“This Hollywood Road” by Rob Alexander

While some artists are entirely dependent on their lyrics to make a relatable statement to the audience, there are others that don’t have a problem using whatever tools are necessary – be them rhythm, rhyme, texture or tonality – to get something across to their listeners, and Rob Alexander is definitely in the latter group. Alexander has been raising eyebrows in indie circles for a few years now, and in his new single “This Hollywood Road,” he reminds us why. Through a stylish groove and some rock aesthetics that serve his sound spectacularly well, he delivers something incredibly unique in “This Hollywood Road” that might surpass all three of his previously released singles from the new album Being Myself

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In a couple of key departments, this song sonically captures the excitement that comes with breaking away from the pack and following your dreams despite any of the fear that might beset the road ahead. Alexander essentially tells us in his lyrics that our hesitations aren’t for nothing – there’s reasons for us to be a little scared of what could happen sometime down the line, but in the confidence of the beat, we’re reassured that no matter what occurs, we’re going to be okay because we’re being. There’s a youthfulness to this narrative that I wasn’t anticipating at all, but when I think about how long I’ve been following this singer/songwriter, I don’t know why I wouldn’t expect him to work with such a multilayered expressiveness when given the right circumstances to do so. 

This instrumental arrangement is elegantly strung together, and yet there’s a haunting sense of raw emotionality beneath the surface of the upbeat melody that I haven’t been able to shake since first picking up a copy of Being Myself shortly after it dropped. In some ways, Alexander is guarding his emotions from us with his words while letting go of his fears in the harmony that he forges with the backing band – who previously worked with no less than Sir Elton John – and the juxtaposition, while being a little experimental for his brand, fits amazingly well with his disposition in this song. If anyone thought that this guy was a one-sided player before, they’d do well to hear “This Hollywood Road” as soon as possible. 

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Some people will call him a throwback pop singer while others will assert him as being too much of an independent to ever gel with the mainstream model, but to me, Rob Alexander has his finger on the pulse of something special that is totally and uniquely his. “This Hollywood Road” is by no means the first track in his ever-growing discography to have caught my attention, but for what it can possibly accomplish for his music long-term, I think it’s got enough credibility to get him some legitimate exposure from an FM audience. I’ve been listening since Long Road Coming Home, and in the short time between that record and now, he’s evolved more than a lot of critics would have ever expected him to – myself included. 

Michael Rand 

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