Although the process of growing up can be hard, the real challenge comes afterwards, when we're left to figure out how to live in a world without a safety net. It's this idea that the Menzingers explore on their fourth album, Rented World. If their previous effort, 2012's On the Impossible Past, was about getting to maturity, Rented World is an album about dealing with a world where your actions have lasting consequences. Refining their brand of earnest, rust belt punk rock, the Menzingers dive headfirst into self-awareness with the album's opening track, "I Don't Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore," a ripping start to the album that tackles that moment in life when you realize you can't move forward because you're spending too much time apologizing for yourself. Deeper into the album, "Where Your Heartache Exists" plaintively examines the process of watching someone else move on and realizing that they might just be better off without you. Songs like these speak to the idea of accepting the fact that doing what you want and doing what is right are often two very different things, and when it comes to finding happiness with another person, the path toward the former often leads directly away from the latter. While there isn't much separating Rented World from the Menzingers' sophomore effort musically, there's a contemplative aura surrounding the songs that shows all of the hallmarks of a band growing into more nuanced and capable songwriters, and as they leave their brash beginnings further behind them, it'll be interesting to see what their next destination is.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney