Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

It’s very unpunk of me to admit this but I’ve never really gotten into Social Distortion. I own and love their 1990 self-titled album but other then that, nothing. So context for Social D is an album that’s 21 years old. But I’ve listened to Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes constantly since Tuesday.

The album starts with Road Zombie, a pseudo Rock-a-Billy instrumental track. It’s a great track and a nice start to the record. And while it’s a nice album, and the songs on Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes are solid, it’s honestly a little boring.

While each song on its own is nice and enjoyable, as an album it doesn’t flow in any way that’s interesting to listen to. Each song blends into the next, each sounding like the track before it and I’m always surprised when the album ends.

Overall Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes has a nice bluesy tone to it, full of ballads. Only Machine Gun Blues and Alone and Forsaken have any punk attitude, the rest of the album relying on sentimental and reflective ballads to carry the record. The other moments that aren’t ballads (California Hustle, Can’t Take it With You) are rooted in deep southern blues/gospel/rock.

And while I think each song is good, either the way the album is constructed or just the fact that there isn’t a lot of diversity happening track to track, really bores me. Is Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes just a case of poor track order, probably. Good songs but I feel like this album could be better.


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