John Doe – “A Little Help” ft. Chan Marshall (Singles Going Steady)

John Doe moves away from the punk sounds of X to a solo career more geared toward bluesy roots rock.

Chris Ingalls: After all this time, John Doe has earned the right to take it easy. Moving away from the punk sounds of X to a solo career more geared toward bluesy roots rock, he seems to enjoy settling into something considerably more laid back. Here, barroom piano and aching steel guitar anchor this lovely track. Doe’s voice is well-worn and relaxed but never complacent. “A Little Help” is a simple, gorgeous country ballad and Chan Marshall’s harmonies provide the perfect boost. [8/10]

Pryor Stroud: Breezy, warmly bucolic, and touched with a tremulous slide guitar melody that erases the difference between a ray of sunlight and a stream of water, John Doe’s “A Little Help” is a country-kissed ballad overcome by romantic despair and possessed by a particular strain of small-town loneliness only identifiable by those who have felt it. As Doe sings, his voice a placid median between moody singer-songwriter and doe-eyed soft-pop troubadour, it’s easy to envision him walking through the streets of a neighborhood where he once found passion – a feeling that has now vacated his vasculature entirely. “Help! / I need somebody / Help! / Not just anybody”, Lennon belted feverishly in 1965, but in “A Little Help”, Doe trades this emphatic shout-supplication for a tentative, gentle-voiced question: “Help me / Won’t you help me?”, he asks, a sequence of raindrop chords behind him, and even though he doesn’t reach for Lennon’s volume, you can still feel the same heart-clenching desire embedded in his voice. [6/10]

Jedd Beaudoin: John Doe keeps getting better it seems and this is a fine example of that. Chan Marshall has always remained an enigma to me but this tune could be the one that breaks it all for me and makes me love her once and for all. [8/10]

Chad Miller: Nothing too special here. There’s not a lot in this song that stands out, and the verses drag on. The chorus isn’t all that exciting either, but it’s definitely an improvement. The short but sweet build up into the final chorus was a nice moment though. [6/10]

SCORE: 7.00