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  • ruby crowhurst


RATING: 7/10

Rex Orange County is back with a new album which continues the soft and warm feel of his last release, but unfortunately, doesn't offer a huge amount else.

As we head into the spring, it makes sense that O'Connor has chosen to release his ode to escapism and just...generally feeling better. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter has said that he wrote WHO CARES? in mere days in Amsterdam, and without intending this to sound like an insult, that is definitely the feeling that the whole album encompasses.

There's a certain haze and whimsicality to WHO CARES? that Rex Orange County's music has always been fueled by. 'KEEP IT UP', the opening track feels like a motivational speech embedded in a catchy bedroom pop track and certainly sets the tone for the rest of the album.

WHO CARES? is at its best when genres are being blurred. The collaboration with Tyler, The Creator is a highlight, with the rapper's harsh vocals finding themselves at home in a production that one would expect to be oxymoronic.

As with PONY, O'Connor also generously yet carefully weaves bewitching orchestral instrumentals throughout WHO CARES? Rather than over-powering the light simplicity of the lyrics and core of each song, these instrumentals act to enhance and empower it.

'AMAZING' presents this especially well with the romantic lyrics walking hand in hand with the strings that flow through the verses and chorus, but with a drum beat tha brings the song away from feeling to Bridgerton. Its this work with the initimadting notion that shows why in a world of indie softboys making music, Rex Orange County still seems to be the king of them all.

Although WHO CARES? is an easy-to-listen to, generally good albu, the issue is that it doesn't feel far enough away from the last Rex Orange County release PONY. Each song flows into the next which emphasises the cohension of the album but also ensures that each song was incredibly difficult to tell apart and therefore none really stood out. There are segments of songs that feel like something different is happening but they either don't pay off well or fade away as soon as they appear.

There's nothing inherently wrong with artists sticking with what they know, but there's visibly so much potential in Rex Orange County, specifically with production, that could have been explored here but was a missed opportunity. Here's hoping this takes shape on his next release.


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