WLWHWT is currently the last studio recording made by the Los Angeles punk band Social Distortion. The title is a halfway clever joke on the Velvet Underground's 1968 record White Light/White Heat.
Social Distortion at this time was a band on a slow and gradual rise. Their first video on MTV had been "Story of my Life" in 1990, and the next single, "Ball and Chain", did even better. To this day, Ball and Chain is probably the best-known Social D song. Their follow-up record, Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, had sold a little over half a million copies and spawned another minor hit in "Bad Luck".
Social D had also picked up a new drummer. Punk veteran Chuck Biscuits, formerly of DOA, Minor Threat, and Danzig, replaced Chris Reece. Reece was a solid though unimaginative drummer who seemed to lack the necessary fire for the Social Distortion sound. This would not be a problem with Chuck Biscuits, who plays some of the tastiest punk drum licks you could ever hope to hear over the course of this record.
Social D's songs are not always terribly different from one another. This record breaks little new ground, but it is notable for the quality of the songwriting, and the furious drumming of Biscuits. It opens with "Dear Lover", where a slow, sludgy intro gives way to a typical impassioned and gloomy Mike Ness vocal. The melody and chord structure are among Social D's best, and Ness's guitar solo (with his signature shitty fake-Neil Young sound) is especially intense and unusually good.
These chords are so good that they used the exact same ones for the next song, "Don't Drag Me Down". The only difference is that it is played faster, and in a different key. Lyrically, it is a somewhat simplistic attack on intolerance that wouldn't seem out of place on a Bad Religion record.
Other standout tracks are the first single, "I Was Wrong", which received fairly heavy airplay at the time. "I Was Wrong" is an autobiographical tale of Mike Ness's younger days, and his regrets over them. "Down on the World Again" and "Gotta Know the Rules" are uptempo numbers where Chuck Biscuits gets a chance to do his imitation of Animal from The Muppet Show. "Under my Thumb" is a supercharged version of the Rolling Stones classic.
WLWHWT has a fairly uniform mood from beginning to end. Ness's lyrics are alternately gloomy and angry, and he occasionally writes a line that makes him seem like the Bob Dylan of punk.
WLWHWT was Social D's best-selling record, selling in excess of a million copies, but received average to poor critical response. Ness was accused of making a sellout record (yes, it was slightly more contemporary sounding than their other records), and Social D sputtered to a temporary hiatus in 1998, just after the release of their excellent live greatest hits record, "Live at the Roxy".
- Dear Lover
- Don't Drag Me Down
- I Was Wrong
- These Eyes
- Down on the World Again
- When the Angels Sing
- Gotta Know the Rules
- Crown of Thorns
- Pleasure Seeker
- Down Here With the Rest of Us
- Under My Thumb
Mike Ness--Vocals and lead guitar