Thursday, December 31, 2015

Single Review: "The Early 2000s" by The Rentiers

Title:  The Early 2000s (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, SoundCloud)
Artist:  The Rentiers (Official, BandCamp, SoundCloud)

The Rentiers' close out 2015 with one last release (their fourth this year), the single "The Early 2000s."  The song debuted on Brooklyn Vegan earlier this month and is a synth pop punk masterpiece.  According to Rentiers' mastermind Joel Tannenbaum the song is "a tribute to a type of music that existed for a pretty brief time in the early 2000s," explaining --
 In the larger (and longer lasting) genre of indie/twee pop music, there was a subset of bands who wrote indie pop songs and arranged them with a mixture of traditional guitar/bass/drums but added a lot analog synths and sequenced melodies and beats. None of the bands got big. Some names are Figurine (which later branched off into the Postal Service), Barcelona, The Busy Signals, Sukpatch, Winterbrief, Fosca and Baxendale, to name a few. The whole thing faded out quickly and kind of got paved over by the whole electroclash movement. I thought it deserved a tribute; that's what the song is about, although it's about other stuff as well. 
As is with anything Tannenbaum writes, the song is catchy as all hell with lyrics that are clever and never just straight forward in their storytelling.
In the early 2000s you were over punk
But still suspicious of quote-unquote indie stuff
So you settled on mod, it was good enough
Good enough for the early 2000s
In the early 2000s you were living alone
In a very strange city, In a very strange country
Less interested then in what might have been
Than what might be in the early 2000s
And what comes next is never quite what you'd expect
In the early 2000s you were listening in
On Arabic, French and Italian
The Manu Chao song that drew everyone in
To the room in the early 2000s
In the early 2000s things kept blowing up
Much moreso than you remembered, growing up
It made your problems seem small, not like problems at all
Getting real in the early 2000s
And what comes next is never quite what you'd expect
Where the lyrics truly excel is in the final two verses.  In the first, there is a subtle reference to the changing dynamics of national and global politics that started to take place in late 2001.
In the early 2000s something subtle had changed
Some small part of the world had been rearranged
You couldn't quite place it, but something seemed strange
Kind of strange in the early 2000s
While the final verse moves into more personal territory hitting on the loneliness of growing up, especially when you realize that you're not really like most folks out there.
In the early 2000s you were all alone
Everyone from your old life was moving on
But you'd been away just a little too long
To ever ever really fit in at home 
"The Early 2000s" was produced by Jesse Miller of Lotus, a fellow citizen of Philadelphia, PA who just so happened to live in the same area Tannenbaum's former band Ex Friends held band practice.  The lineup is once again rounded out by the wonderful vocal stylings of Anika Pyle (of Chumped and Katie Ellen) and Mikey Erg on drums.

For a band that just started this year, The Rentiers have come a long way and become one of my personal favorites.  To date, everything this group has released has been great and "The Early 2000s" is no different.  The mixture of big crunching guitar riffs and dance inducing synthesizers at times reminded me of The Epoxies and at other times of early '90s acts like Jesus Jones and EMF, neither of which is what this song was actually paying homage to but shows the beauty of how great music transcends and can say different things to different people.  And whether you come to this as a fan of that indie/twee pop of the early 2000s, Tannenbaum's other projects, The Rentiers' previous releases, or out of the blue, the end result should always be the same.  This is a song to be loved, blared, and danced to all night long.

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