Oriane Dancler and Pike Temple

Alexander James O’Connor, professionally known as Rex Orange County, is an English singer and songwriter. O’Connor released his new album, WHO CARES?, on March 11 this year. We (Pike Temple and Oriane Dancler) teamed up to compliment and criticize his music according to our own tastes.


I, Pike Temple, am not a fan of Rex Orange County. I’ve never listened to any of his music. Here’s my first impression of Rex Orange County and his album WHO CARES?.

Album Rating: 6.5/10

First, the introduction to many of the songs in the album are parts of classical orchestral arrangements. This is creative, but gets too repetitive after a couple songs. On a more positive note, while listening to the entire album in one sitting, the violins are how O’Connor made the album cohesive. I appreciate that the album doesn’t feel like eleven singles smashed together to form one big, unrelated project. Some of the genres that Alexander James O’Connor mixed together create an oddly appealing mashup of pop, indie, jazz, and hip-hop. More specifically, touches of hip-hop, indie, and jazz are melded together to form a laid back album that can still categorize itself into pop culture. I can tell that Rex Orange County understands the audience he is catering to and that is what he is selling. However, apart from a few songs in the album, WHO CARES? is only a generic indie-pop album. The drums are a nice touch amongst the violins and other orchestral instruments, but the lack of guitar just makes the album flat. The introduction of piano in ONE IN A MILLION is a much needed break from the violins. Now to the vocals. The distortion on the vocals in many of the songs feels dated and unnecessary. The lyrics, while appealing at times, are very basic.  The actual quality of the vocals is mediocre. Overall, O’Connors voice is solid for the type of music he is making, but the album feels very safe. The lyrics are uninspiring and he doesn’t push the boundary when it comes to his range. Anyone with a decent voice could replace O’Connor and the quality of the vocals would sound essentially the same. I understand that his vocals may not be the greatest and that he is not capable of belting high notes all the time, however, I would then ask for the lyrics to be more thoughtful and poetic. I want to return to the more prominent and featured aspect of his music. Previously, I mentioned cohesion and how important it is in a collection of songs in an album, but the violins are overused. The choppy piano bits with the base and snare would be great if only the tempo was a little faster. On that note, I urge anyone and everyone to try listening to WHO CARES? using 1.25 playback speed in the settings option that is only available on Youtube. It is stunning how much better the album would be if the tempo on certain songs was accelerated. However, on some of the songs, 1.25 will be too drastic of an increase. Using the custom playback speed option (on a computer) is a gamechanger. The 1.25 playback speed really enhances songs like 7 AM. Try out 1.15 or 1.2 playback speed on AMAZING, a song with serious earworm potential. If Rex Orange County wants to play into the more upbeat, catchy genre of pop music, a slight increase in tempo among a few other changes to future works could really separate him from the crowd and elevate his music into a category of its own.


Favorite Song: OPEN A WINDOW (Official Audio) ft. Tyler, The Creator

My favorite song on the album featuring the very popular Tyler, The Creator, is the one song on the album that does not require an increase in playback speed. This track is a unique work of art. While listening to many of the songs on the album, I had trouble listening to the entire track because there wasn’t a new twist to the song that I hadn’t already heard in the first verse, chorus, etc. OPEN A WINDOW was the one exception. The song is dynamic and the melody is well-written.

Least Favorite Song: KEEP IT UP

The first track on the album, KEEP IT UP, is the most overly repetitive song in the album. While it displays the elegant violin intro and piano accompaniment like many of the other songs in WHO CARES?, this is the only song that I still did not like after increasing the playback speed. The lyrics in the verses are decent, but the bridge is lackluster. The chorus is what makes this song extremely repetitive. Personally, there was not very much to like about the song. Overall, I thought KEEP IT UP felt more or less out of place in the album. The only other upbeat, pop-like song in the album is Amazing, but Amazing still has a jazzy feel. Unlike the other songs in WHO CARES?, KEEP IT UP lacks this element. 


I, Oriane Dancler, have been a fan of Rex Orange County for 3 years. I first discovered him from his song Best Friend, released in 2017. Ever since I first listened to that song, he has been my favorite artist. I have been waiting for this album ever since Pony released in 2019. Since Pony is my all time favorite album, I wanted to see if he could top that with his newest album. Here are my first impressions on Rex’s new album WHO CARES?.

Album Ranking: 7.5/10

When I first listened through the album, it reminded me of summer. Most of the songs were reminiscent of the summer classics which Rex is very good at creating, such as THE SHADE with its happy upbeat tempo and singing about being in love. The best love song on the album is definitely ONE IN A MILLION as well as OPEN A WINDOW. Both of these songs have Rex’s classic take on romance. The way he wrote them made his listeners want to fall in love so that the songs make more sense. Aside from songs about romance, Rex also created songs about not liking life all of the time. Even though they are not my most favorite, the best one on this album is 7 AM because I really liked the melody of the song. I found that this song requires me to be in a certain mood in order to enjoy it. The album consisted of a lot of violins which the artist was famous for using. I think the violins added a nice touch to his vocals and helped get the emotions of the songs across. However, I felt that some songs did not fit well with the album and I personally did not like them. This is my opinion and nobody can argue about taste. In the end, Pony is still my favorite Rex album but some of the songs on this album have become my favorite Rex songs. 


Favorite Song: ONE IN A MILLION

ONE IN A MILLION was by far my favorite song on the whole album. The beginning of the song had a calming element to it. Rex’s melodic vocals combined with the piano created a soothing flow to the song. I enjoyed that I could hear the raw emotion in his voice without a heavy beat playing in the background. I could hear him bring out different twists in his vocals which made the song more enjoyable. ONE IN A MILLION  sounded like a classic love song, which is why it was my favorite.

Least Favorite Song: KEEP IT UP 

I tried so hard to enjoy this song, but I could not. Even though Rex created this song, I could not help but feel that it was repetitive and that it kept the same elements as a lot of the other songs. I liked bits and pieces of KEEP IT UP, but it was not to my liking. I did not expect Rex to come out with this rather disjointed and jarring song. It sounded like a song I would be forced to hear on the radio and not something I would voluntarily choose to listen to.


Our Rankings:

  2. OPEN A WINDOW ft Tyler, The Creator
  4. 7 AM
  11. KEEP IT UP