Photo: Alex Waespi
There is nothing more thrilling than waking up to new Rex Orange County. Following a series of singles previewing his highly anticipated album, Pony, the 21-year-old indie hit machine has delivered yet again. After "10/10" and "Pluto Projector" it is evident that Rex Orange County is emphasizing the importance of self-reflection through his favored medium of insightful songwriting.
With all of the expectations rising each day inching towards Pony, Rex Orange County does not let down with the final single, "Face To Face." In an Instagram post, the young star sought to make sure there were no misinterpretations for the track, letting everyone know,
"THIS SONG IS ABOUT BEING AWAY FROM HOME, FEELING TRAPPED IN AN UNDESIRABLE SITUATION & FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO TRUST PEOPLE."
The track begins with a flurry of gorgeous vocal harmonies. Composed of several layers, the song's intro feels like a grand exposition to the rest of the single. Immediately, Rex Orange County transitions to the first verse and puts his masterful talents as a songwriter on full display. Setting the story, Rex delivers, "She calmed me down that night I freaked out," and goes on to deliver a verse that highlights his abilities as a storyteller. This is where Rex Orange County stands out from his peers; his skills as a storyteller allow for him to talk directly to his audience, performing as a close friend would, warm and open.
As the first verse concludes and Rex explains, "Everything makes me want to quit while I'm ahead," we hear the track's chorus for the first time. Over a very smooth bassline and a plucky guitar riff, Rex Orange County reinforces, "I wish I could be with her instead," opposed to the heartbreaking nature of dealing with relationships while away from home. Despite the melancholy nature of the track's theme, the chorus remains bouncy and dancey, especially the second time around.
In a nearly drowned out bridge, Rex Orange County showcases a bit of his most somber and reflective songwriting as he explains, "My world got so much smaller this year." The notion of lost friendships continues to be a theme in Rex Orange County's singles leading up to Pony. At the end of the second and third chorus, Rex yearns, "I miss her like she's my only friend," once again highlighting the juxtaposition between sacrifices in his personal circle and his growth.
In a year where so much changed for Rex Orange County, it is to be expected as he has not only grown as an artist but as a human being as well. While many artists emerging to stardom find themselves in situations like these, it is Rex Orange County's ability to reflect and showcase these emotions of somber growth that make him so very special.
Sadly, like all good things, the track eventually comes to an end. With an echoing of the intro, we hear the same "I grew up you grew down" highlighting the change of individuals in his life, as opposed to himself. Finally, with the same angelic vocal layers of the intro, the song concludes with the simple yet powerful phrase, "I want out."
Pony is set to release on October 25. You can stream "Face To Face" below: