Producing an album of this type in today’s music industry scenario can be a very difficult challenge. A requirement sought in any new production, almost at any cost, is the novelty factor. But Alexander isn’t necessarily trying to reinvent the wheel.
It is certainly not his goal. With “Long Road Coming Home” Rob gives us a production that is well rooted in the music of the 80s, but that carries the originality and authenticity of a consistent and reliable front man.
This is how this singer and songwriter, armed with a well-defined creative vision, gives us 12 tracks full of hooks.
Among these, we will talk about those that caught our imagination the most.
Let’s start with the second track, which is the title track. “Long Road Coming Home” is a song that seems to perfectly embody Alexander’s singer-songwriter dualism.
The lyrics and vocal performance contribute to projecting a very clear sound image, layered over several narrative and structural levels.
The result is a blend of inspiration and expressiveness, which unfolds in its heterogeneity in front of our ears. Alexander enchants by dynamically modulating his performance, like an ebb and flow through which he leads us to the sentimental epicenter of the song.
Another track worth examining is number three, “Better Than That.” This is a properly produced song, with a simple but effective arrangement that stands out for its brilliant sound.
The main star is once again Alexander’s voice. The approach is intimate and gentle, allowing you to perceive his singing as an intimate performance, a show put on exclusively with just one, very special listener in mind: you.
Deep and smoky, Alexander’s voice adds the right nuance to the piece, making it distinctive.
Continuing our journey through the variegated creativity that Alexander shows off in this album, we cannot fail to mention “Back to the Radio“, the track that opens the entire album.
“Back to the Radio” is the piece that any songwriter would like to write. Recognizable, distinguishable, and fresh, it has a catchy melody, and an engaging rhythm, the lyrics are easy to relate to, and the sound is familiar in its fundamentals but original in its nuances and accents.
Alexander’s performance further enhances the energy of the song. Indeed, to be honest, there is a resounding kind of determination that this artist injects with grace and balance in every single note and pause.
This is among the best songs on the whole album.
We conclude our roundup by arriving at track number six, “When I’m Gone“. A song that deserves to be placed in a separate category. Alexander dedicated this song to George Michael, and “When I’m Gone” is a sad piece underlined by a vein of blues, enhanced by passionate melodies and sincere delivery.
Written the same day as Michael’s death in 2016, Alexander reflects on a universally relatable question: “What happens when we die? How will other people react to our passing?”
The gradual escalation of this song is one of its main strengths. Alexander’s songwriting demonstrates a thorough understanding of how dynamics can make a song truly memorable. Its evolution is a small cinematographic pop jewel. It opens with piano and voice, that effectively introduce a feeling of intimacy.
It then puts into play very energetic drums, aimed at increasing the potency of the song. Guitars and synthesizers seal the overall intention with crucial roles. Everything contributes to making the piece come to life on its own, as the musical discourse develops.
Even the electric guitar solo present in the second half of the song is tremendously functional, rather than just ornamental, placing an interesting accent on the arrangement.
In his vocal performance Alexander brings out a really profound emotionality. Layered just above the elements of the arrangement, it is placed exactly where it should be. Never undertone or overloaded, Alexander’s singing is vibrant in the exact amount needed to bring out the emotions required by the challenging lyrics.
The words of “When I’m Gone” speak of someone meditating on what will happen after their death. Even a superficial listening makes it clear that George Michael’s death struck Alexander on a deep level. This creates a blend of emotions and introspection, which combines technical permeance with a personally felt sentimental transport, further raising the weight and value of Alexander’s performance and of the whole piece.
With “When I’m Gone” Alexander surpasses himself and touches the summit, leading us to go full circle in our attempt at exploring his artistic, technical, visionary, and expressive abilities.
What we have outlined is the profile of an artist whose voice is itself the main element that defines his identity.
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