George Starostin's Reviews



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Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

The Doors were a very dark band that arose in an age of love and flowers. I have nothing aganist flower plower, even support many of its themes but the Doors were the realists to contrast with the sometimes naive optism of the time. All of the musicians were very talented at their instruments, and Jim was a decent singer. His heart wasn't really in rock'n'roll though, he wanted to write books and plays, direct films, and write poetry. I'd definetly rate them as one of the top bands of the 60s, a fertile time for rock'n'roll. Their music ranged in influence from the baroque classical era, to Chicago blues, to North American folk music with pop and jazz all the way. Jim's lyrics were very good and his theatrics even better displayed them.

Steve Hall <> (09.03.2001)

I've tried and i've tried but i just can't get The Doors to work for me,maybe it's being British,they never sold a bean here and i've rarely heard good remarks about them and that awful organ churning away in the background of what seems like EVERY song they did,didn't anybody tell these guys about augmenting themselves.

Flame me if you like but i can't see Morrison's genius,just because the guy was off his trolley don't make him a genius and his lyrics are good but they ain't outstanding.

Gloomy west coast musings have never inspired many this side of the Atlantic.I much prefer listening to American acts of this period like The Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel or Carole King and if i need to hear something more introspective i don't need Jim and that churning organ.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (22.03.2001)

Jim Morrison got 3 for resonance? He, the Shaman? George, didn't you miscalculate a little? Just listen to his singing on 'Moonlight drive' and ... heck, relisten his every song. And don't forget about 'L.A.Woman' where Morrison shows his attitude to her so clearly that I have nothing to do but cry. I pretty understand when I hear someone say that Jim doesn't feel any emotions - his lyrical hero does, but at the same time we have to admit that Jim becomes a lyrical hero. On every track! If you don't count Krieger's songs, of course.

And as for the Doors, they were a unique band. Just look: one drummer, no constant bass guitarist, one vocalist (who doesn't even know the notes), one keyb. player and one guitarist. That seemed to die as soon as it was born, but no, it lived for 5 years. And it's a real pity that Morrison died so soon, it was obvious that band hadn't reached its peak yet. This damned alcohol...

Dimitri Obraz <> (20.04.2001)

Hey, I think the Doors were the pretty good for the sixties. Their music was unlike anything. Like you said in your review, they didn't have a bass player and Ray did his job! And i guess something really happen to Jim when he was a kid... maybe dead indians on the road, or someone could abuse him when he was a child + absence of father when he was growing up - all of that shaped his personality and poetic abilities. Hope he knew what he was doing, otherwise he wouldn't be dead. Well I got websites set up for doors fans, couud you post a link? in English: and for russian folks:

thanks a lot, rock on!

Glenn Wiener <> (17.06.2001)

One of the all time classic bands. I think their overall sound is incredibly original. Never before or since has a rock n roll band had such a serial Organ/Keyboard sound at the heart of each song. Ray Manzarek was undoubtedly the soul of the Doors music. It’s a shame he never pursued a solo career after the Doors came to an end. His vocals on 'Close To You' are pretty good although he is certainly was not Jim Morrison. Would love to find the Full Circle and Other Voices lps just to here Ray and Robbie for that matter in the vocal department. What’s your more specific take on their styles, George? Anyway, Jim Morrison was undoubtedly the heart of this band. Sometimes his insane side is a bit grating but in general he was one hell of a vocalist. Krieger and Densmore were good musicians as well even if their role was not as front and center as Manazarek and Morrison. Anyway, the music of the Doors will always rank up there on a legendary level. Yes, there were some missteps but don’t all bands make mistakes sometimes?

Sam Johnson <> (29.01.2002)

While I agree with your basic sentiment that the music of the Doors is far more reasonant to me than Jim's lyrics, I disagree that they are disposable as you say. For example, "The Crystal Ship"--even with the same music, would the song really be as darkly beautiful if Jim were singing about "girls and cars?" Of course not--and while I still do think most of the lyrics are highly overrated by some as far as "poetry" goes, they still contribute far more to the songs then you give them credit for, in my opinion.

