Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

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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