Rex Orange County’s new album isn’t really “ONE IN A MILLION”


Photo via Sony Music Entertainment

Alternative artist Alex O’Connor (better known as Rex Orange County) released his fourth album, “WHO CARES?,” on March 11. 

Rex Orange County has made the most headway with his teenage audience the last few years, with some of his very popular songs being “Best Friend” and “Sunflower,” both released in 2017. 

While writing his most popular albums, “Pony” and “Apricot Princess,” he displayed his long-term relationship relatively publicly. Then, when he and his then-girlfriend broke up in 2020, fans didn’t hear from him for two years, and we were worried. Needless to say, when the new album was announced, I was not the only one excited for the new content. 

Rex Orange County is probably most well-known among his audience for the heartwrenching “Pluto Projector.” It gained an even bigger audience on TikTok in the last year, so with the break up being relatively new for our guy Alex, I was expecting something to match the first hit. Unfortunately, my expectations for the album were a little too high. 

He began by releasing three singles for the album, “KEEP IT UP,” “AMAZING” and “OPEN A WINDOW,” the last featuring Tyler, the Creator. It was a great idea in my eyes to feature another popular artist with a similar audience as him. However, I don’t think the song came through. It seemed like the duo could have made something amazing, but the song was monotone and didn’t spark anything special for me. 

“KEEP IT UP” and “AMAZING” got me excited for the release though. While Rex Orange County’s discography can be relatively boring and sound similar throughout, I enjoyed how these singles followed his style while bringing a different pop to it. I imagine them as being made for just vibing by yourself in the car with the windows down on a summer afternoon. 

I expected Rex to tease the album with some meh songs but leave the really sad ones for the actual release. Sadly, I don’t think he and I had the same mindset.

Track 10, “SHOOT ME DOWN,” was probably the one that stood out to me most, but for no particular reason. I was also hoping the final track, “WHO CARES?,” would have some sort of finale-like ending, but it didn’t bring anything special to the table. 

The album was not bad in any way, but I was just expecting a little bit too much from him. There weren’t any special songs that qualify as “Pluto Projector Part Two” or really any that made me think, “Wow, he must have gone through a really sad breakup.” 

I am all for letting artists write whatever their hearts desire and keeping their personal lives separate from their work; it was just different from what I was expecting. I am excited to listen to the album this summer when my biggest worry is remembering to reapply sunscreen, rather than crying in my room about another teenage boy who has done me wrong.