Urban Outfitters, two o’clock in the afternoon. You’re seventeen years old, rocking your vintage yarn sweater, dirty docs, listening to Lana Del Rey’s Cinnamon Girl. After a few minutes of walking around with no purpose, you end up in the awkward vinyl record corner where you see him. A white boy in cuffed jeans and Nike 97’s. He looks you straight in the eyes and says: “I can’t wait to be your number one, I’ll be your biggest fan and you’ll be mine, but I still wanna break your heart and make you cry.” Bang! You’re wet!
Rex Orange County, photo by Alexandra Waespi
Rex Orange County is known to his parents as Alexander, to his friends as Alex, and to all the alternative teens as “OMG, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH”. Alex was born in 1998. Even though he’s two years younger than me, he played Glastonbury one time more than I did. He’s talented, funny and handsome. He writes about love and other issues known to the customers of a popular clothing retailer.
Alex makes music, pretty smart stuff to be honest(it sells) and well produced too. No, he’s not a band, he’s a solo artist. Giving yourself a band-sounding name? It’s nothing new in the alternative pop/rock universe. We all know Marina and The Diamonds(well, not anymore, duh) or Christine and the Queens… But is Rex Orange County similar to them in any way?
Alex’s music can be described simply as indie-pop, or by using more confusing terms such as bedroom-pop or blue-eyed soul. Explaining the nature of his work seemed like too much of a challenge, so I decided to have a nosy look on twitter instead – just to see what others think. We all know twitter – the place where despite having a few hundred followers, your tweets end up being picked up by only one or two of your dearest friends(stalkers) which means you can often find yourself writing honest shit you would never ever post anywhere else. Here’s what I managed to find:
“whenever i listen to Loving is Easy by Rex Orange County i get chills all over since my bf dedicated it to me before we even met in person and i had never heard anything so sweet & perfect”
“this time 2 years ago i was wearing my forever 21 striped turtlenecks and mom jeans + listening to rex orange county n feeling like the baddest bitch”
“not advising to listen to rex orange county when sad, single AND still heartbroken”
“i swear if any white dude w cuffed jeans and vans came up to me and said he’s rex orange county i would believe him”
“Can’t believe I saw @rexorangecounty on Thekla like a year and a bit ago and now he’s about to sell out Brixton mad”
“i spent $85 on a rex orange county hoodie and i couldnt be happier with my purchase”
Red Orange County’s last album “Apricot Princess” (2017) peaked at number 12 of UK Vinyl Chart. Its regular release peaked at number 96, which again tells us quite a lot about the target audience of Alex’s music. As a huge Lana Del Rey fan, a deep sadcore shit and a lover of self-deprecating lyrics in happy songs, I can recommend Rex Orange County to everyone who’s curious what Taylor Swift would have been like if she was born as an English boy in Hampshire and went to BRIT School. Just imagine Taylor being the one she sings about in her 2019 viral song London Boy…
Rex Orange County’s new album Pony is out on 25 October.