HomeSandpiper Selects‘PONY’ samples a mix of genres, an emotional career highlight for the singer-songwriter

‘PONY’ samples a mix of genres, an emotional career highlight for the singer-songwriter

BY KEA YENGST

In the mid-2010s, British singer/songwriter Alexander O’Connor, known by the stage name “Rex Orange County,” increased his following in his choice of tech-indie music style amongst teens and millennials alike. After a two-year hiatus since his last album release in 2017, Rex has now taken back the spotlight with his latest album, “PONY,” which discusses concepts of relationships, making the first move and coming-of-age settings.

Perfect for a youthful yet modern audience.

The album kicks off with “10/10,” which visits the topic of remembering the past while simultaneously talking about the future. Rex even throws in a Batman reference singing, “I turned superhero, I’m coming in Bruce Wayne.” After the two minute and twenty-six second track is over, the album goes from a fast, sweet-revengeful pace to one more slow and laid back with second track “Always,” which features an instrumental sequence in the background consisting of piano and saxophone.

Rex revisits the concept of getting back up on one’s feet, except the artist starts to doubt himself and promptly does a full 180 to look at the positive. This is a prominent pattern in Rex’s past works, especially previous works such as “Loving is Easy,” “Untitled,” “Best Friend” and “Television / So Far So Good.” While “10/10” clearly states looking back at nostalgia and taking back revenge, “Always” returns to a more real and truthful track of self-doubt and reality.

Courtesy of SONY MUSIC
Rex Orange County has taken back the spotlight with his sophomore album, “PONY.”

“Face to Face” takes a more positive approach to looking at relationships and evolution in Rex’s music. However, it isn’t as well put together as the other tracks. “Face to Face” is one of the many songs Rex has written in regards to relationships, but this one in particular talks about a struggling, long-distance relationship, which does not really fit into the main themes of the track. Unlike other tracks on the album, vocal overlap and modification along with an upbeat clapping sequence in the background are found while talking (singing?), which is repetitive throughout “PONY.”

One of the longer tracks, “Pluto Projector,” uses guitar chords and untouched vocals, along with some basic, indie-style beats starting after the second verse. Compared to other tracks on the album, Rex clearly states in “Pluto Projector” how grateful he is for his current girlfriend Thea by singing, “I feel at home when Im around you, and Ill gladly say again, I hope the encore lasts forever.” Another difference that’s present are the vocal overlaps used briefly throughout the track, noticeable not only with “Pluto Projector,” but with tracks not just from “PONY,” but from past albums as well.

While “10/10” and “Pluto Projector” were both the highlighted tracks of the album with over 70,000 views on Genius, a website that analyzes the lyrics of songs, the two tracks had earlier release dates than the other eight tracks, leaving the album as a whole with an honest yet various output.

The two-year hiatus was definitely worth it, for “PONY”deserves a 10/10.

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