“It’s Not the Same Anymore”: Rex Orange County Album Review
Written by Rory Larrison on October 30, 2019
Artist: Rex Orange County
Label: Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: October 25, 2019
It’s clear that bedroom-indie pop artist Rex Orange County has become confident enough to start experimenting with his music. His previous two albums remained safe behind a piano or guitar, but “Pony”, released on October 25, brings in new instruments, new concepts and new dynamics that give the new album room to shine.
One thing Rex Orange County is known for is his use of vocals as part of the background track to add a certain sense of depth to each song. We see this in “Pony” as well, but this time the vocals are accompanied by stronger instrumentals that blend together seamlessly and work together to make a more saturated sound.
Almost immediately into listening to the album, I realized how short some of the songs were. Out of a 10 song tracklist, 40% of them were under three minutes long. Granted, this might have been done intentionally due to the fact that several of the songs are around the four-minute mark, and the album closer “It’s Not The Same Anymore” is a full six minutes and 25 seconds long. But the shorter ones, like “Laser Lights” or “Stressed Out” feel almost incomplete and less complex as his stronger songs– we as an audience aren’t given enough time to see how great Rex Orange County when he’s cut off. His longer songs truly allow him time to play around with the music, and this is where we’re able to see him flourish.
For example, “Pluto Projector”, a four and a half minute long composition, features a great blend of simplicity and intricacy. Over halfway through, we’re given a glistening, breathtaking, full string orchestra that adds unique strength not found anywhere else in the album. In “It Gets Better”, we hear an eclectic and layered compilation of genres that remain cohesive throughout the entire song, which is difficult to do. The album closer, “It’s Not The Same Anymore”, is a raw and nostalgic acceptance of help that brought me to tears the first time I listened to it. It’s emotional and stripped down, and probably the most similar song to his older music, but the twist ending is what sets it apart from his usual bleak lyrics.
Overall, “Pony” is cinematic in its delivery, something I didn’t realize was missing in earlier Rex OC albums until I heard it in this one. Although I’d prefer if some of the songs were longer and more developed, the stronger ones are able to make up this loss and bring something new to the table. It’s different enough to set apart from previous albums, but still maintains the same relaxing and stratospheric moods that listeners are used to.
And I’d love to give credit to the great transition between “Stressed Out” and “Never Had the Balls”. I’m a sucker for those.
Standout Tracks: “Always”, “Never Had The Balls” and “Pluto Projector”