Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Top 10 Descendents Songs (About Girls)

The very first thing I wrote in this blog was an entry about the Descendents since their song "Cheer" is where I got the name of not only this blog, but also my tumblr. There, I made a list of my 10 favorite Descendents songs but since it was my first entry I didn't really have a sense of direction or idea of what I was doing and I think the final result is pretty sloppy. 

Not that I've gotten any better at blogging or anything, but I'm going to attempt another list of Descendents songs. This time, I've decided to only include songs about girls. Songs about girls has always been a popular lyrical subject in music, but the Descendents did it at a time when punk bands were mostly known for being highly political and particularly aggressive, and they influenced generation upon generation of punk (and non-punk) bands to follow suit. So this is sort of a tribute to them for doing that. (A slow one, too. It's seriously taken me almost a week and a half to write this one! Every time I started to write something, I'd get distracted or another project would take priority. But now it's done, finally!)


This is probably one of their more "generic, by-the-books" punk tune but it's done so well. Lyrically it's about being in that "best friend in love" position, and by the mid-90's that was pretty typical content for a pop punk band. But after all the odd experimental stuff  they tried on ALL (not to mention the several year hiatus), putting out an album of standard four chord songs was new and exciting for the band. Not that I was even listening to the band when this album came out, so when it came out doesn't really make that much of a difference to me. I'm the One doesn't do anything to break the mold, but it does showcase the band's ability to write a great two minute song about a girl.



Enjoy! is probably my least favorite Descendents album even though it has some of their best songs. Their cover of the Beach Boy's Wendy is solid, but I think that Get the Time is much more poetic. The opening line "When I get the time I'd like to sit down and write a little rhyme for you" perfectly sums up how I feel when I want to write a song for someone- except it never comes out nearly as sweet as it does in this song. 



This one is much more bitter than the others on the list so far. The imagery of dirty bed sheets lends itself really well to the subject of an unfaithful lover. What I enjoy is that, while the song is a song about a break up, it's not one that necessarily wishes harm upon the ex. I grew up in an era where most of the alternative bands would sing about a girl who broke the singer's heart and the singer wants to know that the girl is feeling as much pain as he is. So when I discovered the Descendents, hearing a song that deviates from that typical pattern is refreshing. Also, it's a song about dirty sheets. Not exactly a metaphor when the song is about a cheating lover, but it's certainly not the image that most songwriters go with when they do sing about that sort of thing.


07. Good Good Things

Good Good Things is one of their softer songs that comes from the extremely moody and depressing Side B of I Don't Want to Grow Up. It's actually one of the more lyrically upbeat songs from that second half of the album, being about rekindling a love as opposed to one that's fallen (or falling) apart. I guess that's still a love that's fallen apart, but from a different angle. The verses are pretty quiet, the choruses are (relatively) louder and the song is all good.


06. Hope

A classic punk song. It has the speed and aggression of early Black Flag or Minor Threat (maybe a tad bit slower than Bad Brains) and lyrics that would go on to define almost an entire genre and generation of young men in tight pants and stupid hair who are angry at their ex-girlfriends. But that's besides the point. In Hope, Milo knows that the girl who left him will return to him one day once she realizes her new man is terrible. In that aspect, it's much like I'm the One but more aggressive.


05. Bikeage

One thing I haven't mentioned about the Descendents is how sad of a picture some of their songs can paint. Bikeage is one of those songs. The song is about a broken girl who turns to alcohol and other drugs, the narrator of the song (assumed to be Milo, although Bill Stevenson wrote the lyrics) wants to save her but at the same time the thought of what she's become "makes [him] sick." Not all songs about wanting to be romantic with a girl end with a romance.


04. Christmas Vacation

This is another depressing one. The song itself isn't necessarily about being lonely on Christmas, but being pushed away and left alone by person you love. Do yourself a favor and don't listen to this song during the winter holiday season, especially if you just got out of a relationship.


03. Nothing with You

Move aside, Bruno Mars, this is the best song about wanting to be lazy and do nothing. This one comes from 2004's Cool to Be Cool and it's definitely one of the band's best songs about being in love. After all, who doesn't like to just sit around on the couch with somebody to snuggle with?


02. Cheer

Another break up song. It's definitely more on the sad side than Nothing with You is, but I like the positive connotations it has. That being, even though the narrator is sad about the previous relationship that fell apart, he's (I'm assuming that it's a "he" considering it's another Stevenson-penned song) found someone who can possibly help take him out of his funk and "cheer him up."

Fun fact (as if you didn't know), both of my blogs (blogger and tumblr) are named after the chorus of this song.


01. Silly Girl

This is probably not just my favorite Descendents love song, but just one of my favorite love songs in general. I don't think that's much of an argument among Descendents fans. I'm not sure if I can really explain why, it's just a really sweet song about being scared and in love. (And long distance.) (And more scariness.) I haven't quite been in this situation, but switch the perspective of who had to go away and who didn't, and then the song sums it up a bit better.

And so ends another list of mine. Go ahead, tell me which songs I missed and why I'm an idiot for doing so.

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