Teenage angst often finds a way to bleed off well past the teenage years. Youth is a confusing time for everyone, full of complex emotions and brand new feelings to settle with. To make sense of those feelings, some turn to music—pouring their emotions and inner turmoil into sonic canvas. In turn, the rest of us listened to find some semblance of the same emotions we feel, a mouthpiece for us to relate to. In the penultimate track of their second studio album, I Don't Want to Grow Up, Descendents managed to capture the misgivings of youth, particularly regarding difficult relationships.
Clocking in at 2:19, "Good Good Things" is a pretty straightforward anthem for feelings that are anything but straightforward. The troubled narrator opens by asking the girl he's singing to—and by extension, us—to a hypothetical place "up in the air" he knows. What he's asking for, really, is validation of who he is to her. He admits that he is not deeply interested in the girl anyway, as he "only want to know a couple of things" about her anyway. Yet, he still questions her whereabouts during his vulnerable moments when he needed her—further revealing their complex situation.
Why would you expect companionship and validation from someone you're not really invested in anyway? Does the narrator mask the depth of his feelings to avoid disappointment? Or does he know deep down that he somehow didn't put in much effort to the relationship? The second pre-chorus part suggests the latter, when he sang "Let's see if I can get it right with you this time around." Yet immediately afterwards, he followed up with "I'm not afraid of losing you, my little girl".
All throughout the song, what the narrator wants is only a reciprocation of what he's been feeling. In their live performances from past decades, we can hear singer Milo Aukerman's voice cracking on certain parts of the song, audibly conveying the narrator's frustration. However, the selfsame frustration can still be found in their performance from recent years.
Certain songs from certain periods of time in our lives can instill a unique kind of memory that doesn't ever fade-angst and conflicting emotions intact. It's been over a decade since I discovered Descendents, yet they're one of those bands that once you start remembering, you're gonna keep listening for weeks. I'd like to think that I've matured a lot since my younger years, yet "Good Good Things" still reminds me of all those teenage feelings I thought I've outgrown. That palpable anxiety swelling inside your chest, that insecurity, yet also that excitement. So cool and warm.(alm/tim)