Social Distortion has been around since the late seventies and are still going today, but have only released a handful of records due to a long hiatus in the mid eighties and with lead singer/song writer and guitarist Mike Ness being in and out of jail. Anyways, this album entitled Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
released on February 11, 1992, is Social D's fourth studio release and second on a major record label(Epic Records). It was recorded at El Dorado Studios in Hollywood, California. This record is their follow up to the successful self titled album released two years earlier in 1990. Similar to the two previous albums 'Prison Bound' and 'Social Distortion', this album has songs ranging anywhere from punk, country, rockabilly, blues, and 50's rock and roll. However, this album has far more of a country rock feel to it more than any of their other records that really shows the bands influences displayed on tracks such as '99 to Life
and King of Fools
. The single which had the most air time back in its day and most successful single off this album is Bad Luck
. This is a solid release from a great band and features some great lyrics from Mike Ness like most of his songwriting.
Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
starts off with a great track, Cold Feelings
, one of the more punk rock-esque songs on the album. It also features an impressive guitar solo from Denis Danell which makes for a great way to start off the album. Following Cold Feelings is Bad Luck
, the radio single off this album. The song starts off with some clean guitar as many Social D tracks do, and then the drums and guitar kick in. Bad Luck is a very catchy song and has some of the best lyrics on the album, dealing with gambling. Though its is softer and more calm than Cold Feelings, it is not any less of a song. The third track on the disc is Making Believe
, a cover of an old country song. Built around some distorted guitar with Mike singing over it at first, until the song picks up the pace when a fast drum beat comes in. This track features some excellent guitar work, which is a pro throughout the album. Next is Born to Lose
, which sounds similar to the previous one at first, but soon changes pace. Born to Lose is more of a country rock song especially in the chorus. It is overall a good song and a very catchy one at that. Now we get back to some punk rock. You can tell from the first two seconds of this song it is going to be a fast punk song. Bye Bye Baby
sounds the most similar to their older work like on 'Mommy's Little Monster' save the lyrics, but still manages to maintain that rockabilly beat to it. The song is one of the heaviest on the album and, and gives a steady vocal performance from Mike with his snarling and raspy vocals.
The sixth song and the halfway point of the album is When She Begins
, a fast paced rock & roll song with a very catchy chorus. Though it is not as hard as theprevious track, it is done just as well making it a highlight of the album. Reece delivers one of his outings here too. I think the album takes somewhat of a step back on the second half of the album as it is not as good as the first half, still solid though. Track seven is 99 to Life
. It is very slow paced, and has a very country feel to it making it even more obvious the likes of Johnny Cash had influnces on the band. It is often regarded as one of the bands best rockabilly tunes and it has good lyrics about a murderous tale. Following 99 to Life is King of Fools
. It opens up with a quick drumbeat for only a few seconds until the vocals and guitar comes in. King of Fools is one of the shorter songs on the album clocking in at 2:50, which is good because it is an average song in my opinion. Sometimes I Do
picks up the pace after two mediocre songs. It has a fun chorus with the backing vocals effect over a heavy guitar riff that is consistent throughout the song making it is one of the best tracks on the second half. The second last song on the album is This Time Darlin
, a slow paced song with great vocals. A decent song but probably my least favourite on the album, as I feel it drags on a bit too long. The final track on Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell is Ghost Town Blues
. This song again expresses a strong rockabilly blues feel to it, complete with harmonica and Ness' snarling vocals, almost similar to Drug Train
, the album finale on their previous album.
As I stated earlier, this is a solid album that I recommend this album to any fan of Social Distortion or any fan of rockabilly or punk rock. It shows the many types of influences the band has and blends together nicely. However, if you are just getting into Social D, I recommend getting 'Mommy's Little Monster' or self titled and then this so you can ease into their sound casually.
When She Begins
Bye Bye Baby
Sometimes I Do