Great art is not always immediate and hugely successful. In fact, it pretty rarely is, but as a songwriter Robert Boog is in a class all his own. That’s not to say he’s the best of the best, of the best, but he certainly is a raging iconoclast of the art of songwriting. Though I’m not sure how he goes about his craft. Why?
Los Angeles songwriter Robert Boog says he can’t sing very well and doesn’t play an instrument! Nevertheless, his songs have achieved modest success – highlighted by the unusual love song “Wait for You” sung by Chris Davidson. Davidson is also features on “RAOK” (random acts of kindness) “Afraid”, “My Favorite Memory” and “An Interaction on a Sunday” on Boog’s album “Blindspot”.
Despite its diverse exteriors, due to the various artists who interpret his songs, the music of Robert Boog is some of the smartest, most intelligent in the pantheon of rock, pop, folk, indie or whatever you want to call it.
Boog does not give in to songwriting formulas or conventions, staking out territory where his contemporaries seldom tread. So you don’t get the archetypical hit-radio pop songs. His idiosyncrasy ranges from the dismal to the heartwarming and humorous, and everywhere in-between.
From a technical standpoint all the vocal performances on the album are outstanding, including, what I’d call the ‘virtuosity’ of Chris Davidson who best knows how to translate Robert Boog’s compositional skills into ear-pleasing tunes. The musical arrangements are simple and stripped down – either piano or acoustic-guitar driven.
Resulting in the album sounding like an organic musical sketchbook, of personal thoughts, feelings and emotions. The sparse instrumentation also gives the music an introspective intimacy. There are a couple of songs that are more fleshed with a full backing, out such “My Favorite Memory” and “RAOK”. Strangely enough, these are the songs that least held my attention.
I was more caught up with the insistent acoustic –guitar strumming and deadpan vocal delivery by Chris Davidson, all wrapped up in solid vocal harmonies, on “Afraid”. If this is not the very best song on ‘Blindspot’, then it’s definitely a very close second. And it contends those top spots with another outstanding song and performance, which this time is encased in the piano-dominated, “Love Is All There Is”.
“Mermaid” is another composition of particular note. It sound’s as American as apple pie, full of warm humility and earthy passion, with spare and elegant instrumentation and a delicately beautiful melody amidst undeniably majestic harmonies. The vocals are passionate and emotive, the lyrics dreamy and hypnotic.
All throughout the album, Robert Boog’s music paints personal visions, romantic echoes, ideals and evocative imagery, which is fully elaborated on “Wait For You”. Without any production gloss, gimmicky or hype, the care and precision put into this record are present everywhere, in the words and melodies. The exact opposite of what happens in most modern pop records!