11 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Social Distortion’s 1992 album Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell is in every way a worthy sequel to the band’s self-titled breakthrough album from 1990. At a time when the music industry split between hair-metal theatrics on one side and Seattle grunge on the other, Social Distortion showed that there was a different way to make big, loud rock without conceding to trends. Producer Dave Jerden emphasized the thick, propulsive sound of the band’s guitars while vocalist/songwriter Mike Ness had finally grown into his voice, the aural equivalent of supple, cigarette-stained leather. “Bad Luck” and “Born to Lose” epitomize a style that, for all its surprising simplicity, is unique to Social Distortion. The band retrofitted country and blues forms with big-block engines, and the result was traditional rock music without any pretense—an accomplishment harder than it sounds. Ness’ singular ability to be sweet, weary, and dangerous at once is captured on “99 to Life,” “Ghost Town Blues," and “Making Believe,” the last of which is a marvelous remake of a 1955 country tune originally by Kitty Wells.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Social Distortion’s 1992 album Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell is in every way a worthy sequel to the band’s self-titled breakthrough album from 1990. At a time when the music industry split between hair-metal theatrics on one side and Seattle grunge on the other, Social Distortion showed that there was a different way to make big, loud rock without conceding to trends. Producer Dave Jerden emphasized the thick, propulsive sound of the band’s guitars while vocalist/songwriter Mike Ness had finally grown into his voice, the aural equivalent of supple, cigarette-stained leather. “Bad Luck” and “Born to Lose” epitomize a style that, for all its surprising simplicity, is unique to Social Distortion. The band retrofitted country and blues forms with big-block engines, and the result was traditional rock music without any pretense—an accomplishment harder than it sounds. Ness’ singular ability to be sweet, weary, and dangerous at once is captured on “99 to Life,” “Ghost Town Blues," and “Making Believe,” the last of which is a marvelous remake of a 1955 country tune originally by Kitty Wells.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
106 Ratings

106 Ratings

Greg in Chicagoland ,

One of the best albums you never heard.

I worked in college radio when this release came out and we were all over this in a big way. What killed the commercial success of this and some other albums that came out at this time was the fact that both U2 and REM had releases out at the same time. Now if your college radio, you only have so many slots in your rotation, but if you got a major act sucking a space for a long time, some things get lost in the shuffle. But you can realistically count "Somewhere" right up there as one of the top 5 albums of '92. Oh, remember that Bob Mould's "Sugar" was also released as well.

As a side note I saw Social Distortion in Columbus, Ohio, when they were supporting this album, and they were the real deal. I don't think anything they did before or after comes close, so the review was correct in my opinion that this effort was their high water mark. You don't see too many times where just about every track is a winner.

If though you wanted to try out a track or two, try 'King of Fools,' and/or 'Making Believe.' 'When she begins,' and 'Born to Lose' are nice additions.

And if you would like some slower, even more angst ridden tracks from front man Mike Ness, grab the title track from his solo work, 'Cheating at Solitare.' You'll never get depressed again. - Out

Miles12287 ,

Great Mix of Genres

I only recently found Social D, and I am 19. I had grown weary of traditional country and was looking for something hard edge. These guys fit that mold perfectly, they don't adhere to one genre. Their sound is purely theirs. It is great to find a band I can listen to that melds Ramones and Hank Williams together, very few can do that well.

GreaserStar ,

Tough Music For Toughs

I bought this album at 17 years old and it still brings the best emotion to light. Like Mike Ness said,
"It's like Hank Williams got into a car crash with the Ramones." This Time Darlin' is for the moments of when you know its over between you and your girl. Born To Lose is great soundtrack for the ones who feel powerless. Plus, the album is a great late night my-ex-is-getting-married-soon blues.

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