Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

Studio Album by released in 2011
Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes's tracklist:
Road Zombie
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California (Hustle and Flow)
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Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown
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Diamond in the Rough
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Machine Gun Blues
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Bakersfield
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Far Side of Nowhere
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Alone and Forsaken
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Writing on the Wall
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Can't Take It With You
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Still Alive
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Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes review

Punk complications

Once labeled punk-rockers, the musicians of the veteran band Social Distortion has long been trying to prove to the public and critics that there much more than just punk to their music. Of course, they came out of punk, and this is punk they have been attached to all this time. But what this remarkable US band offers is much more interesting and complex. After all, Social Distortion songs do not sound like the stuff by the genre monsters like Sex Pistols, or The Exploited. Simply put, punk is plainer. Well-known for their originality and creativity, the members of Social Distortion possess a good arsenal of performing skills, while average punk-rockers do not even like to practice their music and detest any knowing of music theory whatsoever. These men have long been adding into the primitive punk basis elements of more complicated genres always turning their experiments into something interesting and unexpected. Interesting and unexpected is their new album that surfaced at the beginning of 2011 under the title Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes.

Balance of easy and difficult

The new Social Distortion long played is opened with a nice instrumental piece called Road Zombie, which does not sound like the typical thing of this band. As if having warmed up now, the musicians continue the set with the rock-r-roll song California (Hustle And Flow). Later on, this one may be used as a template for all the other tracks here where the musicians break the balance between punk and rock-n-roll in the benefit of one or the other. The band heads towards the end of the record moving unsteadily as they shift the tempo and the intensity of their music. Some of the songs remind us of the ensemble as it used to be in zenith of their fame playing lovely, moderately aggressive, punk (Alone And Forsaken). On the other hand, there are sheer experimental pieces like the almost ballad-like Bakerfield, or the nearly blues-patterned Footprints On My Ceiling. As we get to the closing part of the record, we come across a bunch of lively tracks, Writing On The Wall, and Still Alive, which conclude the whole CD in a very cheerful mood. Social Distortion feel confident to insert into their songs solos, which are dirty enough for punk, and too good and difficult for it. The material of Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes appears excessively many-faceted and variegated, but this what the band has taught us to expect from them.

Social Distortion are ready to go on

Sure, prolonged intervals between studio releases may cost any performer too much. Social Distortion did not break their silence for long seven years before they presented Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes, which is no good. The musicians are lucky enough to still be interested in what they do and preserve their best professional skills, but it could have gone the wrong way. For having the band still capable of playing well we much thank their leader Mike Ness, who, unlike the ensemble, has not distanced himself from music for these seven years as he was engaged in his solo project. He is the man who initiates all the song-writing search, music sophistication and stylistic variety brought into the three-chord punk. Despite his severe health issues (drug trouble is what makes Ness so much like many of his fellows) he was strong enough to make Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes a piece of reality. Moreover, the lyrics of this album are not as depressive as the material of Mike’s solo albums ruled mercilessly by desperation and sorrow. There is no doubt that number one objective for the musicians of Social Distortion was to show to the public that they are still fit and ready to go on. They sure did it, but who wants to wait for another seven years to see them actually make a move on.

Alex Bartholomew (24.01.2011)
Rate review3.42
Total votes - 7