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Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

January 30, 2011 by  

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Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

NAME: Social Distortion
ALBUM: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
DATE: 17January2011

LABEL: Epitaph


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Long-awaited, enjoyable, inoffensive offering.

LOCATION: Fullerton, CA, US

LINE UP: Mike Ness (vocals, guitar), Jonny Wickersham (guitar), Brent Harding (bass), David Hidalgo Jr (drums).


WHAT’S THE STORY?: Social Distortion released this album on the fourth anniversary of the death of Brent Liles, the band’s former bassist. Despite his absence, and taking the band’s six-year silence into account, it’s therefore surprising that the group hasn’t lost any of their charm, even though they may have lost quite a bit of their edge. What follows seems to be a Billboard-friendly offering with Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, though that’s certainly not a bad thing.

Social Distortion seem pretty hell-bent on establishing themselves among the ranks of The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St and Hank Williams in their PR push, yet only the latter really comes off in this release. It’s more a case of anonymous yet enjoyable power chords with pop-friendly vocals and songs that don’t really vary from one to the next.

Only really ‘Bakersfield’ and ‘Alone and Forsaken’ really walk off the beaten track; the first for being so introspective and the second for being fast and furious, though not in the same way that was once offered by departed members of the band.

Fans of Social Distortion’s stuff way-back-when may find them a little too inoffensive in this outing. It sucks to be them, if that’s the case; it’s a really good album, even if it feels too clean. It’s well-produced at the expense of lacking the rough-cut chic of previous releases.

One thing’s for sure – you’ll probably like it. If you don’t, it’s hard to see why that’d be the case. It’s got too many enjoyable elements to be annoying – unique yet inoffensive guitar work, often-frantic drums and distinct vocals from Mike Ness, to name a few examples – while it’s just a little too vanilla to be outright annoying.

It’s probably best to try a couple of tracks out on YouTube or similar first; you’ll have to invest in the full album to really enjoy it to its full, though. If your cash is disposable, you could do worse for your money than Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.

SOUNDS LIKE: Social Distortion if the band decided to lounge it up with premium-quality recording equipment.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You aren’t too judgemental about the sources of your soft rock and you’re firmly of the belief that over the years, the hardcore credentials of bands can dissipate.


Submitted By Matt Gardner




One Response to “Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes”
  1. Raven Stead says:

    Seeing them in May in Saint Lous :-)

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