Never Gonna Let You Go” by Rob Alexander

A decadent drumbeat. A piano drawing breaths as big as a tornado, storming against the backdrop of a mild bassline. A crisp vocal adorning the ensuing groove with affection and reflective emotion. This is “Never Gonna Let You Go,” the first single from Rob Alexander’s new album Being Myself, and to say that it features a truly cratering melody would be to make an understatement of too epic a proportion. Rob Alexander has been on fire in his last few studio sessions, and in the most recent set, which produced “Never Gonna Let You Go” and the complete tracklist for Being Myself, we’re getting a look into his artistry that was only hinted at in previous releases like Long Road Coming Home. Here, he cuts loose from any sort of sonic indulgences and allows his vocal to lead the way through the dark forestry of a powerful instrumental harmony, and while I’ve come to expect a lot from his output, this definitely qualifies as a homerun hit from the acclaimed south Florida songwriter.

As I noted, there’s not a lot of excess here cosmetically; in fact, you could probably make the argument that this is one of the more black and white compositions Alexander has penned thus far. He’s putting a lot of stock into the harmonies, and though the drum pattern in the background is full of amazing color, it’s not the most potent force in the big picture by any stretch of imagination. The vocal is in the middle of all the instrumental workings, guiding along the rhythm with a forcefulness that is only matched by the larger than life bassline.

We’re at once asked to tune into the lyrical narrative while also acknowledging the moodiness of the backing band’s melody, thus creating an aesthetical contrast that is a lot less conflictive than it might appear to be on paper. Rob Alexander isn’t necessarily breaking any revolutionary ground in “Never Gonna Let You Go,” but there’s no getting around the fact that he’s clearly stepping out of his comfort zone as a singer and experimenting with aspects of his craft that were never properly (nor fully) exploited in the past.

Those who have never heard the collective works of Rob Alexander would do well to start with this most recent recording, as it is likely his sleekest single to debut in the last couple of years. If you’ve been listening to his music for a while now, as I have, then you’re going to notice a lot of the cultured influences that he’s absorbing in his style here, not to mention the markedly matured tone that he takes to the lyricism in the track. Alexander has a lot left in the tank, and anyone who needs evidence proving as much really needs to get their hands on Being Myself. It’s a strong exercise in vocal virtuosities, but more than that, it’s a really accessible pop listen in a year that hasn’t exactly produced a lot of music in the genre worth writing home about.

Clay Burton