Happy 20th: The Rentals, SEVEN MORE MINUTES
20 years ago this week – if you’re the kind of person who needs to know the specifics, it was actually this past Saturday – The Rentals released their long-awaited sophomore album. Little did their fans know at the time that waiting four years for a new Rentals album would soon feel like a walk in the park… Ah, but that’s a story for another day.
For now, let us talk simply of SEVEN MORE MINUTES, which was produced by the band’s vocalist, bassist, and primary songwriter, Matt Sharp.
In fairness to Sharp and that whole “four years between albums” thing, it must be taken into consideration that when The Rentals released their confusingly-titled 1995 debut album, RETURN OF THE RENTALS, Sharp was still a full-time member of Weezer, who found major success right out of the gate with their self-titled debut album in 1994. While the success of RETURN OF THE RENTALS wasn’t as substantial, the success of its first single, “Friends of P,” definitely qualified the album as a hit, but when Weezer released their sophomore album, PINKERTON, in ’96, Sharp was back in the thick of it with those guys, thereby necessitating that The Rentals remain dormant until his schedule was freed up.
Sharp’s schedule suddenly became extremely wide open in 1998 when he officially quit Weezer, and a trip to Barcelona, Spain that year soon resulted in the writing of a new Rentals album, which was recorded partly in ’98 and partly in ’99.
SEVEN MORE MINUTES was written almost entirely by Sharp, although there’s one co-write on the album: “My Head is in the Sun,” which he penned with his Weezer bandmate, Rivers Cuomo. But while Sharp was mostly a one-man songwriting machine, the album featured a veritable plethora of guest stars, including Damon Albarn (Blur), Petra Haden (that dog.), Miki Berenyl (Lush), Tim Wheeler (Ash), and…Maya Rudolph? Yep, true story: she was actually a member of the band for a time!
Appropriately, SEVEN MORE MINUTES is to The Rentals what PINKERTON was to Weezer: an album that wasn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea at the time of its release but which soon became viewed as a classic. Okay, so maybe it’s not as consistently catchy as RETURN OF THE RENTALS, but it grows on you…and after 20 years, it ought to be fully grown, so give it another listen!
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