Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Rentals - "Friends of P" (forgotten song)

"Friends of P" was a huge hit in the mid 1990s and shortly after that The Rentals pretty much disappeared. This was the first single of their 1995 debut LP "Return of The Rentals". You are probably asking yourself "why do they sound so much like Weezer?" One reason is because The Rentals were a side project involving Weezer bassist Matt Sharp and drummer Patrick Wilson and this LP was recorded in between the first Weezer LP and their 2nd LP, Pinkerton. Matt Sharp left Weezer after Pinkerton but Patrick Wilson continued on with Weezer instead of The Rentals.

The other reason why it sounds so similar is because Ric Ocasek produced both the first Weezer LP and Return of the Rentals. In fact, the addition of female singers and keyboards places The Rentals more in line with the pop sound of The Cars than Weezer's more garage rock sound. The other thing that Ocasek brings to this song is his wife, Paulina Porizkova -- the "P" in "Friends of P". The story goes that Porizkova, an avid palm reader, was lamenting that "nobody cool was writing songs about her now". So apparently Sharp stepped up and wrote this enjoyable and quirky tribute to her.

After several line up changes and a hiatus, The Rentals are active again. I should search out their new material to give it a listen. Until then, revisiting their hit single will have to do.

Links: MTV, YouTube, YouTube. The first YouTube video is a live version on a French TV show (ca. 95-96) and I believe that is Maya Rudolph on keyboards (she toured with the band but did not record or appear in the studio video). The video does not appear to have either Rachel Haden or Petra Haden. The second YouTube version is fan video featuring the lyrics.

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