WHO CARES? Album Review

WHO+CARES%3F+Album+Review

Grace Atherton, Writer

Rex Orange County released his fourth studio album earlier this month on March 11. The eleven-track album, WHO CARES?, is just what fans needed after two years of no new music from the artist. 

The artist behind the name Rex Orange County, Alexander O’Connor, continues his alt-indie style after his last album  Pony which was released just months before the first lockdown, in October 2019. His previous albums include Bcos U Will Never Be Free (2015) and Apricot Princess (2017). 

The album starts off enthusiastic with track one, “KEEP IT UP,” which sets a happy and hopeful tone for the album. The lyrics start quite pessimistically and progressively become happier, helping to set the theme of keeping a positive outlook on things while going through a rough time. 

Track 2, “OPEN A WINDOW” (ft. Tyler, the Creator) was the last single released for WHO CARES? and is surely a fan favorite as we get yet another song featuring Tyler, the Creator. These two artists have been an iconic duo since 2017 when Rex Orange County was featured on two of Tyler, the Creator’s songs on his fourth studio album, Flower Boy

So far the only track to have its own music video, “AMAZING” is one of my personal favorites. This is one of the more hopeful songs on the album, about letting someone know that they’re amazing in your eyes and they don’t have to change anything about themselves to satisfy you. It’s sweet and simple, and adds hope to a somewhat lyrically-pessimistic album. 

“IF YOU WANT IT” is a song about addressing your flaws in a relationship and not holding back from being with someone if you really care about them. Rex Orange County puts a lot of effort in addressing his flaws in his song lyrics and does his best not to cover up his insecurities. Such as Untitled, track 5 on his second album, Apricot Princess

“I make enough mistakes

And it feels like she’s the only one that hears the things I say

So if for any reason there’s some miscommunication or I’m lying to her face

My immaturity and habits getting in the way”

Rex Orange County has a reputation of keeping his music upbeat while his lyrics are usually sadder. This shows most in his most recent album in track seven, 7 AM:

“I’m no good at this, I’m messin’ up

I got used to failin’, but I’m not dumb

So excuse me if I’m wastin’ all the fun

What if I’m not cut out for this?

And I keep one to call it quits”

“THE SHADE” is a song about doing whatever you can to see if the person you love will accept or like it. O’Connor expresses his attempts of doing and changing whatever he can to satisfy the person he loves. I really enjoy this song because of the metaphors he uses in the beginning: 

“Then I was openin’ the door just to see if you would walk through

I started paintin’ all the walls just to see if you liked the shade”

“SHOOT ME DOWN” expresses the desperation you feel when losing the person you care about the most, and the feeling you get with the thought of not getting them back. After 7AM, I think this is the second most sorrowful song on the album. This is the breakup song fans were waiting to hear from him in this album. 

“WHO CARES?”, the concluding track, sums up the album in a fair manner, as he reminds us that while we may wonder about what everyone else thinks, who cares? 

Overall, I give this album an 8/10. It felt very similar to his last album Pony, which compared to his earlier albums, has more of a pop sound than an indie sound. Personally, my favorite is Bcos U Will Never B Free because of the slow tracks and intricately detailed story-telling lyrics. The tracks on WHO CARES? have a good diversity of instrumentals and a healthy balance of emotions making it the amazing album it is, as Rex Orange County does what he does best.