Customer Reviews: White Light, White Heat, White Trash
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on March 8, 2002
After six-years and two copies of "White Light, White Heat, White Trash", I think it's high time that I write a review for this masterpiece. What we have here is twelve tracks of rock and roll perfection. From the opening "Dear Lover" to the closing cover of "Under My Thumb", this is just simply GREAT music. Nowadays, people think that real punk rock is Blink 182 (don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong at all with their music) but the way I see it, they are nothing more than pop with loud guitars, rolling drum beats and HIGHLY adolescent lyrics that can actually be pretty funny. But if you want a REAL punk band that didn't spend their youth in upper-middle class Suburbia, then look no further. Social D is the real deal. In my mind, Mike Ness is the Hank Williams of this generation. No, they don't sound a thing alike, but both men put honest, heart-felt emotion into their lyrics and have lived the lives to back up what they're singing about. In other words, if you're looking for lyrics that are a little bit more complex than some guy bitching about his parents grounding him for the weekend, just pick up ANY Social D album. You'll thank me later.
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on December 23, 2002
When I bought this album I originally just bought it for the non stop aggresive thrasher song "Don't Drag Me Down", I soon found out that this album from the first song "Dear Lover" a song about painful relationships to the last song "Down Here (With The Rest Of Us)" about the hardships of life that this is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard. The music is pretty simple but the message in the lyrics speak to people who have not always had the easiest time through life. Mike Ness the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter has been through tough times in the past which makes his lyrics true to the heart and insprirational at the same time. The words he uses in all the songs make you open your eyes and think about life a little differently. I won't lie I have had many of the same problems as Mike Ness has had in the past but listening to these songs gave me hope and helped me realize that you gotta keep fighting...despite how bad it may look. I have every single Social Distortion album they have made and they are all excellent but this one stands out as the best. This album may or may not be for everyone but if you dig other Social D albums you should love this one.
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on April 8, 2004
Social Distortion was a band with one of the most enduring legacies of punk rock.The pain and suffering along with the working-class hometown spirit made them a band to cherish among all people of the disenfranchised order. In depression when hope seemed lost and I felt life had no meaning anymore, this album saved my life. I was a big fan of all kinds of groups of the punk rock culture, but also at the same time a little bit of a fan of the new pop-punk bands like MXPX and Blink 182(I'm sorry, and hate to admit) and neo-punk bands of the 90's like NOFX, Pennywise, Rancid, Green Day(the band that got me into punk in the first place),the Offspring and Bad Religion. What happened was very interesting. I bought MXPX's Let It Happen, and happened to step upon Track 4, a cover of SD's "Sick Boy". I soon went to the store and immediately bought their self-titled album. I couldn't believe how original and unique they were from all of the other bands I had listened to. They sounded like a mix of country and punk,as well as some Rolling Stones-style blues. I immediately fell in love, but I was still in a hard time in a situation too complicated and private to explain. Anyway, next I downloaded this album off of the internet, as well as Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell(also a very life-changing album for me, along with this one). Through this album I saw and heard something I could really relate too, and could feel the soul uplift from the darkness of depression. The music(in particular the riffs, like in I Was Wrong and When the Angels Sing)was so earth-shatering and inspiring to the ears. The whole expierience of first hearing it and feeling the emotion is unexplainable. I'm not kidding folks, this album could potentially change anybody's life. I recommend it to everyone who stumbles upon this review.
