Milo Goes to College

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Milo Goes to College is the first full-length album by the American punk rock band the Descendents, released in 1982 through New Alliance Records. Milo Goes to College_sentence_0

Its title referred to singer Milo Aukerman's decision to leave the band to attend college, and its cover illustration introduced a caricature of him that would go on to become the band's mascot. Milo Goes to College_sentence_1

It was the Descendents' last record with founding guitarist Frank Navetta, who quit the band during the hiatus that followed its release. Milo Goes to College_sentence_2

The album's mix of fast and aggressive hardcore punk with melody and cheeky love songs led to it being considered one of the most significant albums of the early 1980s southern California hardcore movement. Milo Goes to College_sentence_3

In the decades since its release it has received positive reviews and been counted among the most noteworthy punk albums by several publications. Milo Goes to College_sentence_4

Milo Goes to College has been cited as influential and a favorite by several notable artists and musicians. Milo Goes to College_sentence_5

Writing Milo Goes to College_section_0

The Descendents' 1981 Fat EP had established the band's presence in the southern California hardcore punk movement with its short, fast, aggressive songs. Milo Goes to College_sentence_6

While still short and fast, the songs the band wrote for their first full-length album were also melodic, described by singer Milo Aukerman as melodic hardcore. Milo Goes to College_sentence_7

"I think with those songs we were expanding beyond the kind of fast-fast-fast-fast thing", he later recalled. Milo Goes to College_sentence_8

"There are some of the similar coffee-driven songs, but I know that melodically there was actually an attempt at singing and making more pop-flavored music. Milo Goes to College_sentence_9

Obviously we all really loved that, growing up with The Beatles and stuff." Milo Goes to College_sentence_10

Drummer Bill Stevenson reflected that "By the time we recorded Milo Goes to College the pendulum swung somewhere maybe in the middle. Milo Goes to College_sentence_11

There's a lot of melodic and pop elements to it, but it also has that [sense of] bitter resentment." Milo Goes to College_sentence_12

All four band members made songwriting contributions to the album. Milo Goes to College_sentence_13

Stevenson had written the lead track, "Myage", several years earlier using a bass guitar he had found discarded in a trash bin. Milo Goes to College_sentence_14

His song "Bikeage" is about "a group of girls who were sort of turning into sluts", while "Jean Is Dead" deals with "a girl who was not stable, but I had really not known." Milo Goes to College_sentence_15

Fishing was a favorite hobby of Stevenson's; "Catalina" describes a fishing trip to Santa Catalina Island, California. Milo Goes to College_sentence_16

Guitarist Frank Navetta's song "I'm Not a Loser" expressed resentment and envy toward those he viewed as more attractive and successful, while "Parents" stemmed from his own familial discord, with lyrics such as "They don't even know I'm a boy / They treat me like a toy / But little do they know / That one day I'll explode". Milo Goes to College_sentence_17

Bassist Tony Lombardo, some 20 years his bandmates' senior, wrote songs expressing his desire for stability and individuality. Milo Goes to College_sentence_18

"I'm Not a Punk" reflected his disinterest in being part of the anarchic, destructive aspect of the punk scene: "That whole thing turned me off. Milo Goes to College_sentence_19

I just wanted to play the music and do it as best I could and I had a lot of fun doing that [...] It's like 'I'm Not a Punk'. Milo Goes to College_sentence_20

I want to be my own person." Milo Goes to College_sentence_21

"Suburban Home" was quite literal, expressing his desire for "a house just like mom and dad's": "I definitely wanted a home. Milo Goes to College_sentence_22

I couldn't live in a place where all the people are cool. Milo Goes to College_sentence_23

I don't like dysfunctionality. Milo Goes to College_sentence_24

I have an abhorrence of dysfunctionality because my mother was an alcoholic, my parents are divorced, I just don't need that assault on my emotions and psyche." Milo Goes to College_sentence_25

Recording, title, and cover art Milo Goes to College_section_1

Milo Goes to College was recorded in June 1982 at Total Access Recording in Redondo Beach, California with Glen "Spot" Lockett, who had also engineered and produced the Fat EP. Milo Goes to College_sentence_26

The title and cover illustration referenced Aukerman's departure from the band to attend college; he enrolled at El Camino College for one year, then attended the University of California, San Diego from 1983–85, where he studied biology. Milo Goes to College_sentence_27

According to Stevenson, "There was never the idea of Milo not being a scientist and Milo staying in the band. Milo Goes to College_sentence_28

He was always real clear about being into his science first and foremost." Milo Goes to College_sentence_29

A note on the back sleeve of the LP read "In dedication to Milo Aukerman from the Descendents", and was signed by the other three members. Milo Goes to College_sentence_30

The cover illustration was done by Jeff "Rat" Atkinson, based on earlier caricatures drawn by Aukerman's Mira Costa High School classmate Roger Deuerlein depicting Aukerman as the class nerd. Milo Goes to College_sentence_31

Atkinson drew several versions of the character wearing different shirts, and Stevenson selected the version with the necktie for its collegiate look. Milo Goes to College_sentence_32

