There's so many talented artists under twenty out here - Whethan
, Billie Eilish
, to name a few. But one of the best is Alex O'Connor, a 19-year-old British musician who goes under the alias Rex Orange County
and is slowly seducing the pop music scene one dredged-up R&B hit at a time. Whether you're a huge fan or you've never even heard of him (hint: he's featured on "Boredom" by Tyler, The Creator
), here's a crash course in some of his juiciest indie pop R&B moments.
This single released in 2016 is still one of his more popular songs and helped him gather a lot of fame and recognition. It starts out with a tune like something from a wind-up jewelry box and launches into Rex rapping laconically, "Yeah I don't know where to start / how do you admit that you're falling apart?" The hook is a jazzy melody that devolves into lyrics like "I should just say f*ck it and be happy instead" and "my jaw hurts a lot because I grind it with stress". It's a good introduction to the flippant but still smooth pop sounds of Rex's music.
2. "television / so far so good"
This song is the least similar to the rest of Rex's discography, which is what makes it so exciting. With a weird guitar melody and a cracked-up drumbeat, it almost sounds like old Panic! At The Disco, but still features Rex's smooth as hell vocals.
3. "Corduroy Dreams"
This track is all about what it's like to be young and in love, and the absurdity that can come with that. It's just Rex and his electric guitar, plucking comfortably across funny lyrics with a twinkling melody. "I'm a fucking basket case / until I saw your face," he sings cheerily. All we can say is...same.
This song is a little more hi-fi and has a deeper, crunchy beat and more funny as hell lyrics. Plus it has a sexy harmony and a slow-burning chorus. What more could you want?
5. "Belly (The Grass Stains)"
One of his slower tunes with buzzing synths and a gentle storyline that dips in and out of single moments in time - "Remember when your wedding ring began to rust?", "Why's Madonna on the radio?". This is a good one for a rainy day, when you're shut inside your house because you are Rex Orange County's number one fan and all you want to do is listen to his music. Obviously.
This track is off the album Apricot Princess
, which was written for his current girlfriend and fellow artist, Thea. "I don't think I could have sung about much else, because I didn't care about much else at the time," he says of the lyrics of every song on the album, each of which is a different ode to her or snapshot of a moment in their relationship. This song is right along those lines and even has whistling at the end, so if you like whistling, get on it.
One of this more popular songs, this track is bopping and smooth, Rex's greatest combination. This track is a little more lo-fi and has trumpets laced through the soaring chorus. This one was released just last year and did big things for his popularity, understandably. Turn it up and roll the windows down, it's got a summertime vibe.
8. "Apricot Princess"
This tune is sweet and orchestral and even includes some breathy dadada's throughout. Again, it's a little different than the rest of his discography but the title track off his second album includes a unique, almost salsa-like beat and trilling piano.
9. "Best Friend"
Getting into a fuller sound, this track was also released last year in 2017 and is his second-most streamed on Spotify. With a beachy-vibe and more vindictive lyrics, "let me tell you how it feels to be fucking great", this track has an almost dancehall chorus and harmonic vocals and is even a little noisy, yet holds back just enough to keep you coming back for more.
10. "Loving is Easy" ft. Benny Sings
Rex Orange County's most popular track floats somewhere between a happy-go-lucky doowop sound and Frank Ocean's R&B. It is exactly what you'd expect of an 18-year-old singing about being in love in the 21st century: "loving is easy / you have me fucked up". Pretty much.