Tuesday, December 27, 2011


So far, I haven't seen Social Distortion's Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes on anyone else's "best of 2011" lists, and what a shame that is. But: your loss, rock critics and bloggers!

And that's the story of Social Distortion in a nutshell.  Because the thing is, even though they've never really fit into a radio format (or tried to), they were never critics' darlings, and are a bit too scary for the mainstream, they sell out all their shows.  The audience really don't care what punk bands are "in," or what's the latest trend in pop culture.  These people see Social D whenever they come to town and they wear their fandom on their sleeves. Many times on tattooed sleeves.

This is an incredible album. I raved about it when it first came out.  Maybe a little less angry than the earlier ones (maybe). But it's filled with great punk rock anthems that a younger guy couldn't have written: they are songs written from someone with experience.  He's seen it all, and still isn't interested in toning it down, or lightening up, or pandering in any other way, to appeal to anyone.  And thank god for that.

Get the album. Trust me.  But I'll name names: "California (Hustle and Flow)" is classic, so is "Sweet and Lowdown."  But my favorite song on the album is "Far Side Of Nowhere," which sounds like Bruce Springsteen was subbing in for Michael Stipe at a R.E.M. session.  I'm not sure Mike Ness would appreciate the R.E.M. comparison, but that's what it made me think of.  On any planet that makes sense, this would have been the #1 hit of the summer.

Whenever I've told anyone that this would be my #1 LP of 2011, they were sort of surprised, but only because they hadn't heard the album.  Which is their loss, and my ongoing mission.  It should be yours too.  Listen to this album. Tell people about it.  When I listen to it, I feel good to be alive.  I don't know many other albums that you can say that about these days.

1 comment:

Ryan McGowan said...

Loved this album as well. So good. Also liked El Camino and The Bright Lights EP in your top ten.