The Milo character became a mascot for the band and was later reinterpreted by other artists for the covers of I Don't Want to Grow Up (1985), Everything Sucks (1996), "I'm the One" (1997), "When I Get Old" (1997), 'Merican (2004), Cool to Be You (2004), Hypercaffium Spazzinate (2016), and SpazzHazard (2016). Milo Goes to College_sentence_33

Release Milo Goes to College_section_2

Milo Goes to College was released through New Alliance Records, an independent record label run by D. Milo Goes to College_sentence_34 Boon and Mike Watt of the San Pedro-based punk band the Minutemen, who were contemporaries of the Descendents. Milo Goes to College_sentence_35

The album sold around one thousand copies locally from its initial pressings. Milo Goes to College_sentence_36

There was no tour to support the album. Milo Goes to College_sentence_37

With Aukerman away at college, the Descendents recruited Ray Cooper as both singer and second guitarist and continued performing locally for a time during 1982 and 1983. Milo Goes to College_sentence_38

They would occasionally perform as a quintet when Aukerman would join them during his return visits to Los Angeles. Milo Goes to College_sentence_39

The band was mostly on hiatus for the next few years while Stevenson played in Black Flag. Milo Goes to College_sentence_40

Guitarist and founding member Frank Navetta quit the band during this time, burning all his musical equipment and moving to Oregon to become a professional fisherman. Milo Goes to College_sentence_41

The Descendents reconvened in 1985, with Cooper on guitar, for the recording of I Don't Want to Grow Up. Milo Goes to College_sentence_42

In 1987 New Alliance was sold to SST Records, who re-released Milo Goes to College on LP, cassette, and compact disc. Milo Goes to College_sentence_43

It was also reissued in 1988 as part of the compilation album Two Things at Once. Milo Goes to College_sentence_44

Reception Milo Goes to College_section_3

Milo Goes to College_table_general_0

Professional ratingsMilo Goes to College_table_caption_0
Review scoresMilo Goes to College_header_cell_0_0_0
SourceMilo Goes to College_header_cell_0_1_0 RatingMilo Goes to College_header_cell_0_1_1
AllMusicMilo Goes to College_cell_0_2_0 Milo Goes to College_cell_0_2_1
Encyclopedia of Popular MusicMilo Goes to College_cell_0_3_0 Milo Goes to College_cell_0_3_1
The Rolling Stone Album GuideMilo Goes to College_cell_0_4_0 Milo Goes to College_cell_0_4_1
Spin Alternative Record GuideMilo Goes to College_cell_0_5_0 10/10Milo Goes to College_cell_0_5_1
The Village VoiceMilo Goes to College_cell_0_6_0 A−Milo Goes to College_cell_0_6_1

Milo Goes to College is cited as one of the most significant albums of the early-1980s southern California hardcore punk movement. Milo Goes to College_sentence_45

Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History, remarked that its "cheeky love songs disguised as hardcore blasts became the most aped formula in rock." Milo Goes to College_sentence_46

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau wrote: "These fishermen don't kid around about what powers hardcore hyperdrive—not simply an unjust society, but also a battered psyche. Milo Goes to College_sentence_47

When they're feeling bad, any kind of power—money, age, ass-man cool, the possession of a vagina—can set off their anarchic, patricidal, 'homo'-baiting, gynephobic rage. Milo Goes to College_sentence_48

But their bad feelings add poignant weight to the doomed vulnerability of the last four songs, which happen to be their hookiest". Milo Goes to College_sentence_49

Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times called the album "Perfect for the little guy who was ever called a nerd and never got the girl. Milo Goes to College_sentence_50

The chainsaw pop combined with earthy humor conveys what is often an inarticulate rage." Milo Goes to College_sentence_51

Hilburn's review was especially affirming for Stevenson, whose father criticized and discouraged his songwriting: "Robert Hillburn was saying something different. Milo Goes to College_sentence_52

He was saying that I can write okay, that I'm a decent songwriter. Milo Goes to College_sentence_53

So it served to shut my dad up a little bit, so that I could pursue the band thing a little less encumbered by his stifling attitude." Milo Goes to College_sentence_54

Retrospectively, Ned Raggett of AllMusic called it "an unpretentious, catchy winner. Milo Goes to College_sentence_55

The playing of the core band is even better than before, never mistaking increased skill with needing to show off; the Lombardo/Stevenson rhythm section is in perfect sync, while Navetta provides the corrosive power. Milo Goes to College_sentence_56

Add in Aukerman's in-your-face hilarity and fuck-off stance, and it's punk rock that wears both its adolescence and brains on its sleeve." Milo Goes to College_sentence_57

Jenny Eliscu of Rolling Stone called it "all straight-ahead punk — 15 songs in less than a half hour, each full of metally riffs and lightning-speed plucking by bassist Tony Lombardo, who was always the band's secret weapon. Milo Goes to College_sentence_58

Much like The Who, the Descendents often used the bass for melodies and the guitar to bash out a steady rhythm." Milo Goes to College_sentence_59

Impact and influence Milo Goes to College_section_4

Milo Goes to College has been included in several lists of noteworthy punk albums. Milo Goes to College_sentence_60

