When you have an ego as large as Richard Ashcroft's, it's impossible not to put out solo material. Not that his ego is a bad thing, mind you. The ex-frontman for Wigan, England's the Verve has always been somewhat of a visionary. He once told a journalist that when he was eleven years old and the other kids were playing with action figures, he was more concerned with contemplating life and death. Ashcroft's lyrics dive headfirst into the spiritual and the subconscious -- it is refreshing that he is not afraid to expose the raw nerves of unconditional love and relationships between people. This is what has always put him light years ahead of Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Damon Albarn or any of his so-called contemporaries. With the release of his first solo album Alone With Everybody, Ashcroft unleashes musical spirituality by injecting something usually not present in most commercial music: human soul and musical numinousness. With sweeping, swirling love songs such as "You On My Mind In My Sleep," Ashcroft forgoes the ego and exposes his heart in the company of otherworldly guitar drones, string accompaniment and weeping pedal steel notes. It is here the listener realizes that this man's forte is the love song. Even on the more up-tempo (and Pro Tools-laden) hits such as "Come On People (We're Making It Now)" and "I Get My Beat," we find Ashcroft confident and triumphant in his amorous temper. His songs reveal a young man who is completely enamored with the shortness of life and the time we have to live it.