Social Distortion - Mainliner (Cover Artwork)

Social Distortion

Mainliner (1995)

Time Bomb

I bought this album for $8.99 new on vinyl and it's easily the best nine-something dollars I ever spent. What can really be said for a band that's been putting out records for nearly 2 decades? Not much, unless you're partial, like me. I don't often like to discard a band's later work in favor of exaulting their "good old days." And in the case of Social Distortion, doing so would be a statement that isn't generally favored by the majority of fans. It surprises me that Social D's later work is more popular in spite of this album's existence.

After one listen, one gets the feeling in the early days Mike Ness was a great deal less serious. The Mike Ness of today is a punk purist's nightmare, advertising various frivolous pieces of merchandise up for auction on ebay, and charging $25 to get into a show. Mainliner reflects the Social Distortion before all of this. An invaluable compilation which includes all of the rare singles, it spares nothing, including both the Posh Boy and 13th Floor Records' versions of "1945."

The entire album is a series of explosive songs, combining the droning melodies of L.A. punk with traditional rock and roll riffs; the latter which has become such an essential component in Social Distortion in the last ten years, the former which is hardly traceable anymore.

All in all, this album is a product of an essentially different band, and is a worthy purchase for any fan of Social Distortion and/or old school punk.