Review: The Descendents – Cool To Be You CD
2004’s Cool To Be You came out 8-ish years after Everything Sucks, which arrived 9-esque years after the one before. Fronted by Milo Auckerman, The Descendents defined nerdy punk desperation from 81-86, setting the stage for modern pop-punk long before Green Day. Everything Sucks was a nice surprise all around as music and nostalgia. Cool To Be You is product. It’s nice to hear the classic sound but as it’s not a strong record it makes them a bit like the house guest who didn’t know when to leave.
Milo has to be in his 40s, and has he graduated from college yet for Christ’s sake? In “Mass Nerder” he channels Timbuk 3’s 1986 embarrassment “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” with the lyrics “Gonna kick their asses in class/Gonna get good grades!" Cool To Be You starts off strong on the first two tracks but then veers into maudlin middle age introspection and failed gimmicks old and new. “Blast Off” is a poopie joke with the punchline “Blast off at Cape Canaveral/All systems go!/Blast off at Cape Canaveral/4, 3, 2, 1, Blast off!” Another good coffee anthem would have fit the bill.
Then there’s “'Merican”, the Descendents’ stab at political commentary. It’s a Bad Religion song which sounds nothing like the Descendents but a whole lot like Bad Religion. Here’s the lyrics. Yeah, everything sucks so ape a band that approves of Stalinist atrocities. Like I always say about Bad Religion, a hardcore heroin addict should not be allowed to tell anyone how they should lead their lives beyond to be sure not to shoot junk. Milo’s life seems to be one dismal personal failure after another, so his world geopolitical views might also suck today.
I love the Descendents when they're the Descendents, but like it or not it's a limited menu. It's also nice to not wanna grow up, but the old days are long gone.