Weezerpedia:Featured article February 2024

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Featured article: Return of the Rentals


The Rentals Return of The Rentals.jpg

Return of the Rentals is the debut album by The Rentals, released on October 24, 1995, through Maverick Records. In addition to band frontman Matt Sharp, the band lineup consisted of Weezer drummer Pat Wilson on drums, Cherielynn Westrich on vocals, Petra Haden on viola and vocals, Rod Cervera on guitar, and Tom Grimley on Moog synthesizer.

Songwriting for ROTR began as early as 1993. Sharp collaborated on a song with Rivers Cuomo titled "Mrs. Young" in May of that year with the initial idea of releasing it as a Weezer song. When this fell through, Sharp reworked it into "Please Let That Be You" and continued developing a number of other demos, including "Friends of P," "California," and "Stupid Girl." After the release of Weezer's first self titled release in 1994, Sharp gathered an informal group of friends to record some of his songs at Poop Alley Studios, without a clearly-defined goal of forming a band. Producer and studio owner Tom Grimley initially dubbed the project "That's Incredible!" This group recorded two distinct demo tapes at Poop Alley, one of which became Return of the Rentals and the other not materializing until 2005 as the demo compilation For the Ladies.

The synthesizer parts played on ROTR were a late addition in the production process. Cuomo claimed in 2002 that the heavy use of moogs on the record discouraged him from pursuing the Songs from the Black Hole project, which would have also incorporated sci-fi themes and synthesized instrumentation.

The music video for "Friends of P" received heavy airplay on MTV, considerably lifting the Rentals' profile before they had even solidified a steady lineup. It portrays the band in black-and-white in a vaguely Eastern-European setting, with the song's lyrics subtitled in Russian. According to Sharp, the idea for this elaborate backstory came from a desire to separate the project from Weezer, "mak[ing] it so we weren't even from this country and I didn't have anything to do with anything from America at all."

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