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on May 8, 2003
If Mike Ness has been guilty of playing the "I'm-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks" schtick too heavy-handedly or with too much of a smirk this effort redeems him. He bares the scars on his life here with a sincerity that a younger Ness perhaps couldn't muster.
This is a lifetime's sorrow and regret and anger set ablaze in forklift pallets and gasoline. It's you stropping your grandfather's straight razor all night long. It's a fresh slant six and a new supercharger. It's napalm.
The title says it all. With a scowl, not a smirk.
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on April 15, 2002
...I recall hearing "White Light White Heat White Trash" slagged off somehow as Social D's "sellout" record. And I know that a charge like that seems laughable these days -- when you can turn on "TRL" and see high-production-value videos from Sum 41 and Alien Ant Farm, or open up "Cosmo Kids" and see glossy photos of Sugar Ray and Blink 182, while this band still soldiers on with the brief mainstream glimmer becoming ever more of a memory. But I don't feel like getting into another rant about what's punk and what's not. I mean, if you're reading these words at all, then your mind's probably close to being made up anyway, isn't it?
Just about the only excuses that I can see for possibly calling this record a "sellout" (besides the fact that it's on a Sony label -- which the band vacated a couple of years later anyway) is the relatively slicker production and, if you REALLY feel like stretching logic, the fact that it sounds a bit more "punk" (and less rockabilly) than what the band had been offering of late. It's very loud and very raucous, and I think it may have even blown a speaker in my headphones the first time I heard it. But, even still, if "White Light. . . " were merely another loud punk record, then there'd probably be little more reason to play it except as a soundtrack for getting drunk with friends and maybe getting into another stupid little fight. And at least I myself can say, after playing this record for five years, in three apartments and on two continents, there's definitely something in this music much deeper than all that.
The best thing about this record is that, like a lot of Social D's music (and Mike Ness's music itself, come to think of it), you can listen to a lot of the songs no matter which side of the struggle you're on. When the anger's really burning inside and you know you're not going anywhere, there's "Down on the World Again." When the smoke clears and you feel like trying again, there's "Crown of Thorns." When you know you're destroying yourself and don't even [care], there's "Pleasure Seeker." But, then, for obvious reasons, there's "I Was Wrong." And if you're in a love that has such powerful control over you that you don't even know what to call it, there's "Untitled" (which, personally, always gave me the same chills as "Another State of Mind"). When it gets to hurt too much and you just want the hell out, though, there's "Dear Lover." (And I'm not trying to be all facetious by writing these songs off into superficial categories, either. It's just nice not to have a record ruined because it reminds you of something from the past too much.)
Of course, there are other things, too. "Don't Drag Me Down" and "Through These Eyes" have always been the songs that have screamed at the world for me. The hidden version of "Under the Thumb" isn't their best, of course, but it's still somehow gratifying that they've lasted long enough to be playing that song still today. And I won't even get into how it feels to hear Dennis Danell play on "When the Angels Sing," knowing that within a couple of years the song would become his eulogy.
On the whole, it's definitely a "mature" punk record compared to a lot of other things out there -- especially today. But, then again, once all the tallies are counted, it probably won't seem as dated in the end, either. It's just amazing, and that's all there is to it.
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on February 25, 2005
The reason it has taken me 8 1/2 years to write a review for White Light, White Heat, White Trash, is because I've been doing nothing but listening to this album the entire time. SxDx have yet to let me down, and this one is no exception. From the opening in-your-face hard rock triumph to the bonus cover of Under My Thumb, this album just rocks the hell out of you and doesn't let go.

