For someone who was once dubbed “The Internet’s new favourite sad boy” after rising to prominence overnight following heavy contributions to Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy album, Rex Orange County’s latest project is exceptionally positive and uplifting. While the British indie-pop singer wastes no time diving into some of his usual topics of depression, imposter syndrome and crushing expectations, this time around it all comes accompanied by Disney-style orchestral swells, bouncy and feel-good piano riffs and basslines, and inspirational, affirming lyrics from Rex imploring listeners that their best is good enough.
The album’s title, Who Cares?, ultimately becomes somewhat of a triple entendre depending on the frame of mind Rex is in, leaving it up to listeners’ interpretation. “You want to be happy, but you care about who cares. Who cares?” he sings on the title track. Elsewhere, he searches for those who genuinely do care about him, vowing to surround himself with the right energy.
Just like his message, Rex’s musicality has come quite a long way from his lo-fi bedroom pop beginnings, as he provides some of his most impressive vocal work and engagingly complex rhythmic passages and interlocking parts of his career. Blending jazzy elements with old-school hip-hop percussion and a huge dose of orchestral work, it’s a colourful musical palate for his distinctively scratchy vocal timbre, proving that he’s well on his way out of the shadows of the megastars he was once associated with.
Best Track: “Amazing”