Album: The Neighbors Are Listening (2007)

Artist: Alex Esther

Label: self-released

Where available/price: iTunes for $9.99 and CDBaby for $10.

Songs: 1) Grey 2) State I’m In 3) Love Me Like You Do 4) Far Too Long 5) Something Better 6) Fool Again 7) Wonderful For Me 8) Midnight Driver 9) Hermit 10) Baby It’s Alright…I Guess 11) Somewhere 12) Sunrise 13) The Hype

Band: Alex Esther (guitars, vocals, mandolin), David Ybarra (guitar, bass, percussion), Heather Ybarra (vocals), Chester Drowers (drums, percussion)

Website: alexesther.com

Here is an open letter to all college dropouts who played in the high school marching band. If you heed the advice given here, you will no doubt enjoy a richer career and life, either by exploring your talent and creating something original and culturally relevant or by realizing that you should pursue other methods of obtaining capital — perhaps life-insurance sales.

Here goes: Stop, right now, writing lyrics at coffeehouses. There are enough relaxed songs featuring the words “coffee,” “cappuccino,” and “green tea” to satisfy listeners of caffeinated-beverage tunes for the rest of time.

Stop, right now, practicing at busy gourmet coffeehouses. Your acoustic guitar and voice combine into a sweet, sentimental tone that stands out against the backdrop of bustling customers, espresso machines, and chatter. This confuses you into thinking you sound important and sensitive, but when put to a CD and listened to in a kitchen, your voice grates like the whining of a sleepy child, and your song becomes one more on the heap of redundant acoustic-guitar songs.

You are not the Plain White T’s. Your song is not “Hey There Delilah.” You are not Dave Matthews; he is, and has been for years, and you won’t replace him as himself. The same goes for Jack Johnson and John Mayer.

You will not attain celebrity if you continue. Since you have, at least, a dash of talent, please, give up your café mewling to find something authentic inside you that you can share with us.

Thank you.

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