The Rentals release their new single and ‘50s science fiction-inspired music video “INFORMATION (And The Island In The Sky).” The 13th release from the group’s upcoming 16-track majestic double album Q36, shows that Matt Sharp & company have saved some of their best and most universal music for the final four singles of The Rentals’ outer space opus.
“INFORMATION” starts with an ethereal exploration of our incessant connectivity and the stress that technological anxiety induces on modern human society. Then, the song unexpectedly shifts gears, exploding into a visceral snarl, bellowing out a primal desire to take refuge in another star system’s faraway sanctuary.
Without the urging of Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, “INFORMATION” might have never seen the light of day, or the darkness of space, for that matter. Matt Sharp, the group’s founding member and musical director, explains, “When Nick and I started collaborating on Q36, I had only two rules that I wanted us to abide by. The first was that all of the music that we were going to work on needed to be bound together by the common themes of science fiction and outer space. The second rule was that it was 100% his responsibility to choose which songs we worked on. I knew that his artistic leanings often made him favor either more abstract or aggressive music and I wanted to be sure whatever we were creating together would be something that he could feel connected to naturally.”
Sharp continues, explaining the origins of the song: “’INFORMATION’ started out in the tradition of songs like ‘Apeman’ by The Kinks. It was a simple plea to start a new, less complicated life in the jungle. I had played Nick all of my 25 to 30 science fiction-based song ideas, but he still wasn’t sure we had what we needed to complete sides C and D of the record, so I played him 25 more songs that took place on Earth. When he heard ‘INFORMATION’, he said, ‘You need to find a way to put that song in outer space, because one way or another it needs to be on the album.’ So, I left the idea of Tarzan and Cheeta behind and started looking for a cosmic chimpanzee.”
Whether it’s here on Earth or somewhere far off in the stars, every one of us can relate to the anxiety that comes with being plugged directly into the matrix, 24 hours a day. The desire to escape its forceful grip and live a less connected existence is one of the most universal desires of modern life. Who knows the toll our machines take on our individual and collective mental health. The separation anxiety we all feel when we’ve misplaced our phones for a few minutes is certainly not a great sign. The relief we feel when we break the chains and make an active choice to log out and go off the grid for just a moment or two is equally as powerful. What is the balance we should all strive for? The Rentals’ “INFORMATION (And The Island In The Sky)” does not pretend to have the answers, but it does attempt to provide a diving board for us to jump headfirst into these questions.
MATT SHARP (The Rentals) VOCALS, SYNTHS + ACOUSTIC GUITARS
NICK ZINNER (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) ELECTRIC GUITARS
RONNIE VANNUCCI (The Killers) DRUMS + PERCUSSION
THE GENTLE ASSASSINS (11 Guest Vocalists) CHOIR
DAVE FRIDMANN (Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) MIXING ENGINEER
RYAN SMITH (Sterling Sound) MASTERING ENGINEER