Review Summary: Fairly unoriginal southern fried punk from old school guys who've been on the scene for a while.
Ok, so it's called "Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll" which, and I’m sure many of you will agree, screams cliché. I'll tell you something about this album; it never really beats back that initial impression. Now I know that there are a few hardcore Social D fans probably reading this review, and there' probably nothing I can say that will make the most strong minded ones change their minds, but it seemed like a good idea to review this from my p.o.v anyway.
When I give this album a listen, even now, something young inside of me probably makes me enjoy the initial energy presented by the opener "Reach for the Sky". It possesses a vaguely southern style of punk and has a rockabilly feel to it. But, all in all, the person music has made me become is annoyed at Mike Ness’s (this is correct grammar btw, tis a proper noun) over obvious lyrics with weak rhymes such as "Reach for the sky, I ain't ever gonna die" and "You can run, you can hide, just like Bonnie and Clyde". The predictable structure and old-styled riff hardly helps.
Things hardly get better as "Highway 101" begins. We're treated to a slow down of pace in the form of a punk ballad, about a highway dear to Ness's heart. The same southern fried punk is offered but more slowly, with clichéd lyrics coming out again, which have faux-romantic rhymes such as "I can still hear the mission bells and the train rollin' through your town, gonna leave this world behind, we're southern California bound." In general, this follows the suit of being slightly pretentious and nothing original.
This pattern continues with the tracks "Don't Take me for Granted" and "Footprints on my Ceiling" which posesses similar clichés. "Footprints..." adds a Hammond Organ and an "epic" guitar solo for the sake of giving it a more "slow song" feel but this hardly makes this album feel more exciting.
However my younger self once again presents itself in the fact that I enjoy both "Nickels and Dimes" and "I Wasn't Born to follow". "Nickels..." has a sing along character which includes a chorus made up of repeated "yeah"s and "na"s and the usual obvious rhyming couplets and I guess in this case, I find it nice to hear, enjoyable in a relaxing style. "I Wasn't Born to Follow" has rebellious lyrics which sort of make me feel 14 again. This is a double edged sword, as the track is enjoyable but I feel like it would make a lot more sense to me if I was still 14. I don't think this is necessarily because I’ve matured but because Social D don't sound as fresh as they once did (I bought this CD at 16 incidentally).
However from this point the remaining tracks follow a similar pattern as the first tracks I noted, they are quite unremarkable. The only real exception to this is the highly unoriginal semi-acoustic ballad "Winners and Losers".
Now I'm aware that this review may sound a bit slanted, sort of a like a guy who only likes weird music criticizing an album that's not trying to be weird for not trying to be weird. However, I think that it's more of a case of this album lacking freshness or originality. The better tracks, all 3 of them, show that these guys have plenty of energy, but it has lost shine compared to other tracks/albums by them I have heard and enjoyed. In general this album sounds like the band were trying to mature or something but lost a level of substance, however it should be noted I'm no Social D fanatic.