"I could have made you mine. But no, it wasn't meant to be and see, I wasn't made for you and you weren't made for me... I'm on my own sh*t now. Let me tell you how it feels to be f**king great. I feel great," Rex Orange County laments on his latest Zane Lowe-premiered #ROCKMUSICFOREVER second single, "BEST FRIEND." Rex Orange County is the recently adopted alter-ego of Alex O'Connor, a self-loathing 18-year-old "bedroom" musician hailing from the outskirts of London in Haslemere, Surrey. "Being in a picturesque, but culturally void town didn't stop him from admiring fellow do-it-yourself producers Thundercat and Toro Y Moi, or falling in love with Frank Ocean's Channel ORANGE; "if I could do anything close to that musically, then that's it," O'Connor beamed within a recent press release. I would best compare Rex Orange County's unique half-sung half-rapped style to "Loser"-era Beck, fellow genre-melding London upstart King Krule, Kid Cudi, or even equally self-loathing 808's & Heartbreak-era Kanye.
"BEST FRIEND," however, is a bit more upbeat, jangly affair when compared against Rex's previous works—November released "UNO" and 2015 mixtape bcos u will never b free. It almost evokes the same kind of Jamaican Ska, Reggae, and Hip-Hop-leaning vibe as Lily Allen's Mark Ronson-produced debut, Alright, Still (2006). I'm thinking maybe it's the "dreamy guitar licks and elevator [music] pulled into a frenzied brass outro" that kicks in right around the 3-minute mark, which likens itself to Ronson's commonly used The Dap-Kings-assisted horn fills and 2 Tone Ska-leaning back beats. Nothing has yet been 100% confirmed, but it appears as though Rex Orange County is currently gearing up to release his full-length follow-up to bcos u will never b free, which would likely feature both "UNO" and "BEST FRIEND." Friday morning, following "BEST FRIEND"'s Wednesday Jan. 25th release, @rexorangecounty teased "ANNOUNCEMENTS IN ONE HOUR !!," which ended up being two upcoming shows: "a special evening with..." Rex Orange County at Peckham Liberal Club in London on May 11th and the second, just a week later at Brooklyn's Sunnyvale on May 18th. Rex's Facebook page additionally teased that there will be more "big announcements at 3pm" (London time?) Friday, Jan. 27th, so stay tuned, chaps!