Crusty old Punks.
Social Distortion - Reach for the Sky Social Distortion are legends for a reason, and I'm not referring to their (admittedly legendary) substance abuse - the whole band is clean and sober now, as their new albums title Sex, Love, and Rock & Roll (Due next Tuesday, 9/28) would attest. Rather, as some of the leading lights of the early LA Punk scene, their blend of Blues, Rockabilly, Country, and punk rock puts them in the elite of that scenes more interesting and longevity oriented acts, along with the likes of X. Though the band has had more than it's share of personnell changes and deaths over the years, they've managed the rare feat of having never put out a bad album (probably due to the relative lack of recorded material). Well, they're back this year with a new lineup, a new album, and they're on tour now. And the new album shows the boys (old men?) from Social D to be as crusty and caustic and great as ever. "Reach For The Sky" is an exhilarating road trip sort of song. It's about leaving the past behind, living in the moment, and all sorts of other rock and roll cliches that have been done to death a thousand times. But if you notice that, you're clearly missing the point. Let the song roll over you, and roll out with it. This is music to pump your fist to on the highway. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
Social Distortion - Angels Wings (Acoustic) - the bonus track on Sex, Love, & Rock N' Roll is this, an acoustic reworking of the albums closer - reminiscent of the band legendary cover of Fulsom County Prison Blues, Social D have always been as much Johnny Cash as Johnny Rotten. The song is a spit in the eye of the old nihilistic conceit of far too much punk rock, full of optimism, of hope. Promises of marriage, proclamations of love - this is an older, wiser Social Distortion to be sure. They've seen the belly of the best, and battled their way out from the throes of addiction, of failure, of themselves. And while I can't neccesarily find it in me to rely on faith as Mike Ness certainly seems to have found his, the music it brings is just gorgeous enough that I can't bring myself to care. And when he proclaims that "I won't live or die that way," you can tell that the man saying it almost did do just that... that he understands exactly what he;s turning away from.
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