Social Distortion - Social Distortion (Cover Artwork)

Social Distortion

Social Distortion: Social DistortionSocial Distortion (1990)
Social Distortion

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: CosCos
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This may be the defining moment for the California punk legends Social Distortion. Whether that's good or bad depends on you opinion, or perhaps your perspective. The Orange County boys' self-titled record has them perfecting their blend of punk rock with diminuative front man Mike Ness' country .
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This may be the defining moment for the California punk legends Social Distortion. Whether that's good or bad depends on you opinion, or perhaps your perspective.

The Orange County boys' self-titled record has them perfecting their blend of punk rock with diminuative front man Mike Ness' country and blues sensibilities. Throwing in the rockabilly image to round things out, Social Distortion founded a package that many, many fans and bands have imitated since.

Musically, this is far removed from the fury of "Mommy's Little Monster". Far from the wild abandon of Los Angeles-influenced hardcore, "Social Distortion" is contained, measured, and its all the right notes, right when and where they're supposed to be. "So Far Away" is the appropriate punky, enegetic opener, "Ball and Chain" is the sublime remorseful ballad (and makes for a fine drinking song) while "It Coulda Been Me", complete with its harmonica accomplice, takes the blues-punk hybrid the Clash started further. The la la la's of "Story of My Life" may seem light-hearted and tame, but they fit the record's theme quite well and give it more depth.

Ness manages to vary his lyrical theme throughout, but doesn't stray too far from the mysterious teengae rebel bit. "You know your friends talk bad about me/Your folks say its not supposed to be" on Let It Be Me and "He carried a switchblade knife... Likes to get into fights" toe the fine line between tribute and cliche. Again, Ness manages to redeem himself with a lovely Johnny Cash cover, "Ring of Fire" and the drug addled "Ball and Chain". The latter, a minor hit in 1990, must have sounded like a god-send on the radio, given that the hair metal plastic dinosaurs of the Sunset Strip were still lumbering about the musical mainstream. In one of its memorable lines "I'm lonely and I'm tired/And I can't take any more pain," Ness could have easily been describing his feelings for the sounds coming from the FM.

Unfortunately, it didn't change much. MTV didn't opt for switching the glam image for an Eddie Cochran one, and like the Stray Cats before them, Social D went underground, where a fanatical following met them and went along the next decade or so playing and recording sporadicly, spawning countless imitators, fashion-wise as well and musically, and generally haven't changed much.

Again, depending on your perspective, this is great or just terribly boring. But one can't deny that Mike Ness owns a piece of this punk rock subculture, that when he gets away from the cliche, he can write a damn great lyric, and most importantly, that this album is solid set of good tunes.

"I've sung the blues/For every broken hearted, love sick dream for you/I've paid my dues/Working hard, sweat, blood and tears for you"--So Far Away


People who liked this also liked:
Social Distortion - Somewhere Between Heaven And HRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeSocial Distortion - White Light, White Heat, White TrashThe Clash - London CallingOperation Ivy - Operation IvyBad Religion - SufferSocial Distortion - Sex, Love and Rock 'n' RollThe Clash - The ClashRancid - Let's Go

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
sean021122 (February 29, 2012)

Total fucking crap. Total fucking crap. yes total fucking cokc sucking crap. Overrrated, overprduced, overhyped piece of shit that further tarnished social d's legacy and recruited all the sad lame wanna be mall poser hot topic punks as listeners. As well as all the adult oriented radio baby boomers who wanted something melodic yet "edgy". Stick with mainliner/mommy's little mike ness/prison bound and you won't ever need anything else by this band. Your ears will thank you!

Alex101 (June 2, 2007)

Who cares? This album and Mommy's Little Monster are both classics!

Ike_Ness (August 2, 2006)

Played the fuck out of this cd. 100/100

liveinadive55 (October 14, 2005)

probably 3 of the top 100 all time songs are on this album in "Ring of Fire," "Ball and Chain," and "Story of My Life." He's right. They do make for good drinking tunes/

joeg (December 2, 2004)

This ain't no 7 in my book. Classic Social D, 10 stars no fucking doubt.

Anonymous (September 29, 2004)

This CD is what all others should be judged against...definition of a 10

Anonymous (June 4, 2003)

This is for that idiot two blocks below me. If you've never heard of Social Distortion you must be a fucking idiot and shouldn't even be on this website. Social Distortion is probably the band that got you into punk and you don't even know it. Ass!

