“WHO CARES?”: Rex Orange County’s third album solidifies his signature style

rex orange county

Courtesy of Spotify

rex orange county

Nicole Mattson

Editor’s Note: This article is a review. Views are the individual’s own and do not represent the views of the organization. 

Rex Orange County’s “WHO CARES?” album is an honest and heartfelt must-listen.

Alternative artist Rex Orange County released his third album, “WHO CARES?,” on March 11. The album discusses themes of love and mental health through a series of ups and downs.

Similar to past releases, Rex likes to use a blend of uplifting beats, keys and a full orchestra at times. String and wind instruments can be heard in many songs. The emotion provoked from a violin and piano mixed with Rex’s honest lyrics and his tone of voice creates those heartfelt moments that make you want to belt out the lyrics and maybe shed a tear.

The UK artist also released a few short videos to give a behind the scenes look at the making of the album.

Alex O’Connor is the man behind Rex Orange County and opens up his album with an uplifting affirmation to himself and anyone who may need it in “KEEP IT UP.” He shares that he is stressed and depressed, and he uses this song to give himself and others motivation to keep pushing along for better days to come.

Since his mixtape released in 2016, O’Connor has been very open about his mental health. While many songs lean toward the sadness he feels, listeners can hear the journey he has gone through and the strides he makes toward a happier tomorrow. With the release of “KEEP IT UP” on January 26 came a music video featuring Rex dancing and being goofy in Amsterdam where the album was recorded with the help of producer, Benny Sings.

Rapper, Tyler, The Creator has featured Rex Orange County on two songs in his “Flower Boy” album. This time, the roles are reversed with Tyler featured on one of Rex’s songs for the first time. “OPEN A WINDOW” begins with a symphony of string instruments that leads into an uplifting beat with the assistance of a piano and some drums. This smooth and catchy song portrays feelings of being stuck and wanting to get away, which everyone can relate to given the state of the last few years. While both artists have very different styles, they crossover in a very natural way every time they collaborate. “OPEN A WINDOW” does not disappoint.

“IF YOU WANT IT” feels similar to “It Gets Better” from his 2019 album “Pony” in the way that the sound is a bit different from anything else on the album. While both of these songs flow well and fit in their album, they have a different sound and style than what we may expect from O’Connor. “IF YOU WANT IT” is incredibly catchy, but can get repetitive at times with the chorus.

For your fix of a Rex Orange County love song, look to “AMAZING.” Accompanied by a music video featuring hand puppets, the Valentine’s Day release professes adoration for a girl while he portrays that he’s nervous to tell her how he really feels. This is shared through lyrics such as, “Search the definition of afraid, and I’m sure you’ll see my face.” The sweet and soft song shows O’Connor’s more timid yet loving side. 

Another great love song on the album is “ONE IN A MILLION”. This track feels very true to Rex’s style, and it sheds light at times on his perception of himself while still focusing on the person he loves.

“7AM” is a brutally honest song about calling out your failures and flaws. Despite the content of the lyrics, the song is surprisingly upbeat. The title track “WHO CARES?” also has a similar vibe. This song goes back and forth between positive and negative feelings in a very human way. It’s this honesty in Rex Orange County’s lyrics that make his songs resonate with his audience so well.

With these heartfelt songs and a few more not mentioned, this album is absolutely a must listen for fans of alternative music. “WHO CARES?” is a brilliant addition to O’Connor’s discography and it packed a lot more fun and happy moments than expected while keeping true to his emotional nature. Given that Rex Orange County is 23-years-old, the album is incredibly relatable to college-aged students through the trials and tribulations of love, heartache and mental health journeys.

Final Verdict: 8.5/10