1982, Music

Milo Goes to College (1982) by Descendents

This is the point where hardcore starts to lose me: where the virtues of the genre are starting to give way to things more common to earlier punk or the later skate punk. It is very clearly the bridge between early hardcore and skate punk/pop punk but I don’t know that this is a thing that I enjoy.

I just finished listening to Angry Samoans’ debut and I can’t help but compare the two: where the Samoans aim to offend everyone they could possibly imagine as much as possible, the Descendents want to offend but they also want to confess. I guess there are some bands that manage to successfully balance confessional songwriting with giving offense – and there are certainly a lot more who want to do both but don’t always succeed; I’m looking at you Axl Rose – but this is a very difficult line to walk. I think it’s much easier and safer to go completely confessional, and to portray any offensive opinions you may have as part of your vulnerability (arguably they are trying to do that here) or you go overboard on the offensiveness. Finding that middle ground is nearly impossible. I can’t say that they find it on this record.

And though I understand that there were some people in hardcore who did indeed want to write serious songs, I much prefer the Replacements’ approach – abandon hardcore for something different – than this approach, which takes the teeth out of the music just a little bit.

This is one of those hugely influential records that I can’t love because the bands it influenced (the California skate punk and pop punk bands) are bands I don’t like and will probably never like. Ah well.

7/10

  1. “Myage” Bill Stevenson 2:00
  2. “I Wanna Be a Bear” Tony Lombardo, Frank Navetta 0:40
  3. “I’m Not a Loser” Navetta 1:28
  4. “Parents” Navetta 1:37
  5. “Tonyage” Lombardo, Stevenson 0:55
  6. “M-16” Lombardo, Milo Aukerman 0:40
  7. “I’m Not a Punk” Lombardo 1:01
  8. “Catalina” Lombardo, Stevenson 1:44
  9. “Suburban Home” Lombardo 1:40
  10. “Statue of Liberty” Navetta 1:58
  11. “Kabuki Girl” Lombardo 1:09
  12. “Marriage” Navetta, Stevenson 1:37
  13. “Hope” Aukerman 1:58
  14. “Bikeage” Stevenson 2:12
  15. “Jean Is Dead” Stevenson 1:31
  • Milo Aukerman – vocals
  • Tony Lombardo – bass guitar
  • Frank Navetta – guitar
  • Bill Stevenson – drums

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