Fallen on Hard Times
For those Social Distortion fans amongst us, waiting a few years between albums is par for the course.  There were eight years between White Light, White Heat, White Trash in 1996 and Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll (previously reviewed) in 2004, and then another seven before Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes dropped (hey, look at me using the hip lingo!) in 2011.

So, given that history of insufferable waiting, you'll excuse me for only just now, in 2012, reviewing the latest release — you can ask for your money back at the door if you find that this delay is not to your satisfaction.  (Keeping with the theme, this review is also late for my recent 2011 music roundup.  Triple win!)  To be honest, while HT&NR has been on my radar for a long time, I only just got around to purchasing it this year.  Since the armageddon is coming and all I figured I better use up my iTunes credit, lest it go to waste.  (I have it on good authority that post-Ragnarök it will be very difficult to download any music other than Justin Bieber.)

The album itself starts out with a hard-rocking 2 minute instrumental but from there tends toward a slightly slower pace than the previous two.  There's definitely a touch more blues & country influence this time around – you can tell because the iTunes reviews are full of people complaining that Social D have lost their way and don't sound the same as they used to.  These people are morons, as no band in the history of pop/rock/punk/alternative/anything has ever sounded exactly the same from one album to the next, especially one that has had as many line-up changes over the years as Social Distortion.  I love both of the previous albums in their own way – White Light, White Heat, White Trash is edgier and angrier, Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll is very slightly more mellow but still sounds best cranked as loud as possible.  This release turns the edginess down another step but I can already tell that it will grow to become a favorite album.

Although this album has a few different styles as compared to previous efforts (e.g. the choral backing tracks on California (Hustle and Flow) and Can't Take It With You, or the spoken interlude on Bakersfield) it's still a solid effort, and even on the cheaper non-deluxe version manages to clock in about 10 minutes longer than S,L,&RnR did which was one of my biggest complaints about that previous release.  The deluxe version of this one gets you another ten minutes of bonus tracks, rounding it out to about an hour.  If you want to be cool like Fonzie and buy it, it's available on iTunes in regular or royale with cheese deluxe versions, or on Amazon [although note that their deluxe version has one less track than the iTunes version, most likely because confusing the customer is the goal of any good Marketing executive in the music industry].

As an aside, I was incredibly disappointed that the Foo Fighters show we saw in November was at the end of their then-current leg and therefore one of the last ones before Social Distortion started playing the opening act.  The Foo Fighters put on an incredible show, but that double-whammy would have been insane.