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

A very interesting, unique, overrated, bizarre, fascinating band. Yeah, I think all five of those adjectives are adequate enough...ah...The four guys really started their career as a revolutionary rock outfit, pioneering that whole doom and gloom thing with Jim Morrison's twisted lyrics and the no-bass-killer-organ trademark sound. Their first record remains one of the greatest albums of all time for pure landmark status; after that, they kinda started descending into hell. Jim Morrison was great in the fact that he possessed an invigorating swagger as a vocalist and set a new charisma standard for rock frontmen, but he was also a ridiculously pretentious entity that took a lotta sight away from the band during their career (today he still steals the show...his grave is more popular than Chopin's, dammit, and their in the same cemetery). Robbie Kreiger also sort of killed the band whenever he tried to take over songwriting jobs, and gave the Doors a goddamn bubblegum image. Oh, well. Ray Manzarek, meanwhile, was incredibly talented, and is still a humungous influence for me as a keyboardist. The other guy played drums. (Ahem). The Doors are pretty much worth checking out...but pick up a copy of the debut today, and that's the most taste of the legend that you'll ever need.

<> (31.05.2002)

I read a quote one time that said "the Beatles and the Stones are for blowing your mind, and the Doors are for what comes after, when your mind is gone." I cannot think of a more accurate way to describe this band. Jim Morrison was obviously the center of the hurricane. Loved by the ladies, worshipped by the guys, despising anything that has to do with authority, he was the embodiment of the 60's. He screamed his message to teenagers about not conforming to society's expectations. Morrison was a showman who also could exhibit incredible voice control when sober. Not to be forgotten are the other three who make up the Doors. Incredible musicians in their own right, guitarist Robby Krieger was easily the groups best songwriter. 'Light My Fire', 'Love Me Two Times', 'Touch Me', and 'Love Her Madly' all came from his pen proving the Doors were more than just Jim Morrison. For the newcomer I highly recomend the first album and sit down to listen to it from start to finish. Perhaps you will get a peek inside the twisted genius of Jim Morrison and decide you want to move on to the rest of the catalog. Is everybody in? The celebration is about to begin.

Anton Dolinsky <>(15.06.2002)

I think the second biggest reason for why the Doors were so good (#1 being the very strong musical talents of all four members) is something that isn't mentioned often enough, and this is their almost unwavering sense of balance. Hendrix and Airplane were doing psychedelia, but lots of their songs were just excuses for endless jams. Dylan had written a lot of good lyrics but his musical backing was sparse. Early Floyd had a gift for original melody but their songs didn't mean anything. I have nothing bad to say about the Beatles, but the Stones were too goofy. Now the Doors, they did psychedelia, but they were never a jam-oriented band. They did lyrical explorations, but Jim rarely went over completely over far end lyrically, and when he did he always had a less avant-garde, poppish hit waiting somewhere in that brain of his (and if he didn't, then Robby did). And of course, they put more good riffs and melodies inside one typical song than inside an entire album by most bands. The Doors somehow managed to combine Poetry, Rock, Blues, Psychedelia, Pop, and a load of other genres, but they never let any one element take over, and they always kept their songs catchy and tight (not short, but focused and efficient). This sense of balance made them the true masters of Genre Fusion and of the musical world. They even did a good job incorporating Jim's growing spleen and madness into the mix, for a few years at least. It was his death that ruptured the balance once and for all.

Nicholas Rogerson <> (06.07.2002)

Hi George, i suppose you know this now but just in case, The Doors have reformed and added THe Cult's lead singer. I dont know who he is. They are touring US in Sept and Krieger, Manzarek, Densmore are writing a new album. good news?

Gerard Nowak <> (29.03.2003)

I feel a bit helpless with The Doors - this is probably the most subjectively and non-musically approached band in the world. I mean, the image and the lyrics (or rather the aura around them) and the main man's personality seem more important than the actual music. In my secondary school everyone used to be a Doors fan, but in fact it was not about the actual songs, but about "I wanna get high" and "mother, I want to...", and the parties on the desert. We weren't brave enough to do all Morrison did, so we adored him.

I knew every Doors song by heart, then I quit the 'fan-club' for ideological reasons, and now I don't miss the guys. I sometimes go back to some songs the Doors are ridiculed about, such as "Spanish Caravan" or "Wintertime Love". These are great melodies and those songs are by no means inadequate (for me) as those 'epic' ones are (for me). And I prefer the single version of "Light My Fire". I find Manzarek's solo boring, and that's my problem: seems most of the people don't. And how can you measure the extent of boringness, or - for that matter - the extent of monotonousness in "The End" (George, you wrote it yourself in the review that you find (a part of) this song so)? Seems I'm on the minority side, so what.