Spin has listed it several times, ranking it 74th in a 1995 list of the best alternative albums and 20th in a 2001 list of "The 50 Most Essential Punk Records", and including it in a 2004 list of "Essential Hardcore" albums. Milo Goes to College_sentence_61

In these lists, critic Simon Reynolds described the album as "Fifteen Cali-core paroxysms that anatomize dork-dude pangs with haiku brevity", while Andrew Beaujon called it "Super clean, super tight, super poppy hardcore about hating your parents, riding bikes, and not wanting to 'smell your muff.' Milo Goes to College_sentence_62

Obviously, Blink-182 owe this bunch of proud California losers everything." Milo Goes to College_sentence_63

In 2006 Kerrang! Milo Goes to College_sentence_64

ranked it as the 33rd greatest punk album of all time. Milo Goes to College_sentence_65

The LA Weekly ranked it the fourth greatest Los Angeles punk album of all time in a 2012 list, with Kai Flanders remarking "Every song speaks to [the listener's] teenage fucked-up-ness, from feeling incredibly horny to just wanting to hit someone for no reason." Milo Goes to College_sentence_66

Rolling Stone ranked the album fourth in their list of "The 50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums" in 2017, with critic Hank Shteamer writing that "the trademark silly-sappy blend of Milo Goes to College would become the blueprint for pop-punk as we know it." Milo Goes to College_sentence_67

Several notable artists and musicians cite Milo Goes to College as a favorite and influence, including Mike Watt of the Minutemen, David Nolte of The Last, and Zach Blair of Hagfish, Only Crime, and Rise Against. Milo Goes to College_sentence_68

Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters opined that "If the Descendents had made Milo Goes to College in 1999, they’d be living in fucking mansions. Milo Goes to College_sentence_69

That’s a fucking amazing record." Milo Goes to College_sentence_70

Joey Cape of Lagwagon remarked that the album "was just huge in punk and to me. Milo Goes to College_sentence_71

I don’t think there would have been a [Lagwagon] song like 'Angry Days' without that album." Milo Goes to College_sentence_72

Fat Mike of NOFX has cited Milo Goes to College as his favorite record of all time, and said that hearing the song "Kabuki Girl" on Rodney Bingenheimer's Rodney on the ROQ program on KROQ-FM was a significant moment in his youth. Milo Goes to College_sentence_73

Chris Shary, who has done artwork for the Descendents and their successor band, All, since 1998, remarked that "From the minute that I heard the beginning it was like 'this is the music that I have been waiting for.'" Milo Goes to College_sentence_74

Photographer Glen E. Friedman, who photographed the band during the early 1980s, recalled that "the album had just come out, and coincidentally I had my own little heartbreak as a teenager, and I heard that song 'Hope' and I gotta say that I had never in my life related to a song about love ever before until I heard that song [...] I was just 'Wow, this is fucking heavy. Milo Goes to College_sentence_75

This guy's hurting even more than I am, and this is desperation.' Milo Goes to College_sentence_76

A whole new world opened up of a depth of emotion in music for me." Milo Goes to College_sentence_77

In the decades since its release, many artists have recorded cover versions of songs from Milo Goes to College for other releases, including: Milo Goes to College_sentence_78

Milo Goes to College_unordered_list_0

  • "Myage" by ThrillionaireMilo Goes to College_item_0_0
  • "I'm Not a Loser" by the Voodoo Glow Skulls, Jake & the Stiffs, Manic Hispanic (as a parody version titled "I'm Just a Cholo"), Sublime, and Strung Out.Milo Goes to College_item_0_1
  • "Parents" by Squatweiler with Asteroid Wilhanna and by Milo GreeneMilo Goes to College_item_0_2
  • "I'm Not a Punk" by the Melting HopefulsMilo Goes to College_item_0_3
  • "Catalina" by Black Train Jack and by The BronxMilo Goes to College_item_0_4
  • "Suburban Home" by Taking Back Sunday, MxPx, and FIDLAR featuring Brian RodriguezMilo Goes to College_item_0_5
  • "Statue of Liberty" by FFMilo Goes to College_item_0_6
  • "Kabuki Girl" by Frank Phobia and Clem and by Mike Watt + The SecondmissingmenMilo Goes to College_item_0_7
  • "Hope" by Sublime and by Ben BridwellMilo Goes to College_item_0_8
  • "Bikeage" by Face to Face, Plow United, Years from Now, Joey Cape with Punk Rock Karaoke, and BaronessMilo Goes to College_item_0_9
  • "Jean Is Dead" by Shirk CircusMilo Goes to College_item_0_10

Track listing Milo Goes to College_section_5

Personnel Milo Goes to College_section_6

Adapted from the album liner notes. Milo Goes to College_sentence_79

Band Milo Goes to College_sentence_80

Milo Goes to College_unordered_list_1

Production Milo Goes to College_sentence_81

Milo Goes to College_unordered_list_2

  • Spotproducer, engineerMilo Goes to College_item_2_15
  • Jeff "Rat" Atkinson – cover artworkMilo Goes to College_item_2_16


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milo Goes to College.