Music, Pop Culture

“Yesterday’s News” by Rob Alexander

Rob Alexander has never shied away from the big grooves in pop, and his new single “Yesterday’s News” is decidedly one of the more rhythm-oriented works included on his latest album. Powered by a funky guitar part that doubles as the perfect accessory to the percussion, this is Alexander’s most beat-happy song to be released as a single to date, but it doesn’t sacrifice any of his trademark tonal presence in the name of giving us a lusty groove alone. This is a player who is anything but unbalanced when it comes to his compositional style, and in this sense “Yesterday’s News” is similar to everything he’s released thus far.

As always, the lead vocal that Rob Alexander is offering us really does make the pop center of the track all the more accessible, but he’s not laying on the melodic charm as heavy as he does in some of the other songs on Dream out Loud. Compared to “Instant Sex” or “A Song to Get Us Through,” “Yesterday’s News” has an almost conservative disposition at the microphone, although this doesn’t make its key harmonies any less alluring. This guy doesn’t want to become a too-much-of-a-good-thing singer/songwriter, while also doing a good job of preserving his pedigree as it stands today.

There’s not as much tension as you might expect there to be in a beat-driven piece like this one, and I think this was important as to emphasize the punch of the bassline. It’s subtly laid beneath the percussion, but it’s probably the biggest element framing these harmonies and allowing a bit of familiarity in the hook. Alexander’s pop sensibilities are really strong in this performance, and yet he isn’t making them the focal point over the emotional narrative in the lyrics, which is telling of his investment in the story.

The mix challenges this singer to not only stick within the borders set by the groove but also resist the urge to indulge more than necessary in the chorus, and Rob Alexander lives up to the task quite charmingly. There are no embellishments added after the fact here, and even though there is a mild synthetic component backing up the guitar part, it sounds wholly natural in the big picture and not like something included to plasticize the harmonies. Anyone who has listened to this man before knows he’s above that, and he isn’t backing down from the standard he’s set for anything in his latest track.

In Rob Alexander, listeners have a performer who continues to surprise his fans and critics alike with the versatility he consistently offers in and outside of the studio, and “Yesterday’s News” is another fine example of what he can do with even the most basic of ingredients. He gets this beat cooking and doesn’t let up on it until every ounce of release is drawn from the hook, all without sounding like someone who lives and dies by camp and sonic excess. He’s a Florida indie gem in 2022, and only getting more respectable with content like this to his name.

Cleopatra Patel

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