Music Appreciation: “Milo Goes To College,” Descendents


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The cover of “Milo goes to college” is a drawing of Milo Auckerman. It was drawn when Auckerman and Drummer, Stevenson were is Highschool by a classmate of theirs, Roger Deuerlein.

On Sept. 4, 1982, the punk band Decendents released their first official album, “Milo Goes To College” through New Alliance Records.

The album was recorded at Total Access Studios in Redondo Beach, California, and produced by Glen Lockett, better known by Spot. Spot is an American producer for independent punk bands through Solid State Tuners (SST) Label Records and has worked with other bands like Black Flag.

The album, at 22 minutes and 10 seconds long, kicks off with a killer baseline from Tony Lombardo on the song “Myage.”

“Tony Lombardo’s bass is a limber and reliable as anybody I’ve heard on the instrument within an exclusive punk content,” according to a review by The Vinyl District. Lombardo is soon joined by drummer Bill Stevenson, who wrote the song. Stevenson is often celebrated for his appearances on drums for the punk band Black Flag.

Guitarist Frank Navetta and lead singer Milo Aukerman soon weld into the song. Aukerman’s vocals are melodic yet angsty and easily affix into “Myage.”

“Navetta’s guitar burns with sweet dexterity that mingles just right with Milo’s barking, raggedy, yet def and disciplined vocalizing,” according to The Vinyl District.

“Myage” appears to be about growing up and moving on, possibly from a relationship. The lyric “I don’t want to talk on the telephone/I don’t want to see no pictures/She’ll find out just what she needs/And when she does I’ll get her/She feels safe when she’s with him” seems to be pretty straight forward on the situation the writer is in.

“The longing and vulnerability found on ‘Myage’ is also a bit odd for the time, as most punk bands simply wanted to express anger and frustration leaving ‘real’ feelings for other bands,” according to the Daily Guru.

Most punk songs rarely include sappy emotions. Throughout this album, however, it is easy to observe that each song relates to some deeper, revealing emotion that really makes this album unique and original, especially for its time.

“I WANNA BE A BEAR” is the next song and it is only 42 seconds long. The song seems to focus on the things in life that adults enjoy and how Aukerman longs for a simpler way.

The lyrics, “Got your Jordache Jeans; Got your pretty long hair; Dinner and a movie; Powered your nose” poke fun of the audience and their materialist aspects. With clever lyrics the song is quick and has a strong baseline.

The third song, “I’m not a loser” is included with the top three songs for this album on Apple Music, most likely due to the strong, catchy melody displayed through the song. At 101 beats per minute and the key of F# Minor, the song is the classic fast pace punk.

This song seems to focus on particular judgement that the singer faces,  which is  demonstrated with the line, “Think that I’m a loser/ ‘cause now my pants are too low/ think that I’m a slob/ ‘cause I got holes in my shoes.”

Though Aukerman seems to reverse the judgement onto the audience through the melody: “You think your life is really tough when your daddy won’t buy you a brand new car.”

The outro of this song is combined with 20 seconds of insulting rage using straightforward, vulgar language to truly express how amped the creators of this song were about its meaning.

“Parents,” the album’s fourth track, appears to be the most honest. It revolves around anti-authority of any kind. Aukerman’s vocals are aggressive and harsh but still achieve a strong melody.

The next song in the album, “Tonyage” is about trendy surfers who were trying to flood into the punk scene for aesthetic purposes when, just a few year earlier, they were making fun of and looking down on punk music and its luminaries. The lyrics, “Man, you beat up Fear’s bass player/You were all surfers last year/Three years ago, it wasn’t cool/You spit on me, but him no one” demonstrates the situation and how unfair the band thinks it is. The song ends with Aukerman yelling in frustration “you’re fake hardcore!”

The next song on the album is “M-16” and it was also written by drummer Stevenson. This song revolves around making fun of Americans and their logic to an enjoyable democratic  life. Stevenson makes a point in the song when quoting a “proud American”, “Kill to save democracy; Got a rebel in my sights; Money’s worth more than his life.” Although the song is rhythmical and catchy, it makes a deep  point that exploits major flaws in America.

The last song on the first half of the album is “I’m Not A punk.” One of the more complicated songs on the album, it includes lyrics like, “Try to be different but it’s always the same/ end up playin’ someone else’s game” that imply not doing something that everyone else is doing to prove a point is just as bad as doing something because everyone else is doing it.