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  Freedom Is...  
  The John Doe Thing  
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John Doe was the bassist and one of the vocalists in X, who were a great punk band back in the day. Later X evolved into a more folksy rock band with strong lyrics and incredible singing. In this, John Doe's third solo album in the post-X world, he continues that tradition of "less punk, more rock", this time adding a little bit of the blues into the mix.

The result is a very traditional rock album, not seeping in the angst of his youth, but instead possessing a mature confidence of his ability to play while acknowledging a vaguely melancholy viewpoint on the world.

This might sound boring, but it's not. I mean, a lot of the normal rock that i hear on the radio in friends' cars just bores me to tears. This album doesn't. What is the difference?

I think it's this: John Doe is a suberb lyricist and a wonderful singer. His songs aren't just about the "guitar solos", instead there is actual substance to them. He's almost a country singer -- real songs about real life. But done with an honesty and an integrity which set it above the rest of the cheesey schlock that i hear.

For example, consider Someday / No Day. The guitarwork in this song reaches Night Ranger levels of hysteria in the middle, but John Doe's soulful crooning grounds the song, brings it back to reality, and makes it enjoyable. This is a good song to play loud on your car stereo while driving on a sunny afternoon.

Also noteworthy is the track A Picture Of This which features what sounds like sampled or programmed rhythms and John Doe singing in a slightly affected style that reminds me of some mid-80's act that i just can't pin down. Add in the swirling guitars and you have one fine tune.

So i give this album 4 sponges because it breaks no real ground, but it does what it does quite well. If you are a fan of John Doe, X, or rock in general, then this should provide you with some good listening.

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