The Rentals’ have released their new single and fuzz-charged, double-album opener Shake Your Diamonds. The viscerally bombastic pop song is a call to arms in class-warfare during a science-fiction clusterf%*k called the last day on earth. Shake’s series of synthetic, sonic explosions never relents from the first downbeat through to the very last. Watch the video clip via YouTube below.
The group’s lyricist and lead vocalist Matt Sharp explains the song’s origins: “I was born into a napalm-soaked world of ultra-violence in the midst of a meaningless war where, between all sides, over one million three-hundred fifty thousand murders took place. That’s where ‘Shake Your Diamonds’ begins.”
Thailand ’69. “I was born in Bangkok, during the Vietnam War,” Sharp continues. “My father worked there from ’66 to 1970. The U.S. Military outsourced the company he was employed by. Uncle Sam even flew over a red Ford Mustang just to sweeten the deal for him. His job, best I can tell, was to interview insurgent prisoners, Vietcong POWs and poverty-stricken villagers who lived in bamboo huts far outside the city center. He was there to gain a better understanding of what really motivated the enemy soldiers to keep on fighting. John Milius and Francis Coppola couldn’t have written it any better, but in my father’s case, it was actually true.
During the late ‘70s and right on through the entire decade of the ‘80s I can remember feeling this utterly naive, but profound sense of envy that my father and mother got to live through such eventful and extraordinarily meaningful times, while all my friends and I got were ‘Family Ties’ and ‘The Cosby Show’. Not that I think my feelings are altogether unique. My guess is that every generation is doomed to feel that somehow they missed out.”
June 23, 2020. Vietnam has reported only 335 coronavirus cases, but the whole rest of the world is a bloody mess and Donald John Trump is our president. White Fragility records its twelth week atop of the New York Times best seller list, “Trollz” by 6ix9ine hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and we are still at the early stages of facing a global pandemic where the grim toll has already reached over 440,000 deaths worldwide, but people are still willing to risk their lives for a table at The Cheesecake Factory.
Before George Floyd, people actually considered Tiger King a universally shared experience, but since Mr. Floyd’s senseless murder, people from all over everywhere have shown us what it means to truly come together. Hopefully that sense of unity will bring far reaching and meaningful change to problematic systems in all corners of the earth. Meanwhile, North Korea’s last nuclear test was in September of 2017 and Paul McCartney is still alive.
Will the next generation look at us and feel they missed out?
In Memory: Richard Gene Sharp (May 22, 1941 – April 4, 2016)
The Rentals’ new double-album Q36 is officially out digitally this Friday. The first run of limited-edition gold vinyl is sold out and will ship the last week of July. A second run, on black vinyl, will arrive later in 2020.