The Descendents

Two Things At Once (SST ’87) Rating: A-
So named ‘cause lead singer Milo Aukerman (a good, rough voiced rock n’ roll singer) soon left The Descendents to attend college, Milo Goes To College (SST '82) was an excellent debut album. The 15 often thrilling (but often all too short) songs on Milo Goes To College blaze by with a hyper, adrenaline fueled punk rush and a terrific tunefulness (best songs: “Marriage,” “Hope,” “Bikeage,” “Jean Is Dead”). Presumably modeled after the Ramones and The Buzzcocks, the band delivered defiant teenage anthems that contained enough deliberately offensive lyrics on songs such as “I Wanna Be A Bear” and “I’m Not A Loser” to garner comparisons to the lesser likes of the Angry Samoans. However, the band also yearns for a big “Suburban Home” and for “Marriage” to that somebody special, while in “Hope” Aukerman optimistically declares “I know my day will come, I know one day I’ll be the only one.” This dichotomy makes for a fascinating contrast, and the band’s strong songwriting and the fact they can really play their instruments (check out drummer Bill Stevenson) makes Milo Goes To College, the band's initial burst of melodic but rocking punk pop, truly deserving of “seminal” status. Two Things At Once contains both Milo Goes To College and the also recommended but not quite as essential 8-song Bonus Fat album in their entirety. It also re-sequences Milo Goes To College and improves the overall flow of the album, thereby making Two Things At Once the definitive Descendents collection.

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