Another State of Meh
At some point in all of our childhood careers, we’ve had someone chide us with that tired maxim from Bambi: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone don’t say anything at all.” With that in mind, Social Distortion’s long-delayed album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes will leave you speechless.
In all honesty, Social Distortion was never quite as sweet as we would have liked them to be. At their best they’ve always been a bit of a “poor man’s Clash.” Even within the context of the re-emergence of rockabilly in the late 70s, there were always acts like the Cramps or the Meteors that vied harder for our attention. Despite it all, they’ve somehow managed to garner themselves a staunchly devoted following.
But let’s not forget that we live in a world where the Eagles’ Greatest Hits has gone 28 times platinum. Quality and popularity seldom ride tandem.
That being said, its not surprising Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes managed to crack the top ten on the Billboard 200. By combining the most popular elements of Green Day and the Who, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is geared for mass appeal. Add to the mix your typical pop-punk, Goo Goo Dolls-inspired lyrical fare about leaving the confines of suburbia, fighting for young love and my favorite gem, “Tell you something/that’s a fact/never see a hearse/with a luggage rack,” and you get exactly the kind of album that makes the bus ride to high school “totally shred.” For the rest of us though, it’s an infuriating potage of pseudo-punk at its most half-assed.
This is what you made your fans wait six years for: 21st Century Breakdown Part 2?! Frankly, Social Distortion, you should know better by now.