Alexander O’Connor is a young, English indie-pop singer and songwriter. He goes by the stage name Rex Orange County which was inspired by a childhood nickname. O’Connor released his first album titled bcos u will never b free on SoundCloud, gaining him the attention of American rapper Tyler, the Creator, who later worked with the artist and brought him into the spotlight.
Pony is O’Connor’s third album and showcases his relatability through catchy tracks. The album opens with a slightly cheerful tune titled “10/10” that is about moving on from hardships and pain and coming out the other end a stronger person. With the song “Always,” there’s a little less of a happy beat but more self-confidence which is emphasized by the lyrics “But until somebody sits me down and tells me why I’m different now/ I’ll always be the way I always am.” Perhaps the peppiest sounding song of them all is the tongue-in-cheek track titled “Never Had the Balls,” which has quite the infectious melody.
An element to the Rex Orange County sound is that many of his songs flow more like sung poetry rather than the traditional pattern of verses and a chorus with the occasional bridge. There’s rarely repetition in O’Connor’s tracks, but there is a lot of soul. However, one song in the bunch that does break from his unique approach is the third single “Face to Face” that does fit the more traditional style and sounds like it could be the most commercially successful too. Another track fitting this mold is the hopeful-sounding upbeat “It Gets Better.”
O’Connor’s signature is minimal instrumentation and understated beats with open and honest lyrics at the heart of every song. A good example of this sound is “Laser Lights” which has vulnerable lyrics like “But now I’m losing my speed/ because I can’t handle defeat” and is paired with a piano-based rap-like flow very akin to fellow English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Another track that shares the trait of his signature sound is the second single “Pluto Projector” that has a more acoustic sound with soft sweet-sounding vocals.
Rex Orange County brings a fresh flair to the currently popular indie-pop music scene that makes him stand out. His lively beats and optimistic words in Pony really set him apart.