Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
Earlier this month, popular indie artist Alexander O’Connor, better known as his stage name, Rex Orange County was charged with six counts of sexual assault. The shocking news about the singer has left fans with unanswered questions and indescribable feelings. Audiences around the world have been scrambling to find more information about the situation, as well as other artists to support instead.
During this time, the general public has been trying to get a better understanding of who Rex Orange County is, and what made this news as shocking as it was.
The person behind Rex Orange County
Alexander O’Connor, famously known as Rex Orange County, is an indie singer/songwriter from the United Kingdom. The multi-instrumentalist released his first full-length album, “Bcos U Will Never B Free,” at the age of 16. The project showed O’Connor’s ability to creatively blend genres together, and showcased his “nice guy” image. A track off of the record titled “Corduroy Dreams” gained him a notable amount of traction, and his career started to take off instantaneously.
The following year, 2017, O’Connor released his second album “Apricot Princess”. The album received critical acclaim, as well as positive recognition from a wider audience. The album spawned some of his most successful songs, including “Television/So Far So Good” and “Happiness”. Later in the year, Rex Orange County was featured on Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy-nominated project “Flower Boy”. He made appearances on two album tracks, “Foreword” and “Boredom,” which grabbed the attention of multiple record labels.
Soon after, O’Connor released his studio albums “Pony” and “WHO CARES?” under Sony Music Entertainment. His 2019 record, “Pony,” took on a more experimental sound, generating mixed opinions on the body of work as a whole. As time went on, the album produced beloved tracks like “Pluto Projector” and “Always”. The highly anticipated follow up album “WHO CARES?” garnered a lot of attention prior to its release, since it centered around his breakup with his girlfriend of 5 years Thea Morgan-Murrell. Both albums went on to debut in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart.
With four successful albums and numerous hit singles under his belt, Rex Orange County’s career seemed like it would only head upward.
Turning away from his “nice guy” image
O’Connor released a statement on Twitter earlier this year, announcing that he had to cancel the rest of his tour. Due to “unforeseen personal circumstances,” the singer and his team were now responsible for refunding audiences throughout Europe and Australia.
Early in October of 2022, O’Connor was charged with six counts of sexual assault over the span of two days. The victim claims that she was assaulted by him two times in London’s West End, three times in O’Connor’s Notting Hill home, and once in a taxi. Throughout the current span of the case, he has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He has shown surprise by the allegations, and hopes to properly clear his name in court.
The next step for listeners
During this time, fans have been wondering how they can support the victim, and distance themselves from Rex Orange County’s music. Audiences do not want to give him any more time or money. Although O’Connor is a one of a kind artist, there are other musicians to support that have a very similar sound.
Indie band Boy Pablo has a catalog full of atmospheric and vibrant sounding tracks. After the release of their music video for a track titled “Everytime,” the group garnered a massive amount of traction. Since the success of their breakout single, Boy Pablo has continued to prove their staying power in the indie rock scene. Tracks like “Sick Feeling” and “Dance, Baby!” showcase their ability to create upbeat and energetic music. The band is also capable of captivating audiences with gut wrenching songs like “people” and “rest up”. Boy Pablo does not have any known behaviors that are harmful or problematic, which gives listeners a new way to support the victim in Rex’s case.
With music full of electric pianos and live instruments, indie artist Charlie Burg creates fresh music that has a timeless appeal to each song. After his track “I Don’t Wanna Be Okay Without You” went viral on TikTok a few years ago, Burg started to gain a notable following. The singer has released five projects within the past 10 years, and has stayed consistent with each record. Tracks like “June” and “Busbeat,” Burg show that he was not afraid to mix current and past elements of music together. Fun and light songs like “Chicago (Take It Or Leave It)” and “Blue Wave Blues” have a retro feel that creates the inescapable urge of head bobbing along. With an unproblematic background, listeners receive closure that they can listen to a different artist with a similar sound to O’Connor’s.
Indie pop artist Remi Wolf is one of the most interesting artists to come out of the 2020’s decade so far. From her over the top theatrics to her attention grabbing singing voice, Wolf has been on an upward trajectory throughout the past few years. Her upbeat sound and out of the box songwriting has garnered her catalog a lot of attention. Tracks like “Sexy Villain” and “Disco Man” display Wolf’s ability to show her personality on top of a groovy bassline. Wolf has not made waves for any negative reasons, and continues to prove herself as a positive force to be reckoned with in music.
In light of the recent news about Rex Orange County, fans have started to distance themselves from the indie musician. Audiences have been looking for ways to support the victim of the case, instead of tolerating O’Connor’s actions. Luckily, musicians with a similar sound are there to provide the public with fresh music.
Hi, my name is Payton Barry. I am a senior at OHS, and this is my first year being a part of the staff at 42Fifty. I am involved in some of our school's extracurricular activities, which include Commotion and Theater. I adore music, pop culture, and I am beyond excited to be an Arts & Entertainment editor!