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Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

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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.

Customer Reviews

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

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.

Underrated

This album is probably not the starting point for those not familiar with Social D or anybody looking for a true "punk rock" album. But nevertheless it is a pretty good album--and I think a very underrated album--with several excellent songs. My favs on this effort would be: Making Believe, Sometimes I Do, and 99 to Life. Bad Luck, Born to Lose, and King of Fools are not bad numbers either. Although this album doesn't have any of Social D's big radio hits, in my opinion it holds its own top-to-bottom against anything else in their catalog.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Fullerton, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The enduring L.A. punk band Social Distortion has overcome numerous personnel shifts, the demise of the Los Angeles hardcore scene that spawned them, and the heroin addiction of singer/guitarist/bandleader Mike Ness to achieve a measure mainstream acceptance for their rootsy, hard-hitting punk without compromise. Inspired by the fertile L.A. punk scene, Ness formed the group in 1978 with drummer Casey Royer and brothers Frank (bass) and Rikk Agnew (guitar). When the brothers left to join the Adolescents,...
Full Bio