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Social Distortion's fourth full-length album, released in 1992. Like most of Social D's later work, it's an underrated masterpiece. Frontman Mike Ness took the band in an entirely new direction, into the doomy rockabilly only hinted at in earlier songs such as Prison Bound, Ball and Chain, and It Coulda Been Me.
Of the ten songs, only three move at a speed above a sludgy crawl. Two are covers, Patsy Cline's Making Believe, and an ancient and obscure rockabilly track called King of Fools. The record opens with Cold Feelings, a rapid and relentless examination of Mike Ness's depressive tendencies ("Don't wanna feel.....cold winds blowing through me like an empty touch"). This may be Social D's best three-minute song ever, a near-perfect blend of gloom and aggression. Next is the "single", Bad Luck. This was recorded separately from the rest of H+H, and the mix is noticeably different, with the bass + drums almost rising above the trademark Social D wall of guitar. The Patsy Cline cover is done well, similar to their earlier explosive take on Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, and Ness sings it very pointedly ("Making believe that you still love me / is leaving me alone and so blue").
Social D then dispenses with the hits and serves up five straight cuts of dark and lonesome, beginning with the autobiographical Born to Lose ("your mama said I was a loser, a dead end cruiser, and deep inside I knew she was right"), which is memorable for the devilish glee with which Ness spits out a line like "You know I was better off dead", and Ness's lead guitar, which isn't the most technically proficient, but always seems to find the exact right note. 99 to Life is a darkly humorous track sung from a prison cell; Ness's comically unenlightened narrator complains of lonely weekends and lonely nights, never quite realizing it's his own fault for stabbing his lover to death ("I wish she could be here, if she only could, but instead she's lying in a puddle of blood").
The record's closing track is This Time Darlin', Social D's first and only straight-out ballad. It's a typical Don't Think Twice It's All Right leaving song-- Social D, throughout their career, could perform cliched material with so much sincerity and skill that it sounded new-- against heavy, ass-dragging minor chords ("down the lonely stairs, a suitcase in my hand, misery can be a heavy load"), and it closes the record on the correct note of gloomy resignation, such that the CD-only bonus track, Ghost Town Blues, feels like a bad afterthought, a shocking return to the averageness of the earlier records.
1. Cold Feelings
2. Bad Luck
3. Making Believe
4. Born to Lose
5. Bye Bye Baby
6. When She Begins
7. 99 to Life
8. King of Fools
9. Sometimes I Do
10. This Time Darlin'
Mike Ness--Vocals and Lead Guitar