Nza’s Review: Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes [2011]

I’ve been waiting for a long, long time for something from Orange County’s finest, Social Distortion.  As a fan of punk, Social Distortion tells tales of life, love, fate, and just the way things end up with such an element of truth.  You can help but be a fan.  Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is the first effort from Social D in close to 7 years.  Being able to hear some of the tracks at some past gigs, I already knew that this album would rock and yes, indeed, it does.

Now it rocks in real different ways from previous albums.  Mike Ness’ autobiograpical style is still present.  Already coming full circle on 2004’s Sex, Love and Rock n Roll, HTANR contiunes to tell the tale of a punk all grown up and appreciating the smaller things in life.  Equipped with some awesome melodic backup singers, “Calfornia (Hustle and FLow)”  and “Can’t Take it With You ” are a new fresh rock sound from they guys who’ve been around the block a few times.  Talking about cigars and hitting the highway in suped up hot rod, “Machine Gun Blues” is a great badass rock n roll song that takes no prisioners.

Dave Hildago from Sucidial Tendenecies takes over on drums and provides a solid beat.  Johnny ‘2 Bags” Wickersham’s rythmn and Brent Harding’s bass provide great backing rhythm for Mike to go places that we’ve never heard him go before.

“Writing on The Wall” is a bittersuite tune that delivers a very important message, sometimes you just have to let go to make everything comeback right.  The clever line “never seen a hearse with a luggage rack” is true and makes “Can’t Take it With You” even that more bold and standout.  A nice dirty cover of Hank Williams Sr’s “Alone and Forsaken” is present and never sounded any better.  Capping off the album is the familar tune “Still Alive” that will leave you humming the melodic chours for days after listening to it.

Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is available now.  The album is not their best effort to date but by no means is it slowing them down any.  Social Distortion are on tour now and I’d advise you, even if you’ve seen them, go again, they never fail to put on a great show.

“Bakersfield” is a 6 minute epic ballad of a lonely man that leaves you heartbroken with everything and nothing at the same time.

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