Great, intense mid-1990s set
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 10/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The solo records released by John Doe beginning in 1990 deserve much better than they have received in terms of audience size and critical reception. KISSINGSOHARD (1995) and FREEDOM IS... (2000 -- see my review) especially, are just fantastic, among the best records of their day. The 10 cuts included in FOR THE BEST OF US were recorded in 1995 and 1996, soon after KISSINGSOHARD. Six were originally released as an EP called FOR THE REST OF US (1998), and now four more tracks from the sessions have been added. It's still short, but it more than makes up with quality what it lacks in quantity -- this music is every bit as good as what's on those 1995 and 2000 long-players.
Doe's thing is intense emotion, and he channels it through a great voice and a great, simple rock band. (I saw the John Doe Thing live in Salt Lake City in 2000, the FREEDOM IS... tour -- awesome show!) There's continuity with X, but Doe without Exene Cervenka is darker, more anguished, and dare I say it, more intense. I guarantee you would want to hear the rest of this disc if you heard "The Unhappy Song," which features a great guitar riff that sounds like it came from U2's THE JOSHUA TREE (don't worry, it's far closer to punk than Bono & Co.!). "This Loving Thing" is a beautiful ballad co-authored by Dave Grohl. And the set closes with a very relevant, blistering rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Vigilante Man."
Check out FOR THE BEST OF US if want music with a visceral kick, music that cuts through the fakery, lies and evil of America in 2006!"