Pony by Rex Orange County album review

Pony was released on October 25. The album features 10 songs-- each song about one part of Rex’s life. (Photo courtesy of John Thornton)

Pony is Rex Orange County’s latest album which he promoted a lot over social media since September. Some songs have a 1980s vibe; the never-ending loops of synth subtly keeps the music of 1980s alive. 

Throughout Pony, Rex sings about his own arrogance, inaccuracy and insight. This album is about a tragic hero who hopes for things to get better. 


“10/10” takes advantage of the music technology that we have today; it is mainly produced using a program rather than real people playing their own instruments. The repeated music throughout the song conveys Rex’s routine, which might not change as well. There isn’t much variety when it comes to the background music. Nevertheless, it is a good start for new listeners of the album. 

“10/10” is the first single that Rex released for Pony. 10/10” is about Rex’s want to be the best anyone can be: A ten. Over the years, Rex has categorized himself as a five. Rex speaks about his goals and everything he has already accomplished. By the speed of the song, Rex is optimistic about the rest of his life and he knows he’ll succeed because of what he’s been through. “Maybe I’ll be a ten… no control over my emotions,” gives us an introduction to our new tragic hero. 


Always” mixes jazz with a little bit of 1980s music. The instruments in “Always” build up until the chorus, which emphasizes the general message of the song– “Always” shows Rex’s slow process to move on. 

“Always” takes a different turn from “10/10”. Instead of singing about the optimistic future, Rex sings about the difficulty it is to move on. After the chorus passes, Rex “learns” that he’s different now and he can’t change that. It seems like “Always” is a part of a tragic hero story. The scream at the beginning of the song signifies Rex’s mistake– or his downfall. 

Laser Lights

“Laser Lights” is a continuation of “Always”’s jazz theme, as well as specifies upon what holds him back. This song starts with soft piano and eventually crescendos into an ensemble with jazz solos that matches with Rex’s voice. 

Rex says “I’m losing my speed” many times throughout the song, which is referencing his opinion of himself. Rex hates the communication part of having friends and wants to “avoid the ‘What’s up-up-up?’” and he is careful when he is doing something that requires a partner. “Dancing by myself, I still take my shoes off” means that Rex is careful when he is doing something, regardless of whether or not someone else is in the room. 

Face to Face

“Face to Face” brings in some new instruments, like guitar, while still keeping the ensemble effect that many songs in Pony has. The song mainly focuses on soft instruments that stand out in a way that soothes and reassures the listener that Rex misses his home and being away puts a more brokenhearted feeling in his mind. 

On an Instagram post, Rex wrote “[Face to Face] IS ABOUT BEING AWAY FROM HOME… & FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO TRUST PEOPLE” Rex sings “She wakes up, we face-to-face from the bed. I wish I could be with her instead.” Rex cannot be with his girlfriend Thea because he is away from home, but they have to make-do with facetiming so that they can keep in touch.

Stressed Out

Throughout “Stressed Out”, Rex is supported by a high pitched voice singing the same lyrics as him, this voice represents the people that support him, or the people that won’t take control. The second half of the song puts more emphasis on the duality of piano and percussion: the piano being soft and out of the way and the percussion, however, is loud and disturbing. 

“Stressed Out” is about the people that take advantage of Rex. The song starts out with a yawn, setting the warnful tone of the song. Rex wants his listeners to know that if you have something, don’t let people walk over you to get it. “They wanna go for dinner on your name, I let them take control and take me for a fool.” Rex warns his audience and gives an example of what could happen if people could walk over him. Rex learns his mistake and wants other people to do the same, representing another tragic hero quality. 

Never Had The Balls

“Never Had The Balls” has one of the best lead-ups to a melody in Pony. The vibe here is more 1980s than jazz, like “Always” and “Laser Lights”. Most people will want a lead-up to a bass-drop, but Rex’s smooth transitions in “Never Had The Balls” leave listeners satisfied with the different vibe this song puts across. 

Rex sings “But I never thought that I’d wanna call it quits in my whole life” meaning that as you grow up, things change and sometimes that change is inevitable. “Never Had The Balls” connects to “Stressed Out” when Rex sings “I shouldn’t waste my precious time on anybody living off of mine,” but as a human, Rex gets carried away and gives people more attention than they need. 

Pluto Projector

“Pluto Projector” is one of the slower songs of Pony and features string instruments, piano, a vocalist group and snare hits that express Rex’s love for his girlfriend. 

“Pluto Projector” is the second single for Pony which Rex released on the 17 of October. Rex refers to his relationship with his girlfriend as a show and that “the show will never end.” and he hopes that “the encore lasts forever.” 

Every Way

“Every Way” is less subtle about the love that Rex feels for his partner. This song only features a piano solo and a subtle pipe organ solo to emphasize that this song is about Rex’s feelings alone. 

“Every Way” is to be taken more as a lesson to himself and everyone around him that relationships take work and love works in different ways. “I care about you, in every way I can” means that Rex takes love seriously, and he can’t imagine his life without Thea. 

It Gets Better 

“It Gets Better” is one of the best songs on this album with the speedy orchestral feeling, synth notes, and use of different instruments. “It Gets Better” is like a marathon. The beginning is really strong and speedy, while around the middle the runner slows down to get back some energy, and the end is a perfect finish with tremendous feelings. The end of the song involves a lot of parts to digest and almost ends on a cliffhanger. The song ends with an orchestra of musical instruments, so listeners have to imply that not everything has to be told in the song. 

“True, 2015, you were fallin’ for me… Four years later, look where we really are.” “It Gets Better” was written for Rex and Thea’s four year anniversary in hopes that their relationship will get even stronger as the years go on. “‘Cause she changed the world I know,” Rex sings this many times throughout the song because love is the only world that Rex is aware of. 

It’s Not The Same Anymore

“It’s Not The Same Anymore” repeats the same rhythms until about the two-minute mark, where many instruments crescendo to the second singing of the chorus. The transitions in this song are smooth, but the hype is not as big as “It Gets Better”. “It’s Not The Same Anymore” is worthy of being in an orchestra concert with its many solos, changes and variety of instruments. 

“It’s Not The Same Anymore” is about Rex’s life before and after things got complex– and to emphasize this more, this song is the longest in Pony. “My life was simple before… But things just got much harder.” Rex should be happy because of everything that he has gained in his career, but the events that Rex describes in “Stressed Out” and “Never Had The Balls” has affected him in ways that have changed his life. 

Rex Orange County’s Pony is Rex’s way of sticking his neck out, telling people how he really feels, and trying something new in music that he’s never tried before.


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