1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Doors [Expanded] [40th Anniversary Mixes] (Audio CD)
The Doors first album was a revelation in many ways; it introduced the world to Jim Morrison the first real front man, it took rock'n'roll excess and myths to new heights, it taught a general of young artists that poetry and cool go hand in hand pretty well, and opened the `doors' to some drug fuelled musical excellence. Censors, parents, and suited types were shaken out of their safe middle class ways and controversy seemed to follow every performance; The kids loved it. While some claim that the album has dated quite badly when compared to others of the same time, the passion and wit, the charm and cynicism, and the music still stand up as well as anything new. The difference is that this will still be heralded as a classic in another 40 years.
`Break On Through To The Other Side' opens the album in a chemical mixture of jazz, blues, and over the top rock. It remains one of the band's signature songs featuring all of their trademarks- organ solo, Morrison screams, controversial lyrics, and also has one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in history. The drums keep things moving at a high tempo, building up to a frenzied climax. It is the archetypal rock opening track.
`Soul Kitchen' opens with some seriously funky organ playing before Morrison drawls mystically through monotone verses. Morrison unleashes his inner.... Morrison for the chorus, yelping demonically before the rest of the band crusade through a quick, controlled, chaotic center before Morrison gives a Cinderella closing verse.
`The Crystal Ship' showcases Morrison's softer side. It is a love song with typically dark lyrics and mournful feel due to Morrison's tone and the dual piano and organ. The song ends with a louder flourish becoming a more lust fuelled shanty, but it is still a tender ballad.
`Twentieth Century Fox' is another quickfire song, ideal for the charts, charting Morrison's tale of a modern lady. Decent melodies and playing, but not a lot more to say about this one.
`Alabama Song' is one of the best covers the band did, a bouncy, jangly rhythm that wouldn't sound out of place either in a circus or on a Parisian street at 2.30am when the ground is littered with winos. Morrison sings in a drowsy, drunk style which suits the song, and the band's image perfectly. It is a light hearted, fun song which to some extent rescinds the overall darkness of the album.
`Light My Fire' may be the band's biggest, most famous song mainly because of the success of several cover versions. This shows the strength of the writing but as with most things the original is the best. Morrison's lyrics are plain and simple with the odd censor wetting part, but it is the melody and the extended solos in the middle which truly make the song a classic. These are usually cut from covers but without these it just becomes a fun pop song. Leave them in and we have the band's first (and one of their finest) epic.
`Back Door Man' sees Jim rip several decades of Blues to shreds. Opening with the sound of Jim loosening his throat, body, and soul it is a slow paced stomper, puttering like a broken engine. With some hilarious lyrics, a sludgy guitar solo, it is even dirtier than the Dixon/Wolf original.
`I Looked At You' sees the band channeling the lighter sounds of The Beatles and The Beach Boys with another song ideal for the charts. Some great drum work, simplistic lyrics, and easy melodies keep the mood light, while the false end adds some additional entertainment.
`End Of The Night' a gloomy, wavering dream-like song which cleanly evokes images of midnight driving, along forgotten desert highways of darkness into a distant unknown. Moody playing and Morrison's trademark howls give it that authentic, dark, eerie touch.
`Take It As It Comes' begins suddenly, the middle part of the album's closing trilogy which is suitably maddening with organ and drums clashing wildly as if in the midst of a storm.
`The End' remains the best, most ambitious song the band would ever write. Atmospheric, all encompassing, beautiful, angry, melodic, featuring excellent lyrics, a sublime lead guitar riff, great percussion, and one of Morrison's best performances it is timeless. He commands every moment, leading us through an apocalyptic journey- everything a lead singer should do; everything an epic should be. Wading through various passages, serpent like, we see images woven before our eyes before flying towards an insane murderer's brain and onto a frantic, thrash about finish.
While the band would continue on a short wave of success before imploding, this is for many their finest hour. It may be the group at their most consistent but there were still plenty of great songs to be played and stories to be told. If you haven't heard any of their albums before, this is the obvious place to start. It has at least 5 of their most loved songs and introduces you to the madness and magnificence.