Descendents, Milo Goes To College

Michael Azerrad

By Michael Azerrad

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Caffeinated early ’80s pop-punk from arguably the most influential SST band ever.

The Descendents are arguably the most influential SST band ever: Their catchy, caffeinated punk and candid dispatches from the uneasy front lines of post-adolescence resurfaced — albeit sweetened and diluted — in some of the biggest bands of the '90s and beyond. Redolent of southern California, Buzzcocks-inspired and marked by Milo Aukerman's tonsil-rattling howl, their "chainsaw pop" documents a not always winsome mix of the cynically political ("Statue of Liberty") and the darkly personal ("Hope"). There's gratuitous homophobia ("Loser"), boneheaded racism ("Kabuki Girl") and misogyny (all over the place), but that's just the necessary downside to the album's startling candor. Besides, genius lines like this one from "Parents": "They're so fucking dense/They look into your past for future reference," and the classic mediocrity-buster "Suburban Home" redeem all sins. Bonus points for prescience on "I'm Not a Punk": "Try to be different but it's always the same/End up playin 'someone else's game."