“Friend of Mine (Elton’s Epic)” (single) by Rob Alexander
Some artists don’t have to depend on the same frills that others do when making something impactful that fans can relate to, and if you’re looking for one of them in the flesh this January, you needn’t look much further than Dr. Rob Alexander. The second single from Alexander’s acclaimed sophomore album Being Myself, “Friend of Mine (Elton’s Epic),” is one-part homage and another part statement piece, with both sides of the track working to introduce us to a softer, more balladic side of the singer who created it. Don’t get me wrong – this cat has submitted some smooth-moving singles, with “Friend of Mine (Elton’s Epic)” only being the most recent hit – but, even with that said, to say he isn’t breaking the mold here just wouldn’t be accurate.
There’s a lot of emphasis on the harmonies in this song, and in some ways, they’re even more communicative of the understated emotionality in the verses than any of Alexander’s singing is. This is a bold move on his part; after all, most of the material on Being Myself employs an entirely different style of construction altogether, but it doesn’t sound out of place in the tracklist at all. There’s a diversity to the means in which this guy applies himself to the recording process, and if my gut is right, he probably worked through a couple of different versions of “Friend of Mine (Elton’s Epic)” long before ever committing himself to the one we hear on the record as well as in this release.
“Friend of Mine (Elton’s Epic)” might indeed have been designed as an homage to begin with, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t’ think that it sounds or feels like it’s lacking in a unique aesthetical accent belonging to Alexander and Alexander alone. Yes, it would be disingenuous to say that he isn’t nodding to Elton on more than one occasion here – from the bridge to the chorus and beyond, the whole song is steeped in the classic piano pop/rock that the British icon once made the soundtrack of the world itself – but there’s more of the man on the cover in its muscles than there is anyone else (which, to be fair, isn’t very easy to do in a single like this one).
Fans of Rob Alexander who have been with him since his very first recordings are not going to be disappointed in what they find on “Friend of Mine (Elton’s Epic),” but by now, they’ve probably been anticipating this track’s release as a single for a while. Being Myself is such a fun record to listen to that it’s hard to believe it isn’t a compilation LP. From beginning to end, Alexander pulls out all the stops to keep us engaged with every part of the music, and for an artist who keeps a day job as an anesthesiologist, that’s something all of us can be impressed by. He’s doing incredible things with his gifts, and anyone who needs more of his charisma would do well to grab this single up ASAP.