Dear Lover- The perfect "first song." No better way to start an album than by making jaws drop with a song like this. Hard, Edgy, Punk, and magnificent solo.

Don't Drag Me Down- The drums bring in this one and don't let go throughout the entire song. Great chorus, bridge, verse, solo, umm well pretty much everything.

Untitled- This one is a little slower and one that I sometimes skip through, although still great. Chorus is cool.

I Was Wrong- The Radio One. I must thank this song, because I didn't really know SxDx were still around til I heard this song circa 1996. The perfect song when you're in a bad mood and need a song to jam out to.

Through These Eyes- Being a drummer of 13 years, I appreciate the insane cymbals at the end. Love it. Gave me a bunch of ideas on what to play on drums through the years. Fast song, picks you up, and rocks you out.

Down on the World Again- Another take it or leave it song. But like I said earlier all songs on here are great.

When the Angels Sing- What unfortunately will turn out to be the song associated with Dennis' untimely death. Originally written for Mike's grandmother, this song is anything by sad.

Gotta Know the Rules- Love this one. Chorus is very fast and catchy.

Crown of Thorns- A lot of other reviews don't give this one a lot of credit. This is one of my favorites. Not as hard as several others, but still as intense.

Pleasure Seeker- I used to not get into this one, but the more and more you hear it, the more and more you love it.

Down Here with the Rest of Us- Personally I think this is the weakest track on the album, just doesn't do much for me.

Under My Thumb- Heaven's to Betsy, this is ten times better that Mainliner's version, and like 12.5 billion times better than the Rolling Stones.

W.L.W.H.W.T. is by far SxDx's hardest rocking album as well. Mainliner & Mommy's Little Monster were more of straight punk/rock albums, Prison Bound was a Western/Rock album (title track and Lost Child still my all-time favorites) Self Titled was their introduction to main-stream rock radio and had some phenomenal songs, Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell sounds much like Mike's future solo efforts, and this one is just a hard rock classic-in-the-making. Thank You Chuck Biscuits. Chuck brings in his Danzig-esque style to what I believe is Social D's greatest line-up of Mike Ness, Dennis Dannel, and John Maurer.

White Light White Heat White Trash has lived in my player for these past 8 years. I urge anyone who doesn't have it to get it and have it live in your player as well.
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on October 7, 2002
Once again Social D ofers up a fine collection of heartful songs for your listening enjoyment. Mike Ness is the Merle Haggard of rock music, painting a portrait of life we seldom can bear to see. With every guitar lick and introspective word, Social D forces you to look deeper into what makes Highly Recommended. "Must Have Recording."
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on July 21, 2003
Social Distortion is a great band, and this is definitely an album you should add to your collection. Now, the songs aren't quite the same style as the rest of the songs in the social d collection l; but, they still rock. The only difference is that they don't have as much rockabilly influence in there; it seems to be strictly punk based. The songs are catchy, and straight to the point. Topics include poorness, pain of losing love, society ruining everything, and mostly stuff like that. Oh, there is also a cover of under my thumb by the rolling stones. I like social d's version better. Old style coolness with a modern slant on it. I recommend it. Take care.
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on June 14, 1998
With their recent album, "White Light, White Heat, White Trash", Social Distortion has finally come of age. Singer/Songwriter Mike Ness has matured a great deal in the past few years and this is reflected in the introspective, hard-edged and invigorating sound he and the band provide on this album. Following a serious heroine adiction--which included numerous run-ins with the law and a stint in prison--Ness was 'awakened' by his conversion to Christianity. Don't fear, however: this album is not a mechanism for preaching as, say, Bob Dylan's 'Saved' is. Rather, Ness is *emotionally* invigorated by his new-found beliefs and his spirituality and self-actualization result in insightful, provoking lyrics. "White Light, White Heat, White Trash" has a unique energy to it. It is at once gritty and uplifting--a combination which is hard to find in today's music and which is pretty awesome to listen to. The album's underlying theme is a simple, common-sense awareness of the problems plaguing today's society and the struggle of the lone individual to attain *personal* salvation. Just because the world is a mess, Ness says, you can still save yourself and others if you're aware. Goodness is a personal thing. This album has an amazing energy--one I haven't found in a long time in rock/alternative music. I fully recommend it, athough it may take a few listens to be appreciated. After a while you'll find yourself playing it over and over again. So if you like good lyrics and a strong emotional current in your music you'll love this cd!
Tom Jacobs
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on March 26, 2000
Shed of the punk-a-billy of earlier efforts, Social Distortion has a created a truly great 90's punk record. The songs grap you and the lyrics hold you. Mike Ness write's with an inspiring level of honesty. The album's most commercially succesful track "I Was Wrong" is evidence of this. But the whole album is just good catchy punk with a slight air of gloom and fist shaking at the typical American right wing institutions "I'm gonna go the White House and paint it BLACK" good line!
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