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| SEX, LOVE, AND ROCK N' ROLL
Time Bomb Recordings
| Younger generations of “punks” look forward to the Warped Tour, New Found Glory, the F-Ups, and what not. And although I cant site myself as an old-generation punk, or even a punk at all, my geezer punk friends and I were counting down the days/weeks/months/years for the next Social Distortion album.
I’m not too clear on the history of Social D because I wasn’t alive for half of it, but since early 1980s, they have dominated the scene with blues inspired, easy-core punk. I think frontman Mike Ness fell into some serious barney and recovered before the release of the self-titled album in 1990, because his band returned with focus on personal triumph, personal anguish, and props to Jesus Christ. And his band carried these ideas into their music to this day. Somewhere out there, a fat 40 year old man is cursing me for this sh*tty bio on his favorite band.
The last record until this year, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, was released 1996, and sadly to say, this CD went on practically no one’s “Favorite Social D Album” list. Mike Ness’s solo work and more importantly, the death of co-founder Dennis Danell put Social D in a minor coma. I think I recall them touring a few times in the past eight years, but for most people, Social D slipped into the past.
Suddenly, the band announced a new record early this year. Middle-aged punks now had something to look forward to besides Budweiser and reruns of Diff’rent Strokes.
The first single on the album, "Reach for the Sky," earned a fair amount of radio play and a widespread amount of praise. I felt like it was Jesus’ second coming. The old fans had reason to get off the couch and a reason to spend money on something besides beer by getting Sex, Love, and Rock’n’Roll at the local Hot Topic (kidding about the Hot Topic part). New kids on the scene had reason to stop sewing Midtown patches to their Pacsun shorts and start buying the CD at the local Hot Topic (not kidding about the Hot Topic part).
The album plays like Social Distortion Premium. The production is fantastic without being overproduced. The songs are evenly balanced between god-fearing downcast blues and happy-to-be-alive, uplifting pop punk, with welcome touches of country and folk. To my ears, none of Social D’s new songs have lost the sound of the old songs. I still envision Mike Ness in a run-down Chevrolet, singing the blues with a pack of smokes in the moonlight. Disregard that slightly homosexual statement; my point is that Social D is still Social D is still Social D. While other (once) loved punk bands like Rancid and Dropkick Murphy’s went in a totally less favorable direction with their new material, Social D preserved their classic sound without being repetitive.
Social D fans of the past, I guarantee you will not be disappointed by this CD. For everyone else, this is still an extraordinary release from a band who probably influenced all the bands you listen to.
|1) Reach For The Sky
2) Highway 101
3) Don’t Take Me For Granted
4) Footprints On My Ceiling
5) Nickels and Dimes
6) I Wasn’t Born To Follow
7) Winners and Losers
9) Live Before You Die
10) Angels Wings