Posted by:on June 17th, 2003
The John Doe Thing: Freedom is
Release Date: 2003
Review Date: 2003
John Doe has the golden throat of punk rock. I can’t think of anyone with a smoother voice. I wonder how he would have faired in the music industry if he hadn’t come from the roots of LA punk. Freedom is… picks up after the very excellent Kissing So Hard, which is a tough act to follow. Freedom is… is strong record, but it doesn’t have same abundance of hooks that Kissing So Hard has in spades. It’s even a bit more mellow than Kissing So Hard. Now that there is less high energy yelling going on you can really appreciate his voice.
John Doe may be softening up a bit but he still has his teeth, as evidenced in tracks like “Too Many Goddamn Bands” and “Ever After” and “Smile and Wave”. The whole album is packed with soulful rock and familiar rhythms that X fans will find enjoyable. In fact, there isn’t much on this album that isn’t a logical extension of X. Fans of the under appreciated Hey Zeus won’t get any argument here. If you’re getting tired of waiting for the next X record you can make due with the scraps of Exene’s voice found here and there.
My crazy friend Don says that Meet John Doe is better than Kissing So Hard. He’s wrong. Kissing So Hard is still the reigning champ, but Freedom is… is a darn close, just not as immediately likeable, and a bit more melancholy. John Doe seems to be doing what he wants without regard for what anyone else thinks. If that’s not vintage John Doe, than I don’t know what is. He also puts on a great live show with the aid of DJ Bonebreak on occasion. I recommend it heartily.
Note: Between Kissing So Hard and Freedom is… John Doe released an ep called For the Rest of Us on Kill Rock Stars. You can order it for 8 bucks (autographed!) from Mr. Doe’s self-maintained web site which is sparse and infrequently updated, but amusing none the less.
Spinart Recordings PO box 1798 NY NY 10156-1798
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