Review Summary: "You don't know shit about punk rock."
Milo Goes to College, the debut from pop punk pioneers Descendents is one of the greatest punk albums of all-time. It's exceptionally catchy, extremely punchy, and remarkably funny. It exemplifies everything that made 80s punk incredible. The bassist plays fast basslines that are semi-danceable, the guitarist makes regular use of power chords and has a certain amount of oomph to his sound, the drummer pounds his kit playing that stereotypical punk beat, and the vocals are nasally and throat-destroyingly aggressive.
Across its fifteen tracks, Milo Goes to College is a blast to listen to. The opening track, "Myage," sets the stage for what's to come. It's fast, heavy hitting, and likely to get stuck in your head for several days. The whole album seems to have this effect that makes you want to listen to it repeatedly. The Descendents' signature blend of hardcore punk and melodic hooks make this record very digestible. The production on this LP also add to its digestibility and appeal. It's not quite as raw and abrasive as Bad Brains' debut but it's not quite as polished and overproduced as something that you'd find in today's pop punk scene. MGtC's balance between rawness and polish makes the album easily accessible for those who are just starting to listen to punk rock, as well as hardcore vets looking for something lighter.
A defining characteristic of Milo Goes to College is its lyrical content. Unlike their contemporaries such as Bad Religion or Black Flag who sang (more like shouted) about political issues and pure distaste for society, the Descendents' lyrics focused on societal topics like love, social labels and living up to the unrealistic expectations of society. An example of their semi-unique lyrics (for the genre at least) is the song "Hope." Wherein vocalist Milo Aukerman sings about his longing for a girl whom he's fully aware is leading him on. The lyrics on the album are also pretty hilarious, such as the infamous and oft quoted line "I don't wanna smell your muff!" from the song "I Wanna Be a Bear."
Now if I may go on a personal tangent for a bit, I'd like to talk about why I personally think Milo Goes to College is such a damn good record. I think the biggest reason I love MGtC so much is because it was my introductory album into 80s punk rock. After listening to Milo I moved on to bands like those previously mentioned in the review as well as Misfits and NOFX (although the NOFX stuff I dig is their 90s stuff but I digress). Milo Goes to College also gets me to sing and shout along with it with a gigantic smile on my face. Not to mention I have a bit of a soft spot for albums that manage to make me laugh out loud.
While Descendents' debut is brief, clocking in at just over twenty-two minutes, it is easily one of the most fun and memorable albums to come from the punk genre. Milo Goes to College is the Descendents' magnum opus, and allowed them to lay the foundation for all pop punk bands to come. It really is an incredible album, and everyone should give it a listen.
I Wanna Be a Bear
Jean is Dead
I'm Not a Punk