With the release of 1981's Fat EP, the Descendents became one of a steadily growing stream of hardcore bands from Southern California. And, as was the case with many of those early acts, their music was a youthful catharsis informed by a wickedly absurdist sense of humor. Until Napalm Death wrote the under-two-seconds "You Suffer," the Descendents had one of the shortest, sharpest punk songs out there (the eleven-second "Wienerschnitzel"). They also had a more decidedly melodic bent to their songwriting, which proved influential on the wave of pop punk that came out of the late '80s and the '90s. Having survived lineup changes and other vicissitudes of fortune, the foursome still manages to make songs about girls and love lost sound less like hackneyed premises and more like anthems to the broken, yearning adolescent heart within us all.
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