- 19 Nov 19
Back to the future
Mankind has been creating music since the dawn of time. While there are approximately a zillion ways to write a melody (yes, I did the math), copyright lawsuits abound. But fear not! Alex O’Connor, AKA Rex Orange County, has resurrected musical originality with his latest album, Pony.
This is the future of music.
Pony resides comfortably in the post-genre sphere. ‘It Gets Better’, for example, is impossible to classify. Is it the track played over a bank robbery scene? Would you hear it in a ’70s disco club? Will the Philharmonic play it at the NCH? It’s a whirlwind of a tune and by the end, you’re confused, exhausted, and somehow fully satisfied.
Twenty-somethings will ring in the New Year to ‘10/10’, raising a pint while singing, “But this time I took control/ And turned my shit round/ Sometimes you gotta cut a bitch out/ I’m living again.”
Meanwhile, haters will insist Pony sounds juvenile. After all, the singer reminisces on being naïve at 18 – though he’s only 21 and doesn’t even have kids or a mortgage! (I don’t either, I’m just imagining those are the toughest parts of adulting).
But instead of crumbling under pressure, O’Connor maturely reflects on the toll the past two years of adulation have taken, as well as the strength it gave him. “No point in feeling upset, won’t take my place on the floor/ I’ll stand up straight like I’m tall”, he croons on ‘It’s Not The Same Anymore’, over swooping strings and a soothing saxophone.
His next-generation synths and cinematic orchestral moments draw inspiration from, variously, former collaborator Randy Newman; retro video game soundtracks; and even Mr. Rogers. These are the sounds O’Connor and his fans grew up with, now seen through a fresh lens.
I repeat: this is the future of music.
Out Now. 9/10