It's Christmas at CHIRP Radio, and we're looking for a cure for the common carol. Instead of bending to the will of the average 24-hour holiday muzak stations, we're spending the season unearthing a bunch of winter-approved tunes that you probably haven't heard for a while (or maybe even ever). Today: Milo needs to return his ex's gifts.
The Descendants - "Christmas Vacation" (1985)
Back me up, college kids: after a few days at home, winter break is a drag. Being home at the holidays when you're young just serves as a reminder that you don't belong there anymore: your parents have new routines, your friends have new inside jokes, and your new life is chilling under the snow back on campus. It's basically Less Than Zero without the heroin and snuff films. Listening to "Christmas Vacation" by the Descendents immediately puts me back in the mindset of those nothing-feels-good trips back home.
Released on 1985's aptly titled I Don't Want to Grow Up, the song mostly deals with an unexpected breakup, but the title, combined with lines like "she needs beer/ she doesn't need me," calls to mind memories of late Decembers in hometown basements, complete with warming Busch Light and your high-school crush and the desperate feeling that you have no good reason to feel so sad. Looking back, the timing makes sense; I Don't Want to Grow Up was the first Descendants record after singer Milo Aukerman finished college, so the memories of his own weird, liminal nights might've been fresh in mind. Regardless of intention, one fact remains: before the band started selling novelty Christmas sweaters, they sold the far-more-powerful right to mope right through the holidays.