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The Classics: ‘Return of the Rentals’


A decade had passed since Revenge of the Nerds, and popular conceptions of awkward enthusiasts had evolved to the point where Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” video could put four cardigan-wearing squares at the top of the charts. Bassist Matt Sharp took a detour from Weezer in 1995 with a side project called The Rentals. Their debut album was a humbly crafted chunk of anachronistic purity called The Return of the Rentals — while it wasn’t as hugely successful as Weezer’s debut, it set the tone for two decades of destroying what we thought nerd-cool could and couldn’t mean. The MTV Yearbook from 1995 is a wash of over-saturated hip-hop / RB and alternative videos — where directors for The Goo Goo Dolls, TLC, and Alanis Morissette all seemed hellbent on maxing out the color palette, The Rentals’ “Friends of P” stood on its own in understated black and white.

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