With the release of Rex Orange County’s latest album Who Cares?, the oncoming spring and summer season can finally commence. The summer staple Rex Orange County may sound like a group name, but acts as an alias for alternative indie singer-songwriter Alexander James O’Connor or Rex. A collaboration alongside Benny Sings, O’Connor new album feels like a beacon of hope through lingering post-pandemic thoughts.
Wanting to be removed from the dull frustration of the lockdown, O’Connor packed up for a change of scenery in Amsterdam. With no pressure in mind to produce, he and Sings shared ideas with each other and the music process came naturally. After his ultimate return to the UK, O’Connor explained in an interview with Apple Music that he found himself missing the thrill of writing and revisited the album later in the year to finish.
Being one of the first songs finalized ,“Open A Window” was a joint effort with a past collaborator, Tyler The Creator. The organization of Rex opening the song and Tyler closing the song follows a similar pattern to their first collaboration, “Boredom”. This song embodies the mindset I had when I was stuck in lockdown and looking for a way to escape the droning thoughts in my brain while cooped up at home.
These stuffy feelings set a tone for “One In A Million,” which shows the point of view of an awestruck lover being unable to contain the dizzying feelings of an unexpected situation. The continuous three beat repetition on almost every lyric in the chorus mimics the restless tempo of an actual heartbeat. Having the song cut out and steady out of nowhere feels like a rush of adrenaline for listeners to experience.
Nearing the end of the album, my favorite song has to be “Shoot Me Down.” With the feeling of a fighting anthem, the song contains continuous instrumental changes that feel like a treat to the ear with the lyrics sung in O’Connor’s voice. Despite holding the title of longest song on the album, it is worth sticking around from start to finish.
Together, these tracks provide a well-needed break and refreshing mindset to power through navigating the world after the pandemic. I highly recommend giving this album a listen if you are looking to forget the winter slump, and welcome in the beams of summer days.