Our top ten Descendants songs list looks at one of the greatest American punk bands who were formed in Manhattan Beach, California in 1977. They were formed by members guitarist Frank Naveta, bassist Tony Lombardo and drummer Bill Stevenson. Two years after their formation, Milo Aukerman became their singer. Although their music was more New Wave-based when they first formed, they soon became a vital part of American Hardcore scene in the 1980’s. They have released eight albums in total as well as numerous other releases. They have split and reformed several times.
Their first split was in 1987 before they reformed in 1995 for a short lived reunion which lasted until 1997. They then got back together again in 2002 which also lasted for two years. They have been together ever since reforming in 2010. Although they are somewhat sporadic when it comes to producing albums, they are still active with their most recent album being put out this year.
The Descendants are a band who have been highly influential on the pop punk and skate punk genres, with several of the genres heavyweights such as Green Day, Blink 182 and NOFX citing them as a massive influence. Their debut album Milo Goes To College is often regarded as classic punk album. It has appeared in several all-time best lists about classic punk and alternative rock albums.
Over the years, the band’s music evolved from short and fast hardcore songs into a more melodic alternative rock sound. They were known for their sarcastic and humorous lyrical content which made them stand out in the hardcore scene. During their first stint together, their music progressed and became darker and more experimental. Particularly around the release of their third album Enjoy, the added elements of metal into their sound. After they reformed, their lyrical content became more mature and serious and involved things such as relationships and politics. They are also known for their “Milo” character who is their mascot and is caricature of Milo Aukerman and has appeared on five of the band’s seven albums and was the character in question who is the subject of the first album’s title. Much like Iron Maiden’s Eddie, he has been drawn under several different interpretations such as being a baby and dressed as Uncle Sam. Here is a list of their ten best songs.
# 10 – Everything Sux
Our first track on our Descendants list is the title track of their comeback album Everything Sucks released in 1996. With a furious Ramones style riff this one will get you off your feet. Released on Epitaph, it was a good album which saw the band back with a new revitalised energy. It was the first ever Descendants record to chart, reaching number 132 on the Billboard 200.
# 9 – Suburban Home
Our next song is taken from the band’s classic debut album Milo Goes To College released in 1983. The song’s lyrics are an attack on what is seen as the conformist lifestyle. Milo Aukerman sounds very annoyed on this track and the general fast and heavy sound of the song makes for an all time classic hardcore punk track.
# 8 – My Dad Sucks
Up next we have a track from the Fat ep released in 1981. This song is very short and sweet, clocking in at just thirty-eight seconds long. Although it might not sound like you can do much with a song in that short amount of time, the band manage to pack a lot in here, with it being very fast and catchy. Lyrically, it is about teen angst.
# 7 – Clean Sheets
The next on this list is taken from ALL released in 1987, which was the last album of the band’s original stint together. Here the band have progressed beyond their original hardcore sound and evolved into a more Husker Du-style alternative rock band. They have also matured lyrically, with this being about staying in a relationship with someone who has cheated on you.
# 6 – Good Good Things
The final track on the first half of this list is taken from the band’s second album I Don’t Want To Grow Up released in 1985. It was released after a two year hiatus during which Milo lived up to the first album’s name and literally went to college. The album was well received upon its release and was praised for its catchy melodies.
# 5 – I Don’t Want To Grow Up
And next we the title track of the second album. As the title would suggest, the song is about not wanting to grow up. It shows that the band have good song writing abilities, with this song having that classic element of sarcasm that is prevalent in much of the band’s work, with a brilliant chorus that see’s Milo going “NANANA” like a spoilt child.
# 4 – Sour Grapes
Here we have a song taken from the band’s third album Enjoy! released in 1986. It was the final album to feature Ray Cooper on guitar and the only album with bassist Doug Carton who both left after the record’s supporting tour. The album features a lot of immature toilet humour and musically was more metal-influenced, two moves that were not received well by critics.
# 3 – Merican
At number three is a more modern Descendants track taken from 2004’s Cool To Be You which was their second comeback album after their second reformation. Despite being recorded in 2002, it was unreleased for two years. The album reached 143 on the Billboard 200 and number six on the independent album charts. This song is the first in the band’s career to be openly political and it address both positive and negative aspects of American History, celebrating people such as Otis Redding and Walt Whitman whilst also condemning things such as slavery and the Vietnam War.
# 2 – I Like Food
It may sound ludicrous, but just off the top spot is this song taken from the Fat which is just fifteen seconds in length. The reason that I have put it so high is because I just find the sheer goofiness of it absolutely brilliant. The title explains what the song is about as the band literally talk about how much they like food.
# 1 – Coolidge
Topping our Descendants list is this song that is taken from ALL. The song is very energetic and the band sound almost effortless in how they are able to make such a catchy and aggressive number. The song is about the notion that people have about being “cool” and the band are stating that they find it generally rather meaningless.
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Top 10 The Descendents Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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