Every so often, a song comes along out of nowhere and totally makes your week. It’s the primary reason we still have this website after ten years; sometimes you just need to take a great three minute pop song and shout its praises from the rooftops. Sure, you can post it to social media but nobody wants a short essay in their feed when they can just press play and find out for themselves. It’s easy to mark ‘Loving Is Easy’ as a throwaway pop jam if you didn’t know how accomplished its main writer actually was. Rex Orange County is the nom de plume of Alex O’Connor, an exceptionally talented 19-year-old out of London that we’ve covered here before. He’s one of the rare recipients of a double mention in the same calendar year (a feat accomplished back in 2015 by Gang Of Youths) and would probably have netted a third if you count his standout features on the recent Tyler, The Creator record. Put simply, the kid is having a moment and we’re all just here enjoying the afterglow.
O’Connor specialises in wearing his heart on his sleeve like it’s his favourite T-shirt, but he’s also an expert at making great melodies sound simple. Take ‘Loving Is Easy’, which washes through in the warm sepia like it’s been lifted straight from the ’70s songbook but comes with his token millennial twist. ‘Loving is easy/You had me fucked up/It used to be so hard to see’ he croons over a perfect piano line like every great pop artist used to write from the gutter. His real stroke of genius here is enlisting the chops of Dutch artist Benny Sings. Someone important introduced me to Sings earlier this year, and I initially wrote him off as a joke. He was almost too kitsch, with entire records chock full of glockenspiel-tinged ballads that sounded like they belonged in the credits of rom-coms. I was wrong about him, obviously, and many of his older songs, like ‘Let Me In’ became my new favourites. I’ve realised this month that I’m often wrong about a lot of things, but thankfully there’s always a good song around the corner. O’Connor and Benny come together perfectly to harmonise the chorus of ‘Loving Is Easy’ in a move that will almost certainly see them tagged as a noughties Hall & Oates.
‘Loving Is Easy’ has such a breeziness to it that you’d think it was tossed off in an afternoon. Given the combined talent of its creators, it’s entirely possible. But that belies the craft that’s gone into it, from the extra keyboard parts to the strings and the way it’s produced. These things don’t happen by accident. They’re also producing quality music for a generation largely starved of it, and if the comments on the pair’s charming YouTube clip are anything to go by, it’s having a resoundingly positive effect. So if you’re feeling hard done by, or perhaps if someone’s done you wrong, here, my friends of the Internet, is your song of the week.