The Menzingers – Rented World

The Menzingers are one of the most consistent bands I’ve heard in recent times. While their sound has changed substantially over the four albums they have released since their debut, A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology (2007), the quality of all of their albums has remained about the same. I first got into the Menzingers just after they released On The Impossible Past in 2012 and were coming out to Australia to play with Bad Religion & Strung Out, and I immediately fell in love with the songs “The Obituaries” and “Gates”, the vocals were just so unique, the melody was soft and somewhat poppy, and the entire sound was refreshing as hell; exactly what pop punk seemed to be missing at the time. I fell in love with the band when I heard A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology though, and now that album is by far my favourite, with Chamberlain Waits as a close second.

It was clear before Rented World dropped that it was not going to be anything like “A Lesson […]” or Chamberlain Waits, and that’s okay; the bands sound had changed, On The Impossible past was great in its own right and the band hadn’t played a single song from “A Lesson […]” throughout the 3 shows I’d seem them play with The Smith Street Band just before the album dropped. So I had prepared myself for an album that would be enjoyable, but far from the faster paced punk of the bands early days, and then the albums opens with I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore, and all of my preconceptions go out the window.

The album kicks off with I Don’t Wann Be An Asshole Anymore, a song that is probably louder, faster and more punk than anything off On The Impossible Past. When I first played the album and heard this song I was reminded of the bands early days, it sounds like it’s come straight off Chamberlain Waits. The song is acompanied by one of the coolest music videos I’ve seen in a long time too, it’s definitely worth checking out. The Menzingers are a band that are easy to listen to without paying much attention to the actual lyrics, something I normally pay a lot of attention to; I generally find myself skipping over with this band, which is why the video to I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore is great. The video, somewhat comedically, follows a character based on Jason from the Friday The 13th series in his efforts to impress a girl and overcome his tendencies to kill. I’m not sure the video was meant to be anything more than some comedic fun for the band, but I find that it really adds to the song. After watching the video I feel that I had paid a lot more attention to the meaning behind the song – the difficulties in battling your past, any repuation you have built and even your perceptions of yourself in an effort to become the person you want to be and turn things around.

In Remission is a good represntation of the album and it is fitting that it was the first singlethatwasreleasedfromthealbum.Theopeningwords”Igotawinninglotto ticket from the state of Massachusetts tucked in the back of my wallet, I’ll cash it when back in Boston […]” showcase what Greg is capable of with his vocals and really typifies the sound of the band. The song goes on to show glimpses of the bands ability to play both faster brands of pop punk as well as the slower more melodic form; both of which are evident throughout the entire album. I absolutely love the lyric “I hate how I always get nervous every time I have to speak in front of a big crowd, a pretty girl or the police” probably because I can relate to the exact feeling being described… and thats what makes great pop punk bands, relatability.

I’m not sure exactly what it is about the song Sentimental Physics that I love, but from the first time I heard it I knew it would be my favourite song on the album. It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that it is because I am an athiest and the song is highlighting the contradiction and conflict that will always exist between religion and science with lines like “Jesus and The Scientist will never reconcile this”. But that can’t be the reason, surely, there are no shortage of punk bands that have made effective comments on religion before, even The Simpsons has made reference to the conflict between religion and science; and this song doesn’t even seem to pick a side in the matter. I can’t be sure, but I think the reason I love the song is just that it is extremely well written, musically and lyrically it fits together very well and makes for [in my opinion] the best song on the album.

My Friend Kyle is my least favourite song on the album, and its because I find the chorus incredibly annoying. There is nothing wrong with the song verses, they’re typical of the Menzingers, and great, but the chorus sounds like it should be an Unwritten Law song. This song is the only Menzingers song that I have ever thought sounds like another band, and the first time I think they’ve lost their unique sound.

For me, the album has a great mix of faster songs and slower songs, On The Impossible Past seems to lean a little more on the slower songs, whereas Rented World will hit you with “Transient Love” and then immediately back it up with “The Talk”. This album is not the instant pop punk classic that On The Impossible Past was, but I like it just as much, if not more. Even with their substantial changes in sound between albums, The Menzingers continue to release very, very good music and until they lose either Tom or Greg, or both, their unique vocals will keep them very relevant in a pop punk scene that needs some individuality in it.


Matt Power
18 May 2015

Full Disclosure

Feeling Deflated Sad (when most opinions on the album formed)
Happy (at time of writing)
Drinking Three Oaks Cider (x2)
Recent Listening The Smith Street Band
How I Listened Modern Vinyl (legacy turnable)

The Menzingers Rented World

Artist The Menzingers
Album Rented World
Released 22 Apr 2014
Label Epitaph Records
Tracks 12
Run Time 42 minutes
Genre Pop Punk

The Menzingers Rented World