Thursday, January 06, 2011

[LIVE BLOGGING] Social Distortion | Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

Alright, let me preface this with the fact that Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is the first Social Distortion release to infiltrate my iTunes. That doesn't mean that I'm not a fan, can't be a fan, but it does mean this spontaneous, type-what-you're-thinking post may not be spot on. If my feelings change about any part of the album I'll do a follow up review. Now that I have this out of the way, lets listen to this sucker.

1] Road Zombie 10:29PM
Alright, I may need to go get my studded belt and black leather jacket out of the attic, these guitars and drums are really kicking. Every album should start off with this much energy. These guitar riffs would be too hard for those 12-year-olds playing Guitar Hero nowadays. Well, this instrumental track has really set the tone, let's see if they keep up the pace. 2/5

2] California (Hustle And Flow) 10:32PM
This one keeps up with the hard rocking tone "Road Zombie" initiated. The harmonies are throwing me off a little, kind of like they did in Heaven Is Whenever, but the woman has a strong voice, like the woman in Dark Side of the Moon. This solo is kick-ass. Southern is the only word to describe it. It's heavy, smooth, and dirty like grandma's biscuits and gravy. It rings in at exactly five minutes, but doesn't drag one bit. 4/5

3] Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown 10:37PM
This one is a little softer, in that there is a lack of distortion. This one has the rocking tone I've come to enjoy in the first two songs, but I am feeling a little bit too much diversion from rock-solid attitue. A little soft. However this would be a great song for a Valentine's mixtape for a girl that really appreciates music. This one was a little shorter than the other. 2.5-3/5

4] Diamond In The Rough 10:41PM
This song really finds it's skin a little after a minute into it, the beginning isn't anything to be excited over. The story is taking the spotlight on this one. The guitars aren't as heavy and the chorus is more melodic and harmonized than previous songs. I'm digging the drums but not the number of times he sings "yeah." 2.5/5

5] Machine Gun Blues 10:46PM
Back on track. The song is upbeat and the guitars are laden with grit and grime. The chorus is harmonized again, can't tell if this is really fitting for the band but I haven't listened to any of their former stuff so this may be right in character, if it isn't I'd say is a ploy to draw in a larger following. The lead singer isn't really yelling into the microphone, more like speaking, but he's going right along with the ebb of the guitars and it sounds great. This song is badass to say the least, the name says it all. 4/5

6] Bakersfield 10:49PM
Here comes the ballad. It's inevitable with an alternative-country or country-punk or whatever genre they could be pinned down into. The guitars are taking it easy but they reinforce the emotion the singer is putting into the song. The song is about a man trying to get home to his baby girl, classic topic but it's done right here. This 6:25 is the total length and with two minutes left everything slows and Mike Ness [lead singer whose name I just looked up] starts talking, a good change of pace for the song. 4/5

7] Far Side Of Nowhere 10:57PM
This one starts of with a strong, yet catchy, guitar hook. I'm really liking this one. It's not as motorcycle-gang-theme-song as the album started but it's rocking. This one is too short. It seemed to be over before it had really dug into where the couple was headed. I guess you can talk about where they are going since the title is "The Far Side of Nowhere." This one would be a great ending to a Valentine's mixtape. This one has got the album back on track. 4-4.5/5

8] Alone And Forsaken 11:00PM
A PIANO!! I'm excited to see how this will tie in with the song. Well as the song kicks in the piano has disappeared. I can really hear the organ in the chorus, an instrument rarely used to its potential. Here, especially in the solo, it exceeds it's potential. Ness is digging the vocals out of the deepest echelons of his stomach, they are strong,deep, and eerie, but then if you listen to the words, the singing change-up is a great addition to the overall feel of the song. 3.5/5

9] Writing On The Wall 11:08PM
Alright the piano is in the beginning of the song again. It blends in with the music perfectly. I'm sick and let's get some piano in here to make me better. It doesn't look like I'll be cured, it doesn't seem to have made it into the later part of the song. I guess the organ player has to choose between organ and piano throughout the song. This piano let-down has affected my listening. The guitar solo is just the thing the song needed. This is the third song over five minutes long. With 2 minutes left the bulk of the instrumentation fell out and the PIANO came back. It was slid in there very nonchalantly, alright. The wind-down took a little long. 3/5

10] Can’t Take It With You 11:13PM
This one is rocking. Female vocals in the course. Damn, this sounds like a Southern Baptist Gospel Choir. If they weren't repeating the same thing they may make more of an impact on the song. I like how Ness pops in with their singing, it's a good mix. A PIANO SOLO halfway through with some gospel choir "Oo Oooo" This is just what I've wanted. This one just sounds fun. I want to put the windows down and drive straight to the Southwest. The chorus gets a little repetitive, but the instruments really meld into a cohesive sound to produce a great bluesy song. 5/5

11] Still Alive 11:22PM
It's already coming to a close, bummer. This one is still as lively as any song on the album. Is this song a middle finger to ever band who has failed or just trying to flaunt the fact that the band is still kicking and selling out venues across the country. The vocals are a little soft, and the chorus doesn't meet its potential, it sounds more like a 00's punkcore band than the hard reputation they have created over the many many years they have been together. I'll have to say that the energy is impressive at this point in the album, but the lyrics are sub-par. 2/5

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