The latest album from Rex Orange County, titled “WHO CARES?”, was released Friday, March 11, 2022. The album keeps true to the artist’s style and is a beautiful masterpiece that tackles topics of mental health with ease and grace. It contains eleven tracks that not only build on one another but constantly bring up new themes and melodies. Each song is an independent work of art that calls out to the audience and speaks to them individually. The artist stays true to his roots and continues to create music that speaks to who he is as a person as well as the message he wishes to convey to his listeners. Some notable mentions include the songs “KEEP IT UP,” “AMAZING,” “ONE IN A MILLION” and “WHO CARES?”
The first track, “KEEP IT UP,” gives the listener a taste of what is to be expected during the entirety of the album. This song was released as a single on January 26, 2022, prior to the album’s complete release. Its melody is very rhythmic, containing violins, a drum kit and the artist’s soothing voice. This delicate combination of sounds transports the listener into the shoes of Rex Orange County, to get the feeling of both melancholy and contentment. The lyrics speak to wanting to feel like you are enough for the people around you while combating the feeling of not wanting to be around people. Lyrics such as “You no longer owe the strangers, it’s enough, it’s enough,” speak to this feeling extremely well. The song, somehow, simultaneously empowers listeners as well as inspires feelings of sadness if they relate to the song. Jubilant melodies contrast with the lyrics and create an individualized experience for the listener, which will let them take away whatever message they want to get from the song, whether it be happy or sad.
The next song, “AMAZING,” was also released as a single, on Valentine’s Day of this year. It opens with a beautiful serenade of strings, set against a drum kit that gives the song a sense of rhythm, and the artist’s voice fits seamlessly with the melodic strings and synths. This song’s message is gorgeous, praising the person the artist loves and giving them the appreciation they deserve. The artist talks about how he was in a very dark place, with uncertainty around every corner and nowhere for him to turn, and because of this special person, he was able to bring himself out of the dark hole and appreciate how amazing they are. The track instantly makes the listener think of that special person in their life and makes them want to text or call them to tell them that they are appreciated.
“ONE IN A MILLION” is another love ballad to the singer’s special someone. Listeners are introduced to the track with pianos and soothing vocals, and later in the song, we are immersed in a relaxing tempo and beat that will make you want to tap your foot to the rhythm. In contrast to the previous song, the lyrics not only show appreciation to the love interest but are also meant to bring them out of a dark place. The lyrics alone give the listener a feeling of gratification, with lines such as “There’s nothing much I can do, I’m aware,” while the melody and rhythm relax and soothe them.
The final song is “WHO CARES?” which shares its name with the album’s title. The song draws listeners in with a beat that’s very simple, done only with a piano and a drum kit, but it does its job well. Rex Orange County’s vocals, yet again, match perfectly with the vibe of the music. Lyrics present the listener with themes of self-empowerment that should be heard by everyone, as they tell the listener to stop caring about what those around them think, because as the song states several times, who cares? The song creates a world for the listener to explore at their own pace, making them feel at home with every note the artist hits.
“WHO CARES?” is a melodic and rhythmic work of art. Rex Orange County does not shy away from themes he uses in some of his older songs but improves on them vastly. He creates new melodies and beats that still give off the charm and aesthetic that he strives for. I highly recommend giving this album a listen, especially if you are a fan of indie music or simply want an album with which to relax.