Social Distortion – Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes (2011)

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Music

There aren’t many punk stalwarts who can weave a tale of being down and out quite like Mike Ness, and for the most part he’s in top form on this seventh studio release from Social Distortion.

Living, dying, and surviving the literal and metaphorical prison of existence have always been his central themes. The energetic “Still Alive” brims with thankfulness for being around; “Machine Gun Blues” finds the singer imagining himself as a doomed, cigar-chomping, pinstriped outlaw on the run in the 1930s.

There are some slip-ups: the back-up singers on the insipid “Can’t Take It with You” sound like they’re backing up Ike Turner as opposed to Mike Ness; “California (Hustle and Flow)” is an overdone tribute-apparent to the Rolling Stones with a guitar lick lifted from “Honky Tonk Woman“; “Far Side of Nowhere” is dull, by-the-numbers, trite in both lyrics and sounds reminiscent of modern-day Bruce Springsteen.

But when Ness puts his heart into his storytelling, as on the ballads “Bakersfield” and “Writing on the Wall,” or rips it up on a cover of Hank Williams’s “Alone and Forsaken” (Social Distortions second — and better — attempt at putting that song on wax), he’s untouchable.

After all, he’s still Mike Ness.

Tracklist:
01. Road Zombie
02. California (Hustle And Flow)
03. Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown
04. Diamond In The Rough
05. Machine Gun Blues
06. Bakersfield
07. Far Side Of Nowhere
08. Alone And Forsaken
09. Writing On The Wall
10. Can’t Take It With You
11. Still Alive

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Download (256kbps): Link

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