Music review: Alex Clare -- "Too Close"

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:56 a.m. ET

Techno beats with elements of hip-hop and pop seem to be music’s latest trend (Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna; David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj), but this is one we should welcome.

Alex Clare Live

Ever fall too close to being a victim of a ridiculous trend? I indulged in the neon fishnet fashion fad. Disgusting. And I don’t think we’ll look back on this music craze as being regrettable like my borderline “Lil’ Kim” ensembles. The masterpiece by Alex Clare entitled "Too Close" from his album The Lateness of the Hour manages to endow dubstep beats with mainstream appeal. Don't break out the fist-pumping, spray tans and muscle tanks just yet -- the song is soulful and relaxed enough to remind you of One Republic's ear-gasmic "Apologize."

The song shows no mercy as it bursts out of the gate with an eerie buildup of beats you could envision played during a race sequence in Tron or The Matrix. Then an unexpected appearance of a guitar prompts the pained, raspy voice of Alex, melting into the harshness of the wobble bass when the chorus drops. The use of live instruments were unusual initially for producers Diplo and Switch, says Billboard.

The lyrics, though simple, command your attention -- partly because of his passion when singing, but also because of the relevance. USA Today discovered the artist had a personal experience that motivated the song, where a friendship failed but had blossomed into a romance (ahem, keep in mind he dated Amy Winehouse...). I don't understand why there is so much pain involved -- don't we all want to end up with our best friend?

"And it feels like I am just too close to love you"

This song even has appeal for the "indie scene," you know, the music snobs that discover artists that don’t even exist yet? Indie and alternative rock fans rejoice, Alex Clare is a British musician who has flown under the radar and made his work unique, with influences stemming from jazz to jungle. "Too Close" is a dark, sexy song that is only now hitting the radio waves.

Just like Internet Explorer is ancient, this song was released a while ago -- and popularized during the promotional Internet Explorer 9 commercial a few months ago. USA Today also reports that when Alex Clare first released this album to the United Kingdom over a year ago, it showed little promise on the charts. Then this year, Microsoft approached Alex to use the song in the commercial and it all led to a Universal Republic deal, a release in the United States and a Billboard spot.

With a slow and seamless build, by the time the chorus drops, there's a flurry of dubstep beats that is sensational. This song finally makes dubstep accessible with its soulful elements. So get your berets and pop in your earbuds at your local cafe, sit back, relax and just thank me later.

Photo courtesy of

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