Anonymous (April 16, 2003)

mike ness is the god of the punk world and dennis danell rest his soul is Jesus of the punk world. I ahve been listening to this album for years strait . Ive already warped one of them. Who ever gave this album half a star can suck my ass they r just a fucker with no goddamn taste.

Anonymous (April 16, 2003)

why do people keep reviewing bands that no one has heard of? I bet this band sucks bad!

FAKESMILE (April 16, 2003)


Anonymous (April 15, 2003)

No, a classic would be "Mommy's Little Monster". This is just good


Anonymous (April 15, 2003)

You should be shot for only giving this 3 and half,classic 5 stars -oldpunker-

Anonymous (April 14, 2003)

Bands that sound like Social D besides Automatic 7...

Welt & New Rock Militia (same singer)
The Accelerators (from San Diego, not Bruce Willis' band)
Black Monday

Anonymous (April 13, 2003)

The only bands that come to mind are Cadillac Tramps, who are more alike in spirit than sound. There's Automatic 7, who sound like a tribute band sometimes--they have albums on BYO and Vagrant (I think) that no one who has all their chromosomes should actually own. But I'm doubting you've heard much from either. SD is way bigger.


Anonymous (April 13, 2003)

is there any band (thats somewhat heardof) that social distortion kinda sounds like? and please dont tell me some crap like "no one, they're so unique." because not answering helps me more than that.

Anonymous (April 13, 2003)

okay, not that it doesn't suck that strummer passed away, but how long is that "Joe Strummer (1952-2002)" gonna be up there?

Anonymous (April 12, 2003)

Social D raised me. I can say, without a doubt, they are still my favorite band. Even though I kinda grew out of the teenage greaser stage, sometimes when I listen, I feel like breaking out the pomade.

Anonymous (April 12, 2003)

I'm partial to Mommy's Little Monster.

Anonymous (April 12, 2003)

3 and a half stars?!?

Anonymous (April 12, 2003)

i think so too

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

I think we can all agree that Social Distortion kicks ass.

TheOneTrueBill (April 11, 2003)

in absolutly no way are they assholes. i saw them, and it was the best show of my life. maybe some things Mike's said have sounded arrogant in the past, but check out the last two issues of "The Big Takeover" and you'll see how he really feels about the newer kids

waste_elite (April 11, 2003)

that review absolutely blew

and this album deserves a hell of a lot more than just a 7.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

Great band, great songs, great album.

Mr_Pink (April 11, 2003)

They have every right not to want you up on stage, start your own band if you want to get up there. The best stagedive moment I ever saw was at a Supersuckers show, Dan Bolton tripped some kid who was running across the stage and he fell flat on his face. Oh, and this is a great album.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

The only Social D album I have is White Light, White Heat, White Trash and that kicks ass. I am looking to get another one and am torn btwn this and Live at the Roxy. Also, I am planning to see them in CO this May, however I have heard they are kinda assholes when they play. Not that they put on a bad show, but if some kids get on stage they bitch at them and say stuff like: "this is where we work, we don't come to Burger King and jump up and down like idiots, do we? Get off!" While this may be a valid way for them to feel, it just seems a little douchebaggish. Any truth to this? (Even so, I am still there, they kick ass!)


evildeadalive (April 11, 2003)

For some reason I don't have this album yet. God. I am an idiot. Story of my Life is possibly my favorite Social D song ever.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

social d>>you. dammit-release the new record already! most anticipated album of the year.....actually 2nd most anticpated after the new limp bizkit record.

HeyBarmold (April 11, 2003)

This band changed my life. My brother bought me the cd when i was 9, I grew up on this album.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

Mike Ness is the man.

"id rather face ten men than have a broken heart"


Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

My SxDx top:

1) Social Distortion
2) White Light, White Heat, White Trash
3) Live at the Roxy
4) Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
5) Mommy's Little Monster
6) Mainliner
7) Prison Bound

Social ditortion is the BEST punk band ever.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

good review. i cant believe no one reviewed this before now.

TheOneTrueBill (April 11, 2003)

I can't say anything that hasn't been said about this band. Really, anything they touch is gold.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

Not my fav Social D album, but still really good. I got Live at the Roxy first though, so I tend to prefer those versions of the songs on here a lot. But it's SD, so you know it's great. I'd rank the albums:
1) Live at the Roxy
2) Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
3) Mommy's Little Monster
4) Social Distortion
5) White Light, White Heat, White Trash
6) Prison Bound
7) Mainliner

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

good review, the score should be better...like perfect better -bigjerk

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

Excellent review.


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