Darryl Worley started to gain a larger audience in 2002 when his second album, I Miss My Friend, brought him to the top of the country charts. So, even if he was on a career upswing prior to the release of Have You Forgotten? in 2003, it doesn't make this album and its title song feel any less than an opportunistic stab at riding war fever and patriotism toward superstardom. Consider this: Have You Forgotten? contains a seemingly generous 16 songs, but when the details are dissected, it becomes apparent that there are six songs apiece from Worley's first two albums, 2000's A Hard Rain Don't Last and 2002's I Miss My Friend, which constitute half of each record. That means that there are merely four new songs here, three of which are war-related (the other finds the singer stating "I Need a Breather," wishing he was wasting away in a Margaritaville, since he needs a break from "this angry boss man" -- he sure does "got some ways that the world don't agree with," apparently). Worley goes out of his way to align himself with the red, the white, and the blue, standing in front of the stars and stripes on the front cover and posing with troops on the back. Then, of course, there's "Have You Forgotten?," where Worley cheerfully flaunts his ignorance of international politics in a flag-waving fervor.
If Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue" made Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" seem complex and nuanced, Worley makes Keith seem worldly and wise. Worley twists every piece of logic and emotion regarding the War on Iraq and 9-11, treating the two as if they were interchangeable. First, he claims that "this war" is about fighting for "this piece of ground," something that is simply untrue. Then, he forgets that Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are not the same person (then again, polls indicate that a majority of the American population believe there were Iraqis on the 9-11 planes, when there were not), then makes a ludicrous leap in logic in claiming that protesters against the Iraqi War are saying we "shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden," an argument that has never been made. Worley is attempting to fuse the anger of Keith with the tear-jerking Jackson, and he's come up with an utter mess, something that feels calculated, not heartfelt. So, perhaps it's only appropriate that the title song on this disc -- which is more compilation than proper album -- and the haphazard, thrown-together, opportunistic nature of the record overshadow the material from his first two albums, the material that suggests he's a neo-traditional country singer with some real promise. Unfortunately, all that promise is overshadowed by his sour patriotic hucksterism on Have You Forgotten?