Descendents – Cool to be You

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Released in 2004, Cool to Be You is the first Descendents album since Everything Sucks was issued in 1996. Luckily, the only thing that has changed about the band is their switching of record labels from Epitaph to Fat Wreck Chords. Milo Aukerman, Bill Stevenson, Karl Alvarez, and Stephen Egerton continue to spit out hook-laden pop-punk with the energy and humor they have been known for since the early ’80s. Like the Ramones before them, the Descendents’ overall sound tends to be interchangeable, in the best possible way, with previous efforts. Why mess with a good thing? For instance, among these 14 tracks, “Nothing With You” can be compared to “Clean Sheets,” while “Cool to Be You” and “Mass Nerder” are anthems à la “I’m Not a Loser” and “I Don’t Want to Grow Up.” One slight variation is the first overtly political tune the band has ever attempted, which finds them addressing (dare it be said) more adult-oriented themes! Written by Alvarez, “‘Merican” opts out of a CNN/Rage Against the Machine dictatorial harangue about specifics and instead chooses to sum up the current world situation, and the U.S.A.’s involvement in it, by celebrating the positive (Otis Redding, Duke Ellington, Walt Whitman) and damning the negative (slavery, Joe McCarthy, Ku Klux Klan). The approach is personal, righteous, and even patriotic, but not preachy. Still, Cool to Be You as a whole is soaking in the Descendents’ realism and positivism — their most enduring traits — and as the lyrics on “Dry Spell” bluntly state, “Life’s just a series of lows and highs.” And by the way, they did include a song that happily combines their love of both spicy food and lavatory humor: “Blast Off. – Allmusic

Descendents – Cool to be You

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4 responses

  1. always had a soft spot for these guys…grew up as a teenager listening to suburban home…clean sheets…etc thanx to these guys always/still do have a preference for melody in my punk rock…though like the loud stuff too :)..does seem weird them doing a “political”song….good album thou…cheers and as always keep posting stuff…it is appreciated

    December 8, 2008 at 7:12 am

  2. myfatetohate

    Thanks Andrew, as always comments like yours is what makes this site tick…Thanks and Cheers!

    PS “clean sheets mean a lot to a guy who sleeps on the floor”…i so love that phrase… =)

    December 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm

  3. good bands follow the same credo, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Case in point: Ramones, Descendents, Motorhead, Discharge, AC/DC just to name a few.

    December 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

  4. l.h.oswald

    had no idea that this even existed until i decided to have a fictitious sick day from work and spent it trawling music blogs to distract me from a small amount of guilt and an even larger amount of boredom…and it’s great!

    i feel as though i’ve lived with descendents for my whole life and now at the age of nearly 38 i realise that that’s true for at least the past 23 years…and that means i’m now pretty old and while i may not have wanted to grow up i found it hard to avoid…maybe on a scale of 1 to 10 on a grown up scale i’m at about a 7 or 8…not TOO grown up…and if milos voice can actually get better as he gets older then maybe i can take heart from that…

    anyway, i ramble…thanks for the blog and post, great stuff…oh, i also got meatmen ‘blud sausage’ and crucifix too…indo china being one of the greatest songs ever recorded in my humble opinion…many many thanks

    March 16, 2009 at 9:12 pm

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