Everything Sucks is a 1996 album released by the punk band The Descendents; by most counts, their eleventh album. It came after a nine year hiatus (well... a band calling themselves The Descendents released two albums in the period) after frontman Milo Aukerman left the group to seek higher education. It is definitely a strong return to form for the punk pioneer group and is an excellent punk rock album. It totals twenty eight minutes and twenty seconds in length over fifteen tracks, and was released by Epitaph Records.
The band is probably the best known group to come out of the late 1970s Los Angeles punk scene. Their best known album is probably 1982's Milo Goes To College, widely considered to be one of the best punk albums ever recorded. The group has split up and reformed several times, with this album being the product of their most recent reformation.
This album is very raw and has a biting and sarcastic edge. I would think that it is comparable to what Never Mind The Bollocks (by The Sex Pistols, of course) would sound like if you removed some of the more melodic elements and replaced them with fury. It's an excellent album which opens with its best track, in my opinion.
Everything Sux (1:26) opens the album and it is really a fantastic punk track; it drives along very well and has some great sarcastic lyrics. Milo Aukerman's voice fits the song perfectly and it just comes off as an excellent, driving punk track, one of the best ones I've heard in a long time, actually. Unfortunately, this is the peak of the album.
The second track, I'm The One (2:15), feels as though it's really missing something. The tempo is slower than the opener and it's something of a love song, but there's something missing that I can't quite put my finger on. It's a good track, but there's just something a bit off. Maybe if I went back and listened to Milo Goes To College, I might figure it out.
Coffee Mug (0:34) is a really hard burst of energy in an ode to coffee and caffeine, and comes off exceptionally well for such a short burst of punk energy. In fact, it plays on my computer every morning at 6:15 AM, since I recorded it as an mp3. It's a great song to hear in the early morning.
Coffee Mug leads into the fourth track, Rotting Out (1:56). The best part of this track is the lyrics, which are very well written. This track somewhat annoys me because it's almost as if they tried to toss pop elements (something they're not known for and they're not very good at) into what could have been a good punk track.
Sick-O-Me (1:45) shows off the California influence, as it almost sounds like ska-flavored punk without the horn section. It comes off pretty well, the best of the tracks where they stray from straight-up punk.
Caught (1:47) has some fantastic guitar work, something that is definitely one of the better components of this album. The lyrics are top-notch as always, and together they make this track one of the better ones on the disc.
The seventh track, When I Get Old (2:27), is perhaps the most mellow track on the album, meaning that the tempo is just a smidge below frenetic. Again, they try something a bit different, and it's just a bit off. It more or less serves as the midpoint of the disc.
Doghouse (1:46) is one of the best tracks, a good old-fashioned driving and pointed punk track. Besides the opener, this may be the best track on the album; appropriately enough, it leads off the second side of the vinyl release of the album.
She Loves Me (2:33) comes off like filler. It's not particularly bad; I would say that the filler on this album is a lot better than much of the music I've heard in my life. However, it just doesn't stand out except for a section about two-thirds of the way through when Milo's vocals pick up a bit.
I particularly identify with the tenth track, Hateful Notebook (2:22). I have a lengthy personal journal in which I am brutally honest, and I can't imagine how some people would react if they read particular excerpts. The lyrics are quite solid on the track and the guitar work is excellent as usual.
We (2:33), much like She Loves You, isn't particularly bad, but it comes off like filler. The instrumentation is great, but the vocals and lyrics seem somewhat lackluster compared to some of the other tracks on the album.
Another little blast of a track, Eunuch Boy (0:19) is pretty funny and extremely short. It's just a little blast with very funny lyrics.
This Place (1:16) is another truly excellent punk track on this album. It comes off much like the opener in a good way. It drives along with some manic guitar and drum work and Milo's vocals are top notch.
I Won't Let Me (3:06) is the longest track on the album, a perfect length for a single. And that's how it comes off, in fact. It seems built to try to get some mainstream radio play, and surrounded by the great punk tracks, it just doesn't come off very well. I would call this the weakest track on the album.
The album closer, Thank You (2:15), is an appropriate closer for the album. It's a very solid track, not one of the best ones, but representative of the album as a whole. I would have closed the album with This Place because it matches the opener in pure punk energy, but this song is probably the best representative of the entire album. There is also a hidden track after this one, a little instrumental bit that sounds like the music from a track that they decided not to use on the album.
This album is a good punk rock album, but I have one major complaint with it. They seem to use pop elements when they're not welcome, almost like what you might imagine would happen if, say, The Sex Pistols decided to try to sound like Weezer. A few times it sounds like all of the pieces are good (guitar, vocals, percussion, lyrics) but they just don't quite click. The opener, though, is fantastic stuff, and there are a number of excellent tracks throughout the album.
If you like this album, I also recommend Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols and especially Milo Goes To College, also by The Descendents. Both are fantastic albums in the same vein as this one.