Time just keeps marching on, doesn’t it? When Social Distortion released their debut LP, Mommy’s Little Monster, in June (the exact date couldn’t be pinned down) of 1983, it signaled an energetic movement in the SoCal punk scene. The most “traditional” of punk records in Social Distortion’s storied discography, Mommy’s Little Monster, is an adrenaline shot to the hip of slick guitar-driven hooks, paired with vocalist/guitarist Mike Ness’s trademark growl. The LP has been passionately restored to notoriety by Craft Recordings and their 40th anniversary vinyl reissue that hit stores today. The album features quick punk rock songs like “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You)” that while they seem raw on the surface, are packed with some breadcrumbs of where Social Distortion would take their sound for the next 40-plus years. The only single to be released, “Another State of Mind,” still finds its way into Social D’s setlist from time to time, and remains a punk scene favorite. Mommy’s Little Monster plays out like a band gaining their footing in the exploding punk scene of the early 80’s and still holds up to this day.
Other early songs on the front side like “It Wasn’t A Pretty Picture” live up to the title’s name by explaining what Ness found while walking around the streets at night, but the band turns the track on its head with the chorus of, “No one said life would be easy / Doesn’t mean that much to me.” It’s fairly simple, yet effective, in its song structure and provided a clear path forward for Social Distortion to take their sound on subsequent records. The brash, teenage punk rock of “Telling Them” gives a firm middle finger to the status quo, while “Hour of Darkness” features a memorable shout-a-long chorus of, “These sights and sounds are all around me / They grasp and they don’t let go / The sirens, the cries, the laughter and the sighs / I hear thee hour – My hour of darkness.”
The title track is a punk rock classic, and does a good job of encapsulating the sound that these four musicians went for on their full-length debut. “Anti-fashion” rallies the punk rock “purists” in a dramatic way with its great dual-guitar parts by Ness and Dennis Dannel, while drummer Derek O’Brien pounds away in time on the kit. The one-two gut punch of “All The Answers” and “Moral Threat” close out a memorable first step into punk rock immortality, and put the scene on red alert that Social Distortion was in it for the long haul.