Having written all this, I must say that I like the way The Doors would go off their regular track full of snakes. While all the regular reviewers condemn them for e.g. the Waiting For the Sun LP, I find their popish songs very refreshing. Mind you, there are more such weirdos like me (cf. my family, hehe). And one more thing: Morrison's voice (and his vocal style) is absolutely gorgeous, it's overwhelming even if it's hoarse ('I live all AROUND' in "The Changeling") or when his owner was otherwise drunk ("5:1").

Pedro Andino <> (18.07.2003)

in 1967 it was all summer of love and sunshine and rainbows until the doors came and scared all the hippies! ray manzerek. the orgasnist with carnival sounds and nintendo-like keyboards are tasty and weird. john densmore. the jazzy drummer. robby krieger. guitar man. and finally JIM MORRISON!. the sexiest man alive, the mystical poet, and the high voltage rocker! the doors may never have another singer but they are stoned immaculate rockers!

Brian Adkins <> (22.09.2003)

I feel the same way about The Doors as you feel about Pink Floyd, overrated, but a damn good band. I think nearly everyone that wanted to dislike The Beatles because everyone else seemed to like them jumped right on The Doors bandwagon, not Floyds. They proclaim that Morrison's lyric and music is so deep when in fact, I believe he sometimes wrote about the simple visuals that he seen while "trippin" on some psychedelic drug. For example, his references to riding the snake. I'm certainly a fan of theirs and definitely rank them as one of my top 7 bands, but I agree with you, not entirely because of Morrisons lyric. All the hype about Morrison being a poet makes people think everything he wrote was poetic, deep and original. Lots of things were but as you mention, he also "steals" lots of ideas from previous poets such as "End of the Night". I'm more of a fan of Morrison Hotel than their first two albums. Mainly because they seem to show case more of the bands talents and don't seem to be solely led by Morrison alone, which makes the album title a bit ironic for me. They also just seem to be making good music and not trying to convince people they're anything special. I absolutely love the tone of Kriegers guitar, especially the riff on 'Five to One' and you gotta love the keyboards. The drumming never really captures my attention like Morrisons screams but still they never make a song any worse either. I just wish people would realize that it's The Doors that are or were good and not just Morrison. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I don't like the lyric of Morrison. No one can keep me as entertained as him with songs as long as 'The End' or 'When the Music's Over', which is my favorite Doors song. Also on the live stuff, just hearing that "all right, yea, do you feel all right" makes me wanna get up and scream. I love that aspect of Morrison that you could grab your conscience and send it to a place where you just wanna have a good time. But at the same time, I feel he sometimes tried to hard to simply be different. He wasn't trying to show his talent, he wasn't trying to make people dislike him, he wasn't trying to be deep, he wasn't always making his stuff well thought-out, he simply tried to be different. But anyway, that's not necessarily a bad thing and is probably why so many people look at him as being mystical. Personally I find the Floydsters to be much more mystical. But my main purpose of writing this was so that anyone who reads this, I ask that they try to block out Morrison singing and tell me that they don't love what they're hearing, although Morrison's voice and lyric only adds to the greatness.

Matt(the great)Byrd <> (23.07.2005)

Ok, I completely think that Morrison was an intelligent guy, very intelligent, but I will never admit that he was an out-and-out genius. I could not compare him with Prince, Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, or Randy Newman. There are some good melodies (which I take in less eteem than our Belshvized Russian friend) and interesting songwriting but respecting the Doors this much is nonsense (errr, can I say that?).


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

This is probably my favorite my this influential band. Truthfully I like 'I Looked At You' as a light hearted pop tune is always a nice balance to all the darkness on other tracks. 'Take It As It Comes' is another gem as the organ solo is ultimately mesmerizing. The chord structure is simple so that's maybe why you don't care for it, but the song ranks as one of my two favorites on this disc.

