So I know I promised a review of Social Distortion’s “Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes” and I”m sure your all waiting with baited breath, hand hovering over the keyboard thinking “should I buy it? oh dear.. what would punk outlaw do?”.. Well, since I already bought it, you know what I’d do.. I’d buy it and worry about if it’s any good later.
But actually, I already knew what I needed to know when I heard “Road Zombie” was on the CD. I first heard Road Zombie before I even knew the tune had a name at Social D’s concert at Mulcahey’s in Long Island way back in 2007. I didn’t know what it was, never heard it before but instantly loved it. I still get chills when I listen to it and I have to say after downloading “Hard Times..” I’ve hardly gotten past this very 1st song on the CD.
I keep playing it over and over and over and my little pea sized, Pavlovian brain just gets more and more addicted to each and every riff, each and every pounding beat. It’s primal, it’s old school vintage Social Distortion outlaw music (ala “Prison Bound”). Yesterday I ran 4 miles listening exclusively to “Road Zombie”, do some quick math and that is like 12 0r 13 times in a row.
Is “Hard Times..” any good? I don’t know yet. My favorite Social Distortion songs took time to appreciate, like good wine or sushi or a hot rod car your favorite tattoo, punk shirt or whatever comparison you want to make, it’s often an acquired taste that makes the biggest, deepest impression.
So while I’ll weigh in on the CD in good time, I think I should give it a good dozen or so listens first and I just can’t get past “Road Zombie”.
In the meantime should you plunk down the $12.99 or whatever it is to buy the CD? I can’t answer that for you. Depends on how big of a fan you are, how much money you have to play around with, etc.
For me it’s a no brainer. On every Social Distortion CD there are at least 2-3 songs that rank up at the top of my all time favorite songs. The rest are rarely bad and almost always good. There are very few Social D. songs in their lengthy body of work that I say, “WTF is that?”
In early listening sessions beyond “Road Zombie”, there indeed may be a couple of those on “Hard Times”.
Mike Ness after all did say this CD will have a heavy “Black Crows” influence and I’m thinking who in the fXXk are the Black Crows to influence anybody or anything? I truly hate their music, their look, their style, everything about them actually. Why in the hell would a punk legend who’s carved his own path ever, ever say something like that?
I don’t own a Black Crows or a Bruce Springsteen song for that matter for a damn good reason.
Well, I do guarantee you this, “Road Zombie” and “Machine Gun Blues” don’t have a Black Crow’s or Bruce Springsteen influence. It’s 100% Social D.
For $12.99, if I only get a couple good songs then my investment has already paid off. Anything more than that is a happy bonus and I bet there are a couple more gems on the CD and I can’t wait to find how many there actually are on “Hard Times…”
So please, record buying public, give me some time. It took Social D. 6 years to release a CD, give me 6 weeks or so and I’ll tell you what I think about “Hard Times” when ALL the songs have etched themselves, for better or worse, into the grooves of my increasingly redundant little thought processes.
In the meantime, enjoy this flipcam video of “Road Zombie” recorded and live at Mulcahey’s pub in 2007. Feel free to listen over and over and over.