“WHO CARES”? I Care.

A review of Rex Orange County’s new album, WHO CARES

WHO+CARES%3F+I+Care.

My first thought after listening to Rex Orange County’s new album Who Cares was that it was “AMAZING,” and that he should definitely “KEEP IT UP.” But outside of the wonderful puns his song titles allow me to make, the new album was a joy to listen to. The indie influence of his previous albums combined with orchestral beats and instrumentals created what can only be described as a vibe — and this vibe certainly didn’t disappoint. 

With lyrics like “don’t change a thing you are amazing” and “you’re one of one, one in a million,” it’s inevitable that a smile will appear on your face while listening to O’Connor’s message.”

Rex Orange County performing live

It begins with the song “KEEP IT UP,” which was also the lead single of the album. Rex Orange County, also known as Alexander O’Connor, pairs his playful and smooth vocals with the instrumentals that immediately had me bopping my head along to the music. He then moves into his second track, “OPEN A WINDOW,” which sounds similar until Tyler the Creator pops in with a verse that somehow works perfectly despite being unexpected. These instrumentals—the combination of a steady backing of drums, the upbeat piano and guitar, and the pensive string solos carry through to the rest of the songs, with the backing tracks setting the mood of the album. O’Connor’s lyrics can appeal to any listener when you truly listen to them—one of my favorites, “AMAZING” is the perfect mood-booster. With lyrics like “don’t change a thing you are amazing” and “you’re one of one, one in a million,” it’s inevitable that a smile will appear on your face while listening to O’Connor’s message. But towards the end of the album, he turns slightly pensive with songs like “7 AM”, wondering if he is good enough or cut out for all of the pressure he faces, a relatable message for the majority of his listeners. But as the album progresses, Rex has everyone feeling like “nothing can stop me now” in “SHOOT ME DOWN.” A perfect wrap to the story of this album, “WHO CARES” is an ode to the people that face toxicity in their lives, showing that he is much better off now than he ever was. 

While I would consider “WHO CARES” a no-skip album, it definitely wasn’t the most experimental or different. There didn’t seem to be any risks taken with the vocals or production, and as O’Connor definitely has both the vocal and creative potential to go incredibly far, it felt as if he played it a little safe. There were no incredibly low lows; not a single song was bad or even close to it. But at the same time, none of them jumped out as his best work either—previous albums felt more unique and specific to O’Connor’s style. But throughout it all, one thing can be said for Rex Orange County, and that is that he is consistent. While not all of his songs are groundbreaking, the tender melodies never fail to catch my attention. 

The emotion and instrumentals of “WHO CARES” made for a heartfelt story told through ups and downs. While it may not have been the most risky album, “WHO CARES” stayed consistent, making for an enjoyable album O’Connor should be proud to include in his discography. And because I can’t resist making just one more pun, Rex Orange County—you are truly “ONE IN A MILLION”.