With White Light, White Heat, White Trash, Social Distortion made a conscious attempt to cash in on the alternative "revolution" of the early '90s." Underneath the layers of glossy hard rock production, the band still hold fast to some of their punk roots, but too often they sound like a heavy hard rock band. Of course, that commercial sheen is intentional -- it's the only way they could appeal to the legions of post-grunge alternative fans who appeared since Social Distortion released Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell in 1991. The problem is, the band doesn't deliver enough songs to justify the production. Mike Ness still wails away and growls out confessional lyrics, but too often they are ham-fisted and clichéd, much like the music that supports them. The band sounds tight and muscular, but the songs have few hooks to make them memorable. In trying to appeal to a wider audience, Social Distortion have lost much of their identity on White Light, White Heat, White Trash.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine