For Rex Orange County, no sound — or genre for that matter — is off limits. The London-based singer not only complements his remarkably-sung hooks alongside Tyler, The Creator with uppity, piano ballads and alt-pop hits, but is a beaming representation of balance in experimentation.
Alex O’Connor (aka Rex Orange County) has tastefully toed the line of R&B, soft rock, lo-fi, soul and hip-hop (to some degree), even if his contributions on Flower Boy are the main root of his notoriety in rap. Regardless of Tyler’s co-sign, his March album WHO CARES? was a masterpiece in its own right — proving that the sonic savant cannot be held to one box. Instead, he checked off all of them, combining groovy bedroom pop with scrappy drums and delightful orchestral arrangements seamlessly.
His new single “THREAT” (Aug. 9), however, sees the “THE SHADE” singer shine brighter in the spotlight, crooning over an upbeat, wiry guitar loop as he sings about a “threat” hovering over him and his relationship. While this isn’t the same type of melodic-driven performance found on WHO CARES?, we know by now that Rex is always pushing the proverbial sonic envelope. The track is predominantly led by a thumping drum pattern — perhaps mimicking Rex’s heartbeat threatened by “the other man.”
“We could wait for weeks
I’m gonna be right here overthinking through
I could be the only one
But I might not be him and it drives me too wild
I’m thinking of a man much more than I”Rex Orange County — “THREAT”
Putting focus on his insecurities, the self-awareness he possesses to admit that he’ll be “overthinking” even if his mind is put to ease in the moment is the honesty we need to hear. “THREAT” is also beautifully layered and mixed to Rex’s advantage, as the British singer plays with the octaves of his voice and opts for an autotune-laced chorus. If hyperpop and alternative were to intersect, “THREAT” would be the litmus to its conception.
After cancelling the remainder of his “WHO CARES?” tour due to personal reasons, he triumphantly finished out the concert series in Gunnersbury Park, England on Friday (Aug. 13). Conjuring his largest crowd to date, which toured over 20,000 people, it’s apparent that Rex’s appeal in his home country and in the States has grown to superstar heights.
With less “threats” looming, there’s plenty of success to be had in Rex’s future.
Listen to “THREAT” below!