The new track, “Forgotten Astronaut” by The Rentals is eclectic with an earthy feel. The intro is powerful with a euphoric and hazy sound. The lyrics, “We’re high above the tranquil sea. I take a big deep breath and set the Eagle free. Oh, I know, what I know and I know it’s all up to me. But, I feel what I feel and I feel the history. Over two hundred thousand miles home. If the Eagle fails, I go back alone.”
Inspired by the writing of NASA Astronaut Michael Collins, Matt Sharp’s lyrics are described as an imaginary, inner-conversation the Command Module Pilot of Apollo 11 may have had with himself during the 21 hours Collins spent alone waiting for Aldrin and Armstrong to return safely to their home away from home, the spacecraft Columbia. This second single continues the project’s outer-space theme. The first track by The Rentals was “Spaceship” by this star studded group that includes former Weezer bassist, Matt Sharp, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, the Killers’ Ronnie Vanucci, and super-producer Dave Fridmann.
Sharp says, “I started writing ‘Forgotten Astronaut’, while I was reading ‘Flying To The Moon’ (1976, MacMillan). When friends would ask if I had read anything good recently, I would tell them I was reading about Michael’s extraordinary life and whomever I was talking with would simply ask, Who is Michael Collins?. And then again, when I was previewing early arrangements of the song for friends, I would tell them that lyrics were being sung from Michael’s perspective and they would, without exception, hit me with that exact same question, Who the hell is Michael Collins!?”
The Rentals new double album, Q36 is due out in June 2020 and Sharp says they plan to release a new song from the album every two weeks leading up to the release date. Q36 is the music project’s first album in nearly six years. Their previous album release, Lost in Alphaville featured members of The Black Keys and The Section Quartet as part of the band. Lost in Alphaville was the band’s first project in 15 years, following Seven More Minutes which was released in 1999 and Return of the Rentals, their 1995 debut project.
Sharp elaborated on the music project, “Beyond the music itself, Q36 is my excuse to start experimenting with a diverse group of independent artists and creative communities that I have only recently come to admire. In this moment, I am looking at each of the album’s 16 individual songs as a kind of launch point for all of us to dig a little deeper into the music, go under the surface, to see what may or may not resonate, search for little meaningful connections between us; then blow on whatever spark we find, as we begin to discover and create entirely new things, together.”