By Jenny Maurer
There’s a good argument to be made that the California pop punk band The Descendents helped usher in the conservative Men’s rights activist culture of reddit and 4 chan with their debut, Milo goes to College. While extremely catchy, the album contains many angry diatribes about women considered unattractive (“I wanna be a bear”), women who won’t reciprocate a man’s feelings (“Hope”), and the perils that come with trying to get away from a nagging spouse (“Catalina”). It’s as though a twice divorced uncle hired a band of nineteen year olds to sing his written songs. Their second album, I don’t want to grow up, successfully moves away from these immature sentiments for the most part. This is thanks to the two year break the band took due to the lead singer, Milo Aukerman attending college to achieve a degree in bio engineering. The band successfully expands their style and subject matter, tackling not only love, but also social loneliness and fame. There’s the torch songs of “Silly Girl” and “In Love this way”, the latter being perhaps the first folk pop punk song. They also venture into power pop with the anti suicide anthem “Ace” and the band’s anthem aptly titled, “Descendents”. There’s even a nod to their hardcore roots with the meta 35 second mediation on fame, “Rockstar”. The crowning achievement of the album, however, may be the romantic bouncy pop of “Good Good Things”. A plea for romantic reconciliation, the song is both intimate and soaring, it has a sense of sincerity that was lacking from their debut.
There are moments of juvenile humor that threaten to bring down the album slightly. The 30 second “No FB” is a rant about clingy women while “Pervert” tries to be a satire of sleazy bro culture and an unapologetic celebration of adolescent sexual awakenings simultaneously, but fails at both. Fortunately, the two songs do not outweigh the twelve other solid songs. This album may be the best argument for the benefits of having a college experience: the two year break allowed them to mature emotionally and experiment with a variety of pop genres. It is a perfect place to start exploring the pop punk genre as it shows how bands like Hop Along, Green Day, and even emo bands like Modern Baseball found their sound.