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Mike Ness - Cheating At Solitaire (Cover Artwork)

Mike Ness

Mike Ness: Cheating At SolitaireCheating At Solitaire (1999)
Social Distortion

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: TheTommunistThe Tommunist
(others by this writer | submit your own)

So I won't even bother trying to introduce Mike Ness. If you don't know who he is by now, you need to stop reading this, run to the nearest record store and pick up any and all Social Distortion albums you can find. Breaking away from Social Distortion in 1999, Mike recorded this solo album to ex.
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So I won't even bother trying to introduce Mike Ness. If you don't know who he is by now, you need to stop reading this, run to the nearest record store and pick up any and all Social Distortion albums you can find.

Breaking away from Social Distortion in 1999, Mike recorded this solo album to explore different styles of music that mean something to him. In Social D, he stuck mostly to punk rock, with the exception of 1992's fantastic Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, which had a very heavy country/honky tonk influence. Cheating at Solitaire picks up from this point and moves further away from the punk rock and closer to the country. Along the way, the album picks up some more influences, including a bit of blues and some greasy rockabilly.

The songs jump back and forth from portraying Mike as a heartbroken cowboy drinking outside the county jail to a greased up badass working on his hotrod. Some songs are filled with twangy guitars, some with saxophones belting out dark blues with Mike telling stories of past mistakes. The lyrics are full of references to lost loves and youthful rebellion. Through Mike's words, we see a man who has come a long way, who has matured and regrets some of his decisions that brought him to where he is today. Standout tracks would be "Cheating at Solitaire" and "Ballad of a Lonely Man", both of which lean more towards the country influence. "Cheating at Solitaire" is a slow, somber ballad, which peaks during the powerful chorus. "Ballad of a Lonely Man" feels a bit too upbeat to be considered a ballad, but also contains a great chorus, is filled with a country twang, and features a great guitar solo.

Along with a horde of his own songs, Mike provides several cover versions of songs that he loves. His cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, Its Alright" is downright fantastic, paying homage to everyone's favorite folk singer, all the while adding an energy that the original lacked. This is one of the best tracks on the album. On the other hand, Mike's version of Hank William's "You Win Again", while good, lacks a certain element that made the original so much more heartbreaking. Unfortunately these are the only two covers that I have any familiarity with the originals, so I can't really comment on the others.

There is one black mark on this album, and that is track 12 "I'm in Love with My Car". Now, I have no understanding of cars, so maybe I am a bit biased, but this song just feels overly cheesy. It fits the image of Mike Ness, the badass greaser, but whereas most songs are reflections, this is an ode to a piece of machinery. Musically, this is probably the hardest track on the album, but it just feels lacking.

So to recap: Mike Ness = talented punk rocker. Social Distortion = great punk band that introduced country elements on their 1992 album. Cheating At Solitaire = the logical sidestep for Mike Ness to further explore these country elements and introduce blues and rockabilly into the mix. "I'm in Love with My Car" = I don't even know where this one came from. This album is gold, and is highly recommended.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Social Distortion - White Light, White Heat, White TrashSocial Distortion - Somewhere Between Heaven And HRancid - Rancid (1993)Green Day - DookieStreet Dogs - Back To The WorldDag Nasty - Can I SayLeatherface - The Stormy PetrelMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyHüsker Dü - Metal Circus

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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.
thomasgun (November 29, 2006)

this album is great

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

hahahahah

gloryhole! that's great! this guy is wayyy overrated.

Anonymous (August 10, 2004)

the album cover looks like he's waiting at a glory hole for someone to stick their P.Ness in so he can do his job - working a glory hole is tougher than it sounds.

kipknot (August 10, 2004)

this is a fantastic album

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

"Come ON buddy...everyone knows that black people love chicken!"...anyways You forgot to mention that "Long Black Veil" is a Johnny Cash Cover....Muy Importante!

notfeelingcreative (August 9, 2004)

"Hand Williams is as Punk as Fuck and the Mike Ness cover is actually badass"

Who the fuck is Hand Williams?

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

P.Ness??

That is some of the funniest shit I've seen on this site. I laughed for minutes on that one.

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

Does Mike have a brother named, say, Patrick, Phil, or Paul? Cuz then said brother could make it big with a novelty act called P. Ness. Hahahaha!

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

"country music sucks"

what? country music is great. i love garth and alan jackson. 2 great contry legends.

opivykid (August 9, 2004)

First, you say "The songs jump back and forth from portraying Mike as a heartbroken cowboy drinking outside the county jail to a greased up badass working on his hotrod", but, then you say the song aboot the car comes out of nowhere... you'd think "a greased up badass working on his hotrod" would have a song aboot a car somewhere...

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

Pretty good cd. I haven't listened to it in a while though. Social d's new album better hurry up. Go matt freeman!!!!

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

"So I won’t even bother trying to introduce Mike Ness. If you don’t know who he is by now, you need to stop reading this, run to the nearest record store and pick up any and all Social Distortion albums you can find."

Shit.. all the record stores are closed right now..

