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Forever Hasn't Happened Yet

John Doe

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Album Review

Since John Doe left active duty with X, he's released a series of solo albums that, in a variety of different ways, have drawn many listeners to the same conclusion — he's still a superb singer and a strong songwriter, but there's just something missing from his work on his own, which lacks the force and resonance of his music with X. It isn't necessarily tied to the fact that he doesn't rock as hard, given how powerful his work was with X's acoustic side project, the Knitters, and it shouldn't be a matter of not having good collaborators, as Doe's 2005 solo set, Forever Hasn't Happened Yet, boasts an impressive set of talented guests. Longtime colleague Dave Alvin adds guitar and vocals to three cuts, Neko Case contributes a strong and sexy backing vocal on "Hwy. 5" (co-written with Exene Cervenka, and not coincidentally the most X-like song on board), Grant Lee Phillips lends splendid harmonies to "Twin Brother," the criminally underappreciated Cindy Lee Berryhill shines on two songs, and Kristin Hersh sounds like a force of nature on "Ready." Doe himself sings beautifully throughout, and there are a few top-shelf songs here, especially the evocative "Twin Brother," the graceful "Your Parade," and the bitter charge through "Ready." But ultimately, too much of Forever Hasn't Happened Yet is made up of songs that don't quite hit their target, either musically or emotionally; it's full of fine moments, but doesn't cohere into a solid whole, though most of it is good enough to keep hope alive that Doe will bat 1.000 next time he heads into the studio.

Biography

Born: 1954 in Decatur, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As one of the founding members of the Los Angeles punk band X, John Doe was one of the most influential figures in American alternative rock during the early '80s, but when he launched a solo career in the early '90s, he decided to pursue a rootsy, country-rock direction instead of continuing with punk. X's latter-day albums exhibited a rockabilly...
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Forever Hasn't Happened Yet, John Doe
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