surging” earlier and, really, it isn’t enough. This single bursts with life and charisma, its sound reeling you in, and one of its foundational elements is a hard-driving rhythm section attack. There’s nothing ham-fisted about it; the percussion invokes atmospherics with no hint of overpowering the overall sound. It isn’t hard to get excited about hearing Alexander’s new album after hearing the energy contained within this cut.
Rob Alexander may not yet have a five star profile, but the production is top shelf. Gabe Lopez enhances the song’s sonic depth; there’s a fair amount going on here and he achieves an even-handed balance between the various strands. The one sour note in the song for some will be the track’s brass sound. Everything else, however, has a level of professional polish distinguishing the best modern pop songs.
Its conversational lyrics are in keeping with Alexander’s music. There’s nothing here that’s any sort of departure. Those who haven’t heard Dream Out Loud yet will be taken by the sheer diversity of his songwriting, but “Olivia” is pure pop tastiness and those already familiar with its merits will condone Alexander choosing it for a single release. It puts an appealing face on his work. The words acknowledge life’s occasional curves and hurdles, it isn’t a Pollyanna world he depicts, but the relentless optimism burning in the song’s heart is welcome medicine.
I love the vocals. Some, however, may find the phrasing a little stagy. This isn’t a consistent thing, however, as he audibly shifts gears during the song. Others though will hear a beaming presence that floods over every border. You can’t question the singer’s affection for his subject. However, like I mentioned before, the lyrical content is an emphatic statement about Olivia. It’s part of a long tradition and doesn’t suffer the comparison with older iconic songs about some girl.
Yes, once again, it is a subject as old as song. Rob Alexander, however, applies his own experiences to this track and thus it provides us with a personal twist on a time-tested formula. The Florida born and based singer, songwriter, and performer puts himself on the line as a musical artist with a sense of urgency I always respond to. I expect his star will continue burning brightly for years to come and lucky listeners will enjoy basking in its white-hot glow. Rob Alexander’s new single will provide an extra kick in the pants for an album well worth your attention.
by Jennifer Munoz