I guess I'm not punk.. :(

With a name like ThriceEqualsGod you best believe not only are you not "punk" (which is a stupid played out argument anyway), but you are a gigantic tool

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

country music sucks. Rockabilly is just another way for people that like country music to pretend it's okay to listen to it. IT'S NOT OKAY!

Anonymous (August 9, 2004)

The score is for no mention of Misery Loves Company.

Bruce Springsteen does one of the best guest spots on an album ever. Ever.

thriceequalsgod (August 9, 2004)

"So I won’t even bother trying to introduce Mike Ness. If you don’t know who he is by now, you need to stop reading this, run to the nearest record store and pick up any and all Social Distortion albums you can find."

Shit.. all the record stores are closed right now..

I guess I'm not punk.. :(

Anonymous (August 8, 2004)

"Actually it would seem that being driven by fashion would lead one to like the band regardless of the label, as judging a band by its deeper and broader life choices, and there implications would seem to be a more mature thing than simply staying on the surface politics of music.

The complexities of the situation that music is created within (i.e. the label its put out on, the personal life of the artists themselves, the state of the world, so on) is part of how that music is expressed and judged. Its not "just music". If you just want music for music's sake, completely detatched from the concrete world its created from, open your mouth,
suppress your gag reflex, and just swallow."

So fucking what if it effects the music? Maybe some prefer more music than just crust noise or Phish jams... Look at the bands with real ideals... Their music isn't as good as bands who care more about the music than saving the trees... Sad, but true.

-BSD

Anonymous (August 7, 2004)

I love this record. I'm a huge Hank fan as well so this when this came out it blew my mind.

Anonymous (August 7, 2004)

"nobody touches mr ness!"

Anonymous (August 7, 2004)

Okay, I'm a little more sober...I'm not that angry, why would I be. But for some reason my post denies I'm a real reverend. Sometimes I lose myself.

Anonymous (August 7, 2004)

OH, to the perdon that made the Staind comment...You're so cool, I want to hang out with you. If there is a God in this world you will sent me your e-mail or phone number at rockabilly_reverend@yahoo.com
PS I'm not a REAL REVEREND.

Anonymous (August 7, 2004)

OK last poster...fuck you. Butt anyway this is a great album. And Hand Williams is as Punk as Fuck and the Mike Ness cover is actually badass/ "I'm in Love with my Car" is an old Social D song...re-vamped....I aree its not the best song on the CD but the rest is AMAZING!

Anonymous (August 7, 2004)

when did the lead singer of staind make a solo album?

-costanza

Anonymous (August 6, 2004)

"if the company that puts a band's record in stores is more important to you than the music the band makes. To me you're not a music fan then, your a little fashion bitch trying to look cool"

Actually it would seem that being driven by fashion would lead one to like the band regardless of the label, as judging a band by its deeper and broader life choices, and there implications would seem to be a more mature thing than simply staying on the surface politics of music.

The complexities of the situation that music is created within (i.e. the label its put out on, the personal life of the artists themselves, the state of the world, so on) is part of how that music is expressed and judged. Its not "just music". If you just want music for music's sake, completely detatched from the concrete world its created from, open your mouth, suppress your gag reflex, and just swallow.

wyzo shows up every 5 months to go on and on like a stubborn ninny, but i get bored, im sorry

recordings (August 6, 2004)

this cd is absolutley great. nice mix of different styles. the covers and the originals both are excellent.

reviewer: i admit the Hank cover is a little lacking...but seriously...look what you have to live up to when covering a song like that! and also, i shared your thoughts on "in love with my car." what the hell. skip it, i say.

nicely done review for a very well done cd.

Anonymous (August 6, 2004)

"What if I don't support corporate bands? What do I do then? Fuck major labels."

You've got a pretty fucking warped view of the universe if the company that puts a band's record in stores is more important to you than the music the band makes. To me you're not a music fan then, your a little fashion bitch trying to look cool.

Anonymous (August 6, 2004)

This score is for the reviewer telling me to go buy a SD album. What if I don't support corporate bands? What do I do then? Fuck major labels.

Anonymous (August 6, 2004)

Somebody should review that Social D live DVD. Social D's my favorite band, unfortunately I'm starving-ass poor and cannot afford it. I want to experience it vicariously. I went to the record store just to look at yesterday...'cause I think I'm losing my mind.

tahoejeff (August 6, 2004)

Cool...its about time someone reviewed this...really good stuff

mykindofmurder (August 6, 2004)

i never got into social D, but i can see myself appreciating this.

Anonymous (August 6, 2004)

"Under the Influences" is not as good. Its all classic country covers, a cover of "I Fought the Law" and a honky-tonk version of "Ball and Chain." Its only for those that can dig on old-school country, but deffinately worth a listen.

maverick (August 6, 2004)

Fuck, I forgot about this record. I need to go buy a copy, fuh rilz.

-Scott

TheOnetrueBill (August 6, 2004)

I listened to this yesterday. Love it.

How's his other solo album?

Anonymous (August 6, 2004)

Fantastic album! This was the soundtrack to my high school greaser years. My first tattoo is the Mike Ness logo.

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