Rex Orange County ponies up a new album


Peyton Stack (Haley Kish, ed.)

On Friday, October 25, Alex O’Connor, better known as Rex Orange County, released his second studio album. Pony contained ten songs, covering topics such as struggles with mental health, personal growth and relationship issues. Along with a new album, O’Connor announced via social media that he would travel on a world tour, promoting his newest piece of art. “It’s been a while since he (O’Connor) has released a new album. I love all the songs on the new album, and I hope he keeps releasing more music” NC sophomore Myles Hutcherson said.

Elyssa Abbott and Peyton Stack

After a two year hiatus from producing albums, 21-year-old English singer-songwriter Alex O’Connor, better known as Rex Orange County, announced a world tour along with his second studio album, Pony. Prior to the album’s release on October 25, O’Connor released three singles: “10/10,” “Face to Face,” and “Pluto Projector”. Rex Orange County starts his tour of North America and the United Kingdom on November 13.

After releasing his debut album, Bcos U Will Never B Free in 2016, he garnered attention from hip-hop artist Tyler the Creator, who invited O’Connor to appear on his 2017 album Flower Boy. Featured on “Boredom” and “Foreword,” O’Connor surprised fans with a unique style, his genre of music falling under alternative as compared to Tyler’s hip-hop. From the collaboration, Rex Orange County’s popularity grew rapidly. 

“I had a think about my oldest friends

Now, I no longer hang with them

And I can’t wait to be home again

I had a year that nearly sent me off the edge

I feel like a five, I can’t pretend

But if I get my s*** together this year

Maybe I’ll be a ten,”

The opening lyrics of the first song, “10/10,” shows O’Connor reminiscing about the past and looking to the future. O’Connor vulnerably discusses his personal growth as he easily relates to fans by promoting reassurance of one’s identity. Following “10/10,” “Always” depicts a sense of dependability for a significant other. Beginning with a melodic chorus, the slow tempo soothes listeners and pulls on their heartstrings. 

“Laser Lights”, an upbeat anthem, celebrates the independence of an individual, especially after a break-up. “Face to Face” reminds fans of the “old” Rex Orange County, entering with a slow tempo and gradually increasing the rhythm. Both songs perfectly represent an alternative style that revolves around messy relationships. 

“Although the songs on the new album differ from his older albums, his unique style and voice [are] still apparent. My personal favorite is ‘Stressed Out’ because it’s relatable to teens,” Magnet sophomore Bentley Huff said. 

Finishing with “It’s Not the Same Anymore”, O’Connor leaves listeners with the note of acceptance of his internal struggles and coping with the pressures of fame. Pony successfully establishes Rex Orange County as one of the premier faces of the alternative sound and inspires the younger generation to accept their individuality. Throughout the album, Rex Orange County reflects upon his personal evolution as a singer-songwriter, but most importantly as a person. 

 The Chant’s Grade: A-