'Who Cares? by Rex Orange County Album Review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions

Sony Music

7.2

Rex Orange County

WHO CARES?

Like if John Legend met Peter Bjorn and John, Rex Orange County, aka Alexander James O’Connor, from England, has the perfect combination of soul, indie, and pop. On his latest album, Who Cares?, his fourth studio album, featuring Tyler the Creator, who he worked with on Tyler’s hit album Flower Boy, it is one song after another dealing with self-acceptance and relationships via bare all lyrics and orchestrated gems of songs. He’s caught on, throughout the world, and his songs act as encouragements to his listeners, to take the risk on loving yourself or finding that partner, who is that “One In A Million.”

To bolster his fans and to introduce his new album, he sent out postcards with a phone number, which played the single and lead track, “Keep It Up,” when you called it. “Keep it up and go on,” he sings on the bouncy cross between Weezer and Leon Bridges, “You’re only holding out for what you want / You no longer owe the strangers / It’s enough, keep it up.” The orchestration, which plays something like Pachabel’s Canon, is what pushes the song from enjoyable to impressive.

In fact, the combination of O’Connor and Benny Sings is the thing that makes this a treat of an album. O’Connor’s melodies are on point, his lyrics endearingly relatable, but it is the orchestration that pushes it into the upper echelons. A working relationship, something perhaps like Elton John and Bernie Taupin is at work. Any singer-songwriter worth his salt would be lucky to find a Benny Sings, I think.

The title of the album plays throughout the album, in what O’Connor focuses his attentions on and he bears enough of himself to make you feel for his struggle. “I’m no good at this, I’m fuckin’ up / I got used to failin’, but I’m not dumb,” he sings on the supremely clappable, groovy, string swelling “7AM.” And that’s the revelation of the album, whether it’s relationships, a music career, or just the hard existence we all endure, the smartest thing that we can do is find someone who really cares and leave all of the rest behind.

If you like pop music that has enough indie sensibilities to make it fresh and not completely given over to saccharine, you might like this album. Rex Orange County and the album Who Cares? is a compelling co-operative effort that shows promise for the group. If you only came for Tyler the Creator, it’s likely you’ll stay for the rest of this catchy and talented album, made to soundtrack your own personal falling and rising, the troubles of true love and self-acceptance.

Order WHO CARES? by Rex Orange County HERE