4. Descendents, 'Milo Goes to College' (1982)
Think of Milo Goes to College as pop-punk's Revenge of the Nerds–ian big bang. Descendents' classic lineup came together in the late Seventies, when guitarist Frank Navetta and drummer Bill Stevenson, who bonded as teenage fishing buddies in Hermosa Beach, met up with thirtysomething local bass whiz Tony Lombardo. Bespectacled fan-turned-frontman Milo Aukerman gave the band not only its signature melodic brilliance but also its lovably dorky image. "I went through my first few years of high school trying not to be different and not get beat up, and then at some point a switch got flipped and I just said, 'Fuck it, I don't care. I'm just going to be the nerdiest, geekiest guy I can be,'" Aukerman recalled in 2016. That mindset soon found its way into early Descendents favorites like lovelorn anthem "Hope," fishing-as-escape rallying cry "Catalina" and cool-kid takedown "I'm Not a Loser," with Lombardo contributing ironic masterpiece "Suburban Home," and its "I want to be stereotyped/I want to be classified" refrain. Though the band flaunted serious hardcore chops and shared bills with Black Flag, shameless goof-offs like "Weinerschnitzel" (a frantic fast-food order set to music) and "I Like Food" made it clear that they had no patience for stagy punk angst. True to their debut's title, Aukerman actually would ditch the band to further his education – before returning in the mid-Nineties for the stellar Everything Sucks, and sticking around on-and-off ever since – but the trademark silly-sappy blend of Milo Goes to College would become the blueprint for pop-punk as we know it. "They were like this punk-rock Beach Boys," Blink-182's Mark Hoppus told SiriusXM of their forebears. "All the punk rock that I'd heard before that was really angry and political and screaming and not really my thing. ... I really liked the melody and the harmony of the Descendents; you could sing along to it. It was stuff that I cared about, like food and friends and hanging out and girls and being pissed at your parents." H.S.