The Distance was hailed as a return to form upon the time of its release and, in many ways, might be a little stronger, a little more consistent than its predecessor, Against the Wind. Still, this album has the slickest production Bob Seger had yet granted, and the biggest hit single on The Distance wasn't written by him, it was a cover of Rodney Crowell's "Shame on the Moon." Now, this wasn't entirely unusual, since Seger had been an excellent interpreter of songs for years, but this, combined with the glossy sound, signaled that Seger may have been more concerned with his status as a popular, blue-collar rocker than his music. Not that there's much to fault with the music, since "Even Now" and "Roll Me Away" are easily two of his classics, and he turns out craftsmanlike rockers like "Makin' Thunderbirds" and "Boomtown Blues" with aplomb. For all its attributes, it feels like a mirror image of Against the Wind, an album where the rockers, on the whole, wind up being more convincing than the ballads. Now, that doesn't mean The Distance is a bad record, since it isn't -- it's filled with first-rate heartland rockers -- but Seger at his best could balance rockers with ballads, or if he concentrated on rockers, it would be more ferocious than this. This album is simply solid, a nice addition to his catalog, but not a knockout.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine