Rex Orange County’s new album, Pony, sonically is a solid piece that stays true to the bedroom pop sound that first carried him into stardom. After joining forces to collaborate on Tyler the Creator’s album, Flower Boy, Rex hurried to release new content so those who discovered him had something fresh to hear. Pony, his first work to come out since signing with Sony, seems to be a bleak attempt at trying something new while simultaneously sounding the same as he did when he first exploded onto the scene.
Emotional lyrics paired with heavy keyboard effects such as strings and synths are true to ROC’s style. On his opening track, “10/10” the lyrics explain how he feels as if he isn’t in the right state of mind about himself, or where he is currently in life. “I feel like a 5, I can’t pretend,” gives us brief insight that he looks down on himself and lacks confidence, which is something the majority of people can easily relate to.
Relatable lyrics combined with heavy synths and an intricate drum track gives Pony a jump start out of the gate. Starting off with sad songs and sad lyrics, the album takes a more positive turn about halfway through. It almost feels like a metaphor in itself, fighting through the trials and tribulations one inevitably goes through then finding yourself on the other side with a positive outlook on what lies ahead.
The first half of the album discusses his internal problems such as being away while on tour, having no one to go to when you need someone the most, and the feeling that everyone hates the most: asking for help. However, as goes most things in life, we get through those trials and end up happily sitting on the other side once it is all said and done. This is very apparent on the last half of the album on songs such as ‘Never Had the Balls’ where he speaks on finding his own way out of the dark.
The variation of genres in Pony is worth mentioning, considering it goes from an R&B vibe on some songs to a full orchestral progression on others. His producing partner, Ben Baptie, adds a slew of different sound plug-ins such as 80’s arcade sounding synths, and multiple vocal layers which gives it a wholesome sound that we all have come to expect from Rex’s already raspy and untouched sound.
That being said, it has been noted multiple times that Rex was at the helm of this work, keeping all the creative insight coming from within. As the album comes to a close, the songs sound happier, and it seems he has come to terms within. He has accepted the things that we cannot change, and dug himself out of the dark space that we’ve all found ourselves in at least once. The last song ‘It’s Not the Same Anymore’, ends with the words “It’s not the same anymore..it’s better.” concluding what we already knew; he is in a better place now than he was before.
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