Descendents - I Don't Wanna Grow Up (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


I Don't Wanna Grow Up (1985)

New alliance Records

Descendents warned us of their intentions with the title of the record, I Don't Wanna Grow Up. Then they included a few songs to support that assertion, and a bunch of songs that proved the opposite. They were in fact growing up. I Don't Wanna Grow Up (1985) is the second Descendents album, and is pretty much universally considered a classic. I've even heard people say they prefer it to Milo Goes to College (1982), but that's heresy. I think you could certainly make a strong argument that it's the second best thing this legendary band has ever done.

There are definitely a handful of immature tunes, and some have aged much better than others. The first two tracks, “Descendents” and “I Don't Wanna Grow Up”, are just good, clean fun. (Pun intended.) “Pervert” is a crude, but relatively harmless expression of teenage lust. They use “fuck” as a verb and “cunt” as the name for a woman's private parts, but there's no reason to believe that it’s describing anything other than some consensual good, dirty fun. Descendents still play all three of these songs live. The song they no longer touch is “No FB”. “FB” does not stand for Facebook, and the term fat beaver is no longer acceptable, at least not in punk circles. The song was obviously an attempt at humor, but it's best that the band just let it die.

The thing that made the Descendents work was Milo playing the part of the smart, sensitive guy who was jilted for the tough, handsome guy. His ability to convey yearning and heartbreak is still unparallelled. The role of misogynist never really suited him. Anyway, “No FB” is one of only three tracks on I Don't Wanna Grow Up that I don't consider a stone cold classic. The other two are “Rockstar”, which is clever and makes a good point but feels like a throwaway, and “Theme” because it's an instrumental. In my opinion, instrumentals are very rarely essential.

Some of the songs have the ability to melt my cold heart. “Silly Girl”, “In Love This Way”, “Christmas Vacation” and “Good. Good Things” are punk love (or breakup) songs at their very best. “GCF” might unintentionally be the world's first pop punk straight edge song. “Can't Go Back” and “My World” allow the band to go to darker, more serious places. Closer, “Ace”, might just be the best Descendents song of all time, but I wouldn't want to have to pick. There are just so many best Descendents songs, and a bunch of them are on I Don't Wanna Grow Up. Along with Milo Goes to College, this should be an essential piece of any proper punk record collection.