Saddle Up: Pony is Here

If you have 33 minutes and 56 seconds, you need to saddle up and listen to Pony. 

The 10 song album composed by Alex O’Connor, more widely known as Rex Orange County, is exquisitely simple with gentle melodies and candid lyrics. His utilization of, “bubbly synths, electric piano, programed beats, bells, strings, and bird chirps,” (1) artistically presents his reminiscent accounts of growing up, and strives towards self-improvement. Throughout this project, he simultaneously incorporates the inevitable joys and stresses resulting from his musical journey. With sprinkles of heartbreak and happiness, listeners can empathize with Rex’s vulnerability, and draw parallels to his lyrics in their own lives (see The Lyric).

At a first glance, fans will note their familiarity with the album’s three singles: 10/10, Face to Face, and Pluto Projector, all of which have been periodically released since September. Between the remaining seven songs, the next observation may be the length of the album’s tracks. There are four songs that are under three minutes long (10/10, Laser Lights, Stressed Out, Every Way), with the final track at a whopping 6 minutes and 26 seconds (It’s Not the Same Anymore). Playing on these different durations, Rex is able to combine the easy beats of his shorter songs with full string orchestras in the lengthier ones in order to create a complete album with diversified strengths.

Listening to the album in more depth, it’s the variations in attitude and tone that occur throughout the project that prove to be significant. The majority of these recurrent feelings arise from distrust and regretful reminiscence. Despite this, Rex combats his low spirits with utter positivity, as seen most noticeably on 10/10, Always, and It’s Not the Same Anymore. His ability to discuss his flaws and sorrows without submitting to a lesser version of himself is absolutely admirable. This is a large part of what makes this album not only relatable, but ultimately enjoyable. 

Many of these themes are conveyed on the album’s cover. Here, Rex is shown in a classic white t-shirt in front of a plain white background, exemplifying the simplicity and originality of the project. It’s also important to notice that Rex is looking upwards on the cover, illustrating his positive and forward outlook. 

Let’s take a look at the three tracks that best capture Rex’s storytelling and lyrical abilities, with consideration to the production of the tune, and the overall melodic quality of the piece. Then, without disregarding the rest of the album, we’ll look at the prime times to optimally appreciate his other masterpieces. 

Track 10: It’s Not the Same Anymore

The Story: Rex is growing up, and his musical career is beginning to gain traction. Torn between what he’s grown used to and what’s next to come, Rex uses It’s Not the Same Anymore to beautifully address this transition, and how his life changes have prompted his individual growth.

The Lyric: "My life was simple before / I should be happy, of course / But things just got much harder"

Reason to Love It: 4 minutes and 9 seconds. This orchestral interlude is nothing short of euphonious, fueling the phrase “music to my ears.” 

 

Track 7: Pluto Projector

The Story: Here, Rex manifests both reflection and forward thinking. He questions the high standards he holds for himself before open heartedly discussing his aspirations to maintain a long term relationship. Not only does Rex want to be the best for himself, but he wants for that to be enough for someone else as well. 

The Lyric: "I'm still a boy inside my thoughts / Am I meant to understand my faults?"

Reason to Love It: 1 minute and 46 seconds. Rex implements a few seconds of silence to amplify the chorus, making the track all the more outstanding. 

 

Track 2: Always

The Story: Rex is going through some personal struggles, and is having trouble coming to terms with the fact that these difficulties are shaping him into a different person. Even when he can’t recognize himself, his significant other stays by his side and and gives him the time and support to adjust to himself.   

The Lyric: "But until somebody sits me down / And tells me that I’m different now / I’ll always be the way I always am."

Reason to Love It: 2 minutes and 56 seconds. This energetic outro is the equivalent to a stunning sunset to wrap up an already spectacular day. 

And as for the other sensational songs? Here’s when to tune in. 

Track 1: 10/10 when you’re feeling like a 5/10 and need a quick motivational boost. 

Track 3: Laser Lights when you need to get in touch with yourself. 

Track 4: Face to Face when you’re missing your closest friends or a special someone. 

Track 5: Stressed Out when you feel used by others. 

Track 6: Never Had The Balls when you want to dance around your room and bop to the fact that you’re fearful of telling your crush how you feel. 

Track 8: Every Way when you’re feeling grateful for the best people in your life. 

Track 9: It Gets Better when you’re feeling content with a relationship. 

On that note, I hope you have your earbuds nearby, or maybe even a speaker. It’s time to gallop into Pony and take advantage of this 10/10 album. 

 

(1) Gaca, Anna. “Rex Orange County: Pony.” Pitchfork, Pitchfork, 25 Oct. 2019, pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/rex-orange-county-pony/.

All images are curtosey of the author