The Rentals - Seven More Minutes
The new Rentals CD, Seven More Minutes, sounds more like Blur than Blur's
latest CD. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that Blur is
a pretty good band, and if the Rentals were British, I'd say that they were
heirs to the Britpop throne. Bad in that the first Rentals CD sounded like
nothing else I'd heard and this album is a slight mimicry of Blur. In any
case, Blur is an excellent band and since their new album, 13, saw them
move away from their past work, it's good that Matt Sharp and the Rentals
are here to carry on the tradition.
Seven More Minutes, which, to some, might sound like an in-joke about the
band's time left on Warhol's "15 minutes" scale (like Sugar Ray's awful
"14:59"), is actually a reference to the snooze button on an alarm clock:
"The alarm keeps going off...and you keep hitting the snooze. '7 more
minutes please. Seven more minutes," writes Sharp in the album's liner
notes. To understand how he could come up with this title (it's more than
just the average person's desire to sleep in) one must first understand how
this album came to be.
In the nearly four years since the Rentals debut album was released, Sharp
has quit his full-time band Weezer to focus more on the Rentals. In 1997,
Sharp set off for Europe to get inspiration for his songs. He carried a
tape recorder with him and recorded song ideas in bathroom stalls, back
alleys and cabs across Europe. The lyrics are a familiar tale to anyone who
has ever spent time in Europe partying.
In the album's opener and first single, "Getting By," Sharp sings, "We
don't really care about much / ... / We drink on ... / and get by," which
is a pretty obvious throwback to clubbing and the people one meets at raves
and bars. The overnight friendships with people you'll never meet again.
The majority of the rest of the album's lyrics tell tales of drinking,
smoking, sex, and of course, partying.
Going back to the Blur comparison, it should be noted that Damon Albarn and
other Britpop luminaries help Sharp out on this album, which comes across
like a Blur album with moog synthesizers. You've got poppy guitar licks,
ballads, faux-British accents, and a punked-out song which have caused my
room mate to ask me, "Is this Blur?" When I told him it wasn't, and popped
in the new Blur CD, he agreed with my comparison.
The first time I listened to Seven More Minutes, I wasn't too sure that I
liked it. But after hearing the bounce-around-the-room poppiness of
"Getting By" and "Barcelona," I can't say anything too disparaging about
this album. At almost an hour in length, the album does drag at times (most
notably during the slow "Say Goodbye Forever," "Overlee"). At other times,
the Rentals tread new water with mixed results. The rap in "Big Daddy C" is
slightly annoying, but one can't help but laugh when they sing, "Who the
Hell is P. anyway?" "Insomnia" is a perfect punk song, complete with the
woo-hoos that gave Blur a smash hit a few years back. The minute-long
reprise of "It's Alright" serves little purpose other than to slow the
album down for the final tracks.
All in all, the new Rentals CD is a much more mature album than its
predecessor. The band has diversified, and although they sound much more
like Blur than Blur does these days, that's a good thing. Fans of the
Rentals and Blur should pick this album up. Hopefully now that Matt Sharp
is doing the Rentals full-time these days, Seven More Minutes will get the
band a larger following and bring them the success they deserve.
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