Social Distortion - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

Album cover
Punk, Rockabilly
Epitaph Records
Social Distortion
Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
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Seven years can do more than just a handful of things to a man. With Social Distortion crawling out of the hole it has been buried in since 2004’s Sex, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, 2011 brings the seedy underbelly of punk a revival of all its sub-genre's wrapped up under the punk ethos with Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. With seven years of wait time, the slave-like diligence given to each note that blares loud and proud stands as a monument to the long lasting sensibility behind Social D records, and Hard Times is no exception.

The list of punk, country, and rock influences are endless from The Clash and Bad Religion to Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Black Crowes and so many more. This isn’t new, though. Social Distortion have been blending rockabilly, punk, country and everything else into one pot for several decades now. When a rippin’ blues riff (“Road Zombie”) comes along, this should not strike Social D listeners by surprise, yet should be reassured Mike Ness is still on top of his game.

Not to be pigeonholed as some predictable act as they’ve become a staple in punk rock, the D doesn’t lay low with some serious emotional depth with the sunny optimism of “Diamond in the Rough” or the personal explorations in “Writing on the Wall.” They may be old enough to be some listeners' father, but that doesn't take away from their sheer creativity in every aspect. Ness even recounts his rock 'n' roll lifestyle in “California (Hustle & Flow).” It's the lyrics that make of the bulk of awesomeness on this record, as Mike is continually heavy, yet relatable in his search for a sense of self and reflects on his life.

Coming up on 30 years as a band (1983's Mommy's Little Monster was their first full-length) can show the wear and tear on a band, or a consistancy that shows a band that doesn't leave their safety zone. Social D throws that to the wind and makes a rockin' record that continues to bend their own already messed up rules of music. Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes embodies the ever lasting soul of punk rock in every bob, weave, and harmony. It's a beautiful testament to an ethos that refuses to die.

1. Road Zombie
2. California (Hustle and Flow)
3. Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown
4. Diamond in the Rough
5. Machine Gun Blues
6. Bakersfield
7. Far Side of Nowhere
8. Alonea nd FOrsaken
9. Writing on the Wall
10. Can't Take It With Yu
11. Still Alive

Social Distortion is an American punk rock band formed in 1978 in Fullerton, California. The band currently consists of vocalist and guitarist Mike Ness, guitarist Jonny Wickersham, bassist Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo, Jr.

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