Since dropping the masterpiece “Pony” in 2019, fans have been anxiously awaiting any new Rex Orange County music. However, it wasn’t until Jan. 26 when Alex O’Connor (a.k.a Rex Orange County) announced on his Instagram that his new album, “WHO CARES,” would drop soon, driving the anticipation even further. Finally, on March 11, his fourth sensational record was released on all platforms–exceeding everyone’s expectations as it is an absolute no skip album.
The record is composed of 11 songs, three of which were revealed prior to the album release (“KEEP IT UP,” “AMAZING” and “OPEN A WINDOW”). While I will forever suggest to anyone I converse with to listen to the entirety of this absolute gem, these are my top five favorite tracks that you just have to give a listen.
WORTH IT –
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that “WORTH IT” is my favorite song so far. I just haven’t been able to get it out of my head for the past week! The song opens up with a stunning introduction that’s 48 seconds long. At first, only solo strings play, then wind instruments are added and finally a groovy drum beat (which makes the song in my opinion). As for the lyrics, which Alex usually puts his entire heart into, I feel a special connection with this melody. He sings, “You can choose to get upset or just get over it, it’s up to you; what do you wanna do,” and ends with “it’s not worth it anymore,” which almost puts all of my lingering anxieties at ease. Although it’s nothing too profound, it’s a beautiful reminder, and the gorgeous instrumentals make it all the better.
SHOOT ME DOWN –
If not on the same level as “WORTH IT,” “SHOOT ME DOWN” is a very close second to being my favorite track. It’s a different style we don’t normally hear from O’Connor, bringing out more of a soul vibe. However, listeners still get the same raw voice and unique composition we all know and love. The jazzy piano lines and melodic riffs also add such a perfect touch to this type of tune. This will definitely be one of my night driving songs that I belt with the windows down and I’m not ashamed to say it!
THE SHADE –
I think it’s safe to say that this is my new comfort song. If it were possible to physically wrap myself in any sound possible, it would be this. The warm tone, catchy guitar chords and soft melody make for a flawless track. Even further, the chorus proves to be such a heart-felt ballad that truly tugs at the heartstrings. It is assumed that O’Connor sings “I would love just to be stuck by your side; not with anybody else, not with anybody else; It’s enough just to keep us occupied; please don’t go,” about his recent ex-girlfriend of seven years, Thea Morgan-Murrell. I can’t help but tear up but also feel in awe of his unfiltered, open beliefs.
MAKING TIME –
Like most of his other tracks, “MAKING TIME” starts with a longer introduction composed of an orchestra, which leads into his vocals. Yet, the main instrument in this song is a solo guitar with only Alex’s voice. There are no words to describe it except that it is merely beautiful. I wish it were a little bit longer because it’s just under two minutes, and I absolutely love the meaning behind it. However, I can appreciate the simplicity of just the six lines: “making time, just to see you; we’re safe inside, you make things right; so don’t wait up, I’m ok, I’m ok.”
ONE IN A MILLION –
“ONE IN A MILLION” is another song that brings a “soul” touch with it, and maybe even a dash of R&B. The light piano paired with the drums underneath O’Connor’s slow vocal descent makes for an entirely too catchy song. While the recipient of this tune is “one in a million,” he hopes to prove that he is enough, and that it is something he hopes they agree with–a scenario with which most people are familiar with!
My honorable mention has to be “7 AM” because the upbeat chords contrasted with the not-so-happy lyrics will always be a combo I’d die for. However, as I said before, every single song on this album is breathtaking, and ranking them was probably one of the harder things I’ve had to do.
I am super excited to say that I secured pit tickets for the “WHO CARES” tour in Queens this May, and there are no words to describe how insanely shocked I am that I get to watch Alex O’Connor live. Attending one of his concerts has been on my bucket list for years and I am incredibly thrilled to live it out and especially to such an amazing album. Rex Orange County, here I come!