Review Summary: I don't wanna smell your muff.
The Descendents quickly made their way to the forefront of the California punk scene, made their mark, and hastily rushed off, never quite matching the quality of their opus that is their debut, Milo Goes To College
. The Descendents, however, were not of the same kin as their Californian companions of the 1980s like Black Flag, The Adolescents, and The Dead Kennedys. No, The Descendents were more upbeat, heartbreakingly honest, and cheeky. They didn't croon about distant political controversies like Eastern totalitarianism; instead Milo Aukerman yelled about how parents should shut the *** up. This inevitably gave them a jocular and surprisingly human quality that was uncommon at the time, yet is seen replicated by the plethora of pop-punk bands which burst onto the charts in the 90s.
As punk albums usually are, Milo Goes To College
is (very) short, sweet, and to the point. Nearly every song falls between one and two minutes, which at first does make much of the album blend together, but upon repeated listens, each track's individual worth is very prevalent. The album begins with a bang on "Myage," starting with a quick bassline. Milo Aukerman joins in along with speedy guitars and pounding percussion as he sings croakily. It's the catchiest song on the album, making it a very appropriate opener. Its sing-along chorus is a highlight, and it finishes as abruptly as it starts, a fitting opener and a preview of things to come. Rough on the edges and somewhat sloppy, "Myage" shows exactly what kind of band The Descendents are.
Much of the rest of the album falls into the same format, but this doesn't mean the rest of the album is uninteresting; in fact, the opposite is true. While much punk rock's entertainment factor wobbles because of sameness, every song slightly tweaks their format, whether they're adding irreverent hostility ("You ***ing homos/you suck, Mr. Butt***" on "I'm Not A Loser"), or nimble changes in time signature (on "Tonyage"). Milo Goes To College
swiftly juxtaposes the more typical brand of hardcore punk--distorted, angry, quick, like on "I'm Not A Punk"--and a more melodic, upbeat, atypical style, like on "Catalina." Most albums after Milo Goes To College
would only stick to one of these styles of punk, but The Descendents excellently make neither of these styles sound out of place.
As Milo Goes To College
briskly moves along, it maintains a surprising level consistency unrivaled by The Descendents' punk peers. Through its fifteen tracks, each one is entertaining at the least, and if its melody is considerably weak like on "I Wanna Be A Bear", its lyrics or length make it easily listenable. The album revels in its simplicity and length as well as its combination of melody and hostile punk, a contrasting farewell to the previous decade's bloated progressive rock and an influential cornerstone of a genre in the making.