Maybe I’ve never grown up (get it?), or maybe I’ve just never found a better album. The Descendents Milo Goes to College was and is one of the seminal works in punk history and easily my most listened to album of all time. You ever have a bad day? Pretty broad question, right? We all have, it’s an non-exclusionary question (or it’s trying to be, fuck you happy people). But when you have that shitty day how to you deal? Do you scream? Do you go ride go-carts? Hit something? Run? Play video games? I play on Milo Goes to College deafeningly loud. From beginning to end the album is perfect, blending punk with pop before there was “pop punk” without ever sacrificing any of the punk. Fast, raw, loud, funny, don’t you like to fish? They were always having fun, even when it all goes dark, the Descendents are still playing pranks. They probably pulled the curtain down over the world just to fuck with everyone. So here I am, at least 12 years since I first discovered them (late I know but I was born the year after the album came out) and I’m still using the album as my main source of emotional excretion. Is that the right phrase?
The Descendents more of less taught me how to “play” the guitar (more or less). I wouldn’t play the chords and notes they were playing, but when I would get home from school I’d take out my electric guitar, leave it unplugged, crank up my stereo, put in Milo (or Everything Sucks)and just pretend like I was playing along to the whole album and trying to keep pace with them while jumping over the walls. I’ve probably never been better than I was back then, sadly. There would be blood all over the guitar because I’d try and play as fast as I could to keep up, and since I hated using a pick in those days, so my hand was the only other option. But I digress.
Milo is 22 and a half minutes boasting 15 songs about shit scene, mangled psyche, girls, food, fishing, and the lack of all of the above. Beginning with the relatively upbeat “Myage” and ending with the truly haunting “Jean Is Dead” there isn’t a single bad cut on the album. Some tracks, like “Kabuki Girl,” need to be experienced with a blank slate.
Of all the songs on the album (and all that I had ever heard) in high school “Bikeage” was my absolute favorite. Today I’m usually go for “Catalina” or “Jean Is Dead” depending on the day of the week, how I woke up, the weather outside, what time it is, how much dust is in the air, whether the posters in my room are falling down, if the power is out, how well my pants are fitting, if I even decided to put on pants, and/or how many bills I still have yet to pay. Few songs give me the chills more than “Jean” but few songs make me smile more than “Catalina.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is I love the Descendents. Whenever talking about music I tend to never get on the defensive if someone is bashing a band or album I like unless it’s the Descendents. They’ve become apart of me over the years, or maybe they just took hold of me and won’t let go, or maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome. Whatever it is, I’ve written too much, it’s time to listen. Join me, won’t you?