• Record Label: Epitaph
  • Release Date: Jan 18, 2011
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Apr 12, 2011
    80
    Mike Ness and his men still have those rock 'n roll blues. [Feb. 2011, p. 106]
  2. Feb 23, 2011
    80
    This most stylish and once troubled of bands sound like artists still in search of something new. And this new album is well worth the wait. [15 Jan 2010, p.52]
  3. Jan 21, 2011
    80
    There's only one new member since Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, but it won't show, as all members play their part like well-taught theater kids in a Stephen Sondheim musical.
  4. Jan 18, 2011
    75
    You can tell Ness is still getting comfortable revealing that side of his artistic persona; most of the song's words are self-help boilerplate meant to keep you on the surface of his thoughts. But the music provides a way in.
  5. Jan 14, 2011
    75
    There aren't many punk stalwarts who can weave a tale of being down and out quite like Mike Ness, and for the most part he's in top form on this seventh studio release from Social D.
  6. Full of heart and soul, it's clear the band is putting in a daily grind and continue to impress in terms of ability & energy - it simply lacks the hooks, the feeling and everything we've previously seen in stellar fashion from a legendary band.
  7. Jan 20, 2011
    70
    Hard Times wears that wisdom almost too well. With explicit nods to the Stones, Hank, and Bakersfield, the album makes clear that Social Distortion's true subject is now rock 'n' roll itself, which serves as Ness' inspiration as well as his salvation.
  8. Jan 19, 2011
    70
    A new Social D album is always welcome, even if Ness' advance age is showing now more than ever. [Feb 2011, p.90]
  9. Jan 18, 2011
    70
    Social Distortion sounds just as you would expect on Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, but that's to say they sound like a fine and fierce rock & roll who have beaten the odds and stayed around to keep making music long after many of their peers gave up, and the commitment that holds them together can be heard bubbling under each tune.
  10. Jan 18, 2011
    70
    Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is a solid reboot for Social D, with singer and songwriter Ness navigating the current lineup of the band through a churning confluence of Stones-y blues and country twang.
  11. 70
    It might not end up being one of the best albums of 2011, but it's still worth your time (and it was certainly worth six years to Ness).
  12. Jan 14, 2011
    70
    Social Distortion are clearly unhurried by the passage of time and passing trends. And it shows, as this is a fine addition to their canon and proves they're full of a very important quality: life.
  13. Jan 14, 2011
    70
    This record manages the remarkable feat of balancing true integrity with universal appeal.
  14. Sep 13, 2011
    67
    Ain't nothing fancy about these nursery rhymes, just blaze-of-glory guitars and busted-dream lyricism from the jailbait-tight godfathers of melodic punk squawk.
  15. Jan 18, 2011
    67
    Social D has tapped ever deeper into its Americana roots while giving Ness plenty of grease for his gruff, rough-and-tumble confessionals. Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes, the band's seventh album, doesn't poison that well--but it comes close to exhausting it.
  16. Feb 1, 2011
    60
    On their sharpest disc since their commercial peak in the early Nineties, Mike Ness confronts a trail of devastation, over a melodic tumult steeped in rootsy allusions ­"Gimme Shelter" gospel singers, gritty balladry.
  17. Jan 24, 2011
    60
    Ness' songs tackle his experiences with hard, unforgiving honesty. [Feb 2011, p.99]
  18. Jan 20, 2011
    60
    This is his first time as producer, and you could argue that he neutered the band's crunch to a degree. But it fits with the album's mature mood.
  19. Jan 18, 2011
    60
    Social Distortion still hit as hard as they ever did - barring the obvious newfound musical influences. Anyone not yet convinced by Social Distortion probably won't find new evidence for greatness here, but for longtime fans, the six-year wait is more than worth it.
  20. Feb 1, 2011
    45
    Hard Times… unfortunately spends most of its running time inadvertently showcasing the delicate difference between stylistic variation and tonal inconsistency.
  21. Jan 18, 2011
    40
    Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is throwback after throwback, the album where the roots-rock traditionalism that has always been the counterweight to Ness's punk modernism finally comes crushing down on the whole Social Distortion enterprise.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Feb 1, 2011
    8
    Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes brings Blues-Influenced Punk music back to it's basics, stripped bare and re-imagined from those earlyHard Times And Nursery Rhymes brings Blues-Influenced Punk music back to it's basics, stripped bare and re-imagined from those early foundations. A terrific album, and a real stand out for the band. Full Review »
  2. Aug 31, 2012
    10
    Another great worl by Social Distortion. Their music is wonderful, again, after the 2004 masterpiece Sex Love And Rock n Roll. Machine GunAnother great worl by Social Distortion. Their music is wonderful, again, after the 2004 masterpiece Sex Love And Rock n Roll. Machine Gun Blues and Bakersfield are absolutely great, and the rest is good stuff.
    I hope they'll release another album very soon. I'm sure it will be great, too.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 23, 2011
    9
    I was really surprised by how good this record is. I had not expected much but it was great to hear some actual refinements in their sound. SoI was really surprised by how good this record is. I had not expected much but it was great to hear some actual refinements in their sound. So much better than their last effort. I will play this one repeatedly. Full Review »