Sound — 9
Anyone with a knowledge of punk rock should have at least heard of the Descendents, seeing as though they left an undenyable mark in the genre. Their influence can be felt through bands who play Punk, Pop-Punk, Hardcore or Metalcore. This album is a compilation released in 1991 whilst the band was on hiatus (while singer Milo Auckerman was attending college and the rest of the band members played in the criminally underrated band All). The Descendents' sound is a form of punk rock played with melodic prescision -at one point it was called "chainsaw pop"- but don't let that throw you off, because even though they have helped influence the 90's punk rising in bands such as Blink-182 their sound is much more refined and seemingly more intelligent than the 90's bands. On the songs from 1986's Enjoy and 1987's All albums guitarist Stephen Egerton throws in some impressive metal-influenced licks into the solos of songs such as Clean Sheets, Coolidge and the obviously metal syled Hurtin' Crue. But the real musical hero of the Descedents is drummer/producer/songwriter Bill Stevenson. His drumming has a great precision to it and is full of fills and driving rhythms but never gets in the way of the other instruments and still manages to lock in with the various bassists (Doug Carrion, Tony Lombardo and Karl Alvarez) in the bands career.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of the Descendents are have witty sides to them, like in Sour Grapes: "I wanted her cherry, I got sour grapes", Van: "Here in my van I can piss in a cup", Enjoy!: "Sniff my ass whilst I pass gas" and of course the 10-12 second songs Weinerschnitzel, I Like Food and My Dad Sucks. But a great majority of the songs have to do with the subject of girls, but not in that whiny kind of way that is presented nowadays instead they are shown with a certain wit and have clever yet seemingly simple metaphors. Such as comparing a girl to "a rollsroice I can't have", or preferring to sleep with your pillow "cos my pillow would never lie or be with a stranger in my bed". But some other songs such as Coolidge and Bikeage seem to deal with people who are either dragging themselves down or are trying to bring themselves back up, like it says in Coolidge: "you can only be a victim if you admit defeat". The subject of the song depends on who's written it, Bill Stevenson's lyrics tend to deal with girls (Silly Girl, Clean Sheets, Sour Grapes and Myage) fishing (Mr Bass) and the profecy of All (All, No All! and All-O-Gistics), Tony Lombardo deals with girls and his parents in songs such as My Dad Sucks and Parents. Other songs deal with suburbian life (Suburban Home, Kids), Jocks/Assholes (I'm Not A Loser), living in a van (Van) and the joy of passing gas (Enjoy!).
Overall Impression — 10
If you want to get into the Descendents and don't know where to start then this is a good place (tons of people would suggest 1982's Milo Goes To College and it can't hurt getting that too) to start sing as how it contains most of their best songs on it. My one gripe is that it ommits the songs Can't Go Back (from 1985's I Don't Want To Grow Up) and Kabuki Girl (from the afore mentioned ...College album). But other than that it is a first class album from start to finish and if it were stolen I would kill everything in sight because it too me 3 weeks to get it on order. But I would order it again.