Rex Orange County has returned with his highly anticipated third album “Pony,” which sees the singer-songwriter as heartfelt and lyrically engaging as ever before. He continues to experiment with new instrumentation, while remaining true to his simple, soulful roots.
Alexander O’Connor, who performs under the stage name Rex Orange County, is an English musician who is well-known for his soft, easy-going sound, smooth vocals and his emotional yet relatable lyrics.
“Pony” marks Rex’s third studio album, following his 2016 debut “bcos u will never b free,” and his 2017 project “Apricot Princess.” However, his features on Tyler the Creator’s massively popular 2017 album “Flower Boy” proved to be a breakthrough for the young artist.
Needless to say, Rex Orange County had the attention of the music industry. Fans both new and old have been waiting to hear what the newly famous artist would release next. That project would turn out to be “Pony,” and it did not disappoint.
A factor of Rex’s music that separates him from other similar artists is his lyricism. Rex’s music has always been highlighted of lyrics following themes such as romance and the ever-changing world while using the right words. His lyrics have never been overly complex or simplistic, and that trend continues in this project.
Rex starts out strong with the opening track “10/10,” which explores the theme of self-improvement. Rex sings about how it’s okay to cut out the toxicity in your life, as long as it helps you become your best self. He claims to have felt like a “five” this past year, but maybe if he gets his act together he could feel like a “10” in the coming year.
The closing track, “It’s Not the Same Anymore,” deals with the theme of change. This grand finale song clocks in at six minutes and 26 seconds long, by far the longest track on the album. For most of this runtime, Rex pessimistically sings about the changes in his life, longing to return to the way his life was before.
Rex goes into vivid detail about how the newfound hardships in his life are taking both an emotional and physical toll on his life, such as how he can no longer feel happy and how he no longer feels hungry.
Right when it seems like the album is going to end on a depressing note, Rex suddenly turns a 180 in the final minute and a half of the song. He sings about how the changes in his life have all happened for a reason and have made him a better and wiser person than before. The song ends on an optimistic note, and in turn, so does the entire album.
“Pony” also finds Rex at his most creative from an instrumental point of view. This is evident on the third track “Laser Lights,” which serves as one of the groovier songs on the album. This upbeat track is backed by steady piano chords which are soon joined by multiple grand brass horns. The track manages to separate itself from others on the album with its grandiose sound and its big band instrumentation.
By far the best song on “Pony” is the seventh track on the album, “Pluto Projector.” This track best exemplifies all of the qualities that make this album so great, and it stands as one of Rex’s best ever singles to date.
The song finds Rex at his best lyrically, with each verse unraveling new emotions like verses in a poem. It seems as though Rex just sat down and wrote out all his emotions as they naturally came to him, which has been the case for much of the music he has released throughout his career. Rex sings about a relationship he is currently in, as he reflects on how beneficial it is to him and how it is affecting him.
The production on “Pluto Projector” also finds Rex at his best. The song goes through numerous different phases and changes, the most notable of which is an orchestral piece toward the end of the song before the final verse. The inclusion of the string instruments gives the track a strong, elegant finish that makes it the most memorable song on the album, and sums up what the album overall is about.
“Pony” marks a successful follow-up to Rex Orange County’s previous efforts, and fans are sure to enjoy much of the same they are used to with some new and welcome changes. With three albums already released at the age of 21, it is clear that there is plenty more to come from the young English artist, and the future couldn’t look any brighter.