When Rex Orange County announced that he was coming out with an album back in January, fans went crazy. He hadn’t released anything since his last album, Pony, in 2019 and he also had gone through a public breakup.
ROC and another musician, Thea, had dated for years. One day, ROC out of nowhere posted “I am not in a relationship” to his social media. Everyone was shocked. However his fans thought they knew what was coming musically- his saddest album yet. But they were totally wrong. Despite this heartbreak, Thea became the muse for the happiest album he’s ever written.
The first single “KEEP IT UP” is a light-hearted song about self-love. With just the first listen, I felt like I was on top of the world and floating on my feet as I was walking to class. The next single “AMAZING” was a song about being absolutely in love with someone, himself saying it was “for the lovers”.
Fans were confused. They came up with theories, saying that ROC was being deceitful. After these happy-go-lucky singles, the rest of the album was going to be a bundle of sad songs reminiscing about his past relationship. But they couldn’t be more be farther from the truth. The whole album keeps to the tune of these singles.
“I want the music to sound and feel free because I feel free in a sense” – and it’s evident in the lyrics of any chosen song. He emphasizes not caring about anything anyone says because only you are in control of your life.
In the song “Always” from his last album, ROC grapples with living life with a mental illness. He wanted to pretend that he was fine but he never truly felt it. In the creation of this album, he was in a completely different mindset. He talks about how he decided to put himself first and save himself from the sadness he’s been feeling.
Even though the songs are obnoxiously light-hearted in their sound, he talks about struggling to accept the fact that he feels this amazing but is all alone. In “WHO CARES?”, the question can be interpreted in two ways: Who cares about what other people think? Or who cares about me? He’s anxious that this feeling won’t last forever but he’s going to live in it while it lasts.
I enjoyed this album as someone who is in need of this uplifting spirit that ROC brought to this project. I am on a similar journey and I really connected with it. The album couldn’t have come at a better time.
Check out the album here: https://open.spotify.com/album/2yI4m5Yu2tl8v0It5P9WVz?si=by3d5LLLQ7qYa87e52GrzQ