Milo Goes to College

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Milo Goes to College
A grey album cover has the band name "Descendents" in large, bold, capital letters across the top. Across the bottom, in smaller capital letters, is the title "Milo Goes to College". In the center of the cover is a line drawing caricature of singer Milo Aukerman, illustrated from the shoulders up wearing a collared shirt and tie. His neck is slender and curves out as it heads upward, ending at the rims of a pair of rectangular glasses. The top of his head is not drawn, but his hair is represented by a series of short vertical lines above the glasses. His eyes and nostrils are represented by small black dots, and his mouth by a horizontal line drawn across the neck.
The caricature of singer Milo Aukerman drawn by Jeff Atkinson for the cover became a mascot for the band, and was reinterpreted by other artists on several later releases.
Studio album by Descendents
Released 1982
Recorded June 1982 at Total Access Recording in Redondo Beach, California
Genre Punk rock, hardcore punk, surf rock
Length 22:10
Label New Alliance (NAR-012)
Producer Spot
Descendents chronology
Fat EP
(1981)
Milo Goes to College
(1982)
I Don't Want to Grow Up
(1985)

Milo Goes to College is the debut album by the Manhattan Beach, California-based punk rock band Descendents, released in 1982 through New Alliance Records. Its mix of fast and aggressive hardcore punk with melody and cheeky love songs led to it being considered one of the most significant albums of the early 1980s southern California hardcore punk movement.

Background[edit]

Milo Goes to College followed Descendents' 1981 Fat EP, a record which had established the band's presence in the southern California hardcore punk movement with its short, fast, aggressive songs.[1] For the recording of their first album in June 1982, the band worked at Total Access Recording in Redondo Beach, California with Spot, who had also engineered and produced the Fat EP.[2] While still short and fast, the songs on Milo Goes to College were also melodic. Singer Milo Aukerman later reflected: "It's interesting: we started very melodic, then moved to hardcore, but melded the two at a certain point and became melodic hardcore."[1]

The album's title and cover illustration referenced Aukerman's departure from the band to study biology at the University of California, San Diego.[3] The illustration was done by Jeff Atkinson, based on earlier caricatures by a high school classmate of Aukerman's named Roger Deuerlein, who had drawn comic strips and posters depicting Aukerman as the class nerd.[4] The illustration was later reinterpreted by other artists for the covers of I Don't Want to Grow Up, Everything Sucks, "I'm the One", "When I Get Old", 'Merican, and Cool to Be You.[4] A note on the back of the LP read "In dedication to Milo Aukerman from Descendents", and was signed by the other three members.[5] Aukerman later recalled that the band took his departure in stride:

When I decided to go to college, the guys in the band were pretty hip on it because they knew how big of a nerd I was. Like, "What else would you expect him to do but to go off and be a nerd?" I mean, I've got a Ph.D in biochemistry — how uncool is that?[1]

Descendents continued performing for a time during 1982 and 1983, initially with Ray Cooper on vocals, then occasionally with Aukerman on his return visits to Los Angeles, after Cooper moved to rhythm guitar.[3] The band then went on hiatus until 1985, when Aukerman returned for the recording of I Don't Want to Grow Up.[3]

In 1987 New Alliance was sold to SST Records, who re-released Milo Goes to College on cassette and compact disc. It was also reissued in 1988 as part of the compilation album Two Things at Once.

Reception[edit]

Milo Goes to College is cited as one of the most significant albums of the early-1980s southern California hardcore punk movement. Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History, remarked that its "cheeky love songs disguised as hardcore blasts became the most aped formula in rock."[1] Rock critic Robert Christgau gave it an A- rating, saying "These fishermen don't kid around about what powers hardcore hyperdrive—not simply an unjust society, but also a battered psyche. When they're feeling bad, any kind of power—money, age, ass-man cool, the possession of a vagina—can set off their anarchic, patricidal, 'homo'-baiting, gynephobic rage. But their bad feelings add poignant weight to the doomed vulnerability of the last four songs, which happen to be their hookiest".[6]

Ned Raggett of Allmusic gave the album 4½ stars out of 5, calling it "an unpretentious, catchy winner. The playing of the core band is even better than before, never mistaking increased skill with needing to show off; the Lombardo/Stevenson rhythm section is in perfect sync, while Navetta provides the corrosive power. Add in Aukerman's in-your-face hilarity and f*ck-off stance, and it's punk rock that wears both its adolescence and brains on its sleeve."[7] Jenny Eliscu of Rolling Stone called it "all straight-ahead punk — 15 songs in less than a half hour, each full of metally riffs and lightning-speed plucking by bassist Tony Lombardo, who was always the band's secret weapon. Much like The Who, Descendents often used the bass for melodies and the guitar to bash out a steady rhythm. 'Parents' shows a British punk influence, with Auckerman spitting the complaint: 'They don't even know I'm a boy / They treat me like a toy / But little do they know / That one day I'll explode.'"[8]

Milo Goes to College has been included in several lists of noteworthy punk albums. Spin has listed it several times, ranking it #74 in a 1995 list of the best alternative albums and #20 in a 2001 list of "The 50 Most Essential Punk Records", and including it in a 2004 list of "Essential Hardcore" albums.[9][10][11] In these lists, critic Simon Reynolds described the album as "Fifteen Cali-core paroxysms that anatomize dork-dude pangs with haiku brevity", while Andrew Beaujon called it "Super clean, super tight, super poppy hardcore about hating your parents, riding bikes, and not wanting to 'smell your muff." In 2006 Kerrang! ranked it as the 33rd greatest punk album of all time.[12]

Track listing[edit]

[5][13]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
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
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Suburban Home"   Lombardo 1:40
2. "Statue of Liberty"   Navetta 1:58
3. "Kabuki Girl"   Lombardo 1:09
4. "Marriage"   Navetta, Stevenson 1:37
5. "Hope"   Aukerman 1:58
6. "Bikeage"   Stevenson 2:12
7. "Jean Is Dead"   Stevenson 1:31
Total length:
22:10

Personnel[edit]

[2][5]

Band[edit]

Production[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Blush, Steven (2001). American Hardcore: A Tribal History. Los Angeles: Feral House. pp. 79–80. ISBN 0-922915-71-7. 
  2. ^ a b Somery (CD liner). Descendents. Lawndale, California: SST Records. 1991. SST CD 259. 
  3. ^ a b c "Interviews". descendentsonline.com. Descendents. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  4. ^ a b "F.A.Q.". descendentsonline.com. Descendents. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  5. ^ a b c Milo Goes to College (LP liner). Descendents. San Pedro, California: New Alliance Records. 1982. NAR-012. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Review: Descendents – Milo Goes to College". robertchristgau.com. Consumer Guide. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  7. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Review: Milo Goes to College". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  8. ^ Eliscu, Jenny (2004). "Descendents Biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  9. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  10. ^ Reynolds, Simon (May 2001). "The 50 Most Essential Punk Records". Spin (New York, New York: Spin Media LLC) 17 (5): 50. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  11. ^ Beaujon, Andrew (April 2004). "Essential Hardcore". Spin (New York, New York: Spin Media LLC): 50. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  12. ^ Goodman, Elizabeth (2006-11-30). "Offspring the Fifth Best Punk Band Ever?". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  13. ^ Two Things at Once (CD liner). Descendents. Lawndale, California: SST Records. 1988. SST CD 145.