My other favorite? 'Light My Fire'? Not quite as where its a captivating song, the solos go on a little bit too long. 'The End'? Never, as the deranged mind of Jim Morrison at full blast of insanity is a little hard to take especially for eleven minutes. My favorite is 'Crystal Ship' with the haunting organ, mysterious lyrics, and chilling vocals make it the ultimate performance on this record.

Nick Karn <> (18.10.99)

Ah, The Doors - one of the most intriguing and legendary debut albums ever made, and it holds up very, very well to time because no one has ever sounded quite like this. Dark, mystifying, and catchy, all with great musicianship. The obvious highlight for me is of course "Light My Fire" (that solo section I couldn't get into at first, but now I recognize it's brilliance - what a hook to this one too), but I think they do an exceptional job on the covers - "Back Door Man" has some of Jim's most emotionally direct screaming, and "Alabama Song" is quite fun and instantly memorable. "Break On Through" is an exceptional way to start off their career (hard to believe it flopped as a single), "The Crystal Ship" and "End Of The Night" have a great mysterious edge, "The End" ranks up there with The Velvet Underground's "Venus In Furs" as one of the most psychologically frightening songs in existence (although there doesn't seem to be an end to it, as it drags somewhat too long in the meandering background music), "Soul Kitchen" and "Twentieth Century Fox" are great singable ditties with creative instrumentation, while "I Looked At You" and "Take It As It Comes" seem like insignificant short pop songs, but they're very memorable as well (especially the latter with some amazing organ work). I give this album a 9.

Fredrik Tydal <> (17.03.2000)

Their best album, and a lot better than the following one. In my opinion, that is. While Strange Days has one bad track ("Horse Latitudes", if you even count it) and two mediocre ones ("My Eyes Have Seen You", "I Can't See Your Face In My Mind"), the debut album only has two mediocre cuts, one of which is partly saved by Manzarek's cool organ work ("I Looked At You", "Take It As It Comes"). The rest songs on the debut range from good to great. I also have to say that I prefer "The End" to "When The Music's Over", mostly because "The End" was really original this time around. Otherwise, Manzarek is all over the record with the immortal solos on "Light My Fire", the understated emotional piano part in "The Crystal Ship" and virtually everywhere else. I feel that Manzarek really was as vital to the band's success as Morrison himself, only no-one realized it at the time. I mean, think about it; would The Doors have been as successful with the regular guitar/base/drums approach? Hardly not; Manzarek gave them an almost unique sound. Oh, well; great album - nine out of ten

Kevin Baker <> (15.10.2000)

This album kicks!  I don't belive in such a thing as a "perfect" album, but this one comes quite close. The Doors were masters of creating a dreary, but not evil, atmosphere.  This is my brekadown of the album, song-bysong  

Break On Through--An excellent dark rocker, maybe the very first of its kind. It starts the album off with a bang, and every part of the music---vocals, lyrics, and musicality lack nothing.

Soul Kitchen---Great!  This song has such a great groove to it. Manzarek's cool playing form the backbone of the tune, and Kreiger's guitar keeps the song fresh.  Jim's vocals are great as usual, just as Densmore's drumming is. The best part is it sounds.  The lyrics, again masterfully written, seem to clash with the music because of subject matter, but they seem so natural with the music.

The Crystal Ship---This one ties for first as my favorite song on here, the other one being Light My Fire.  As cliched as it sounds by now, everything is superb and immaculate.  The piano track, along with an organ track, is a pleasantly surprising addition.  The perfect song for a dull, rainy day.

Twentieth Century Fox---If Light My Fire and The Crystal Ship share the gold, then this song gets the silver, hands down.  Not quite as dark as some of the other songs on here, but definitely very cynical and very cool.  I love the guitar solo in the middle; Krieger is one of the most unjustly forgotten guitarists of the 60s.  Plus, I totally dig the lyrics.  They describe to a tee so many women I know.  Sad as that is.

Alabama Song---Very interesting.  The first cover on the album, and an unusual one at that.  Who'd have thought The Doors would cover a song from a German stage production?  Oh well, they do a good enough job of assimilating it to their style.  Plus, the organ sounds really groovy.

Light My Fire---This is THE defining song of the sexual side of the Summer Of Love.  It has achieved almost anthemic status, and deservingly so.  The music throughout is tight and well-played, and never once gets boring.  The lyrics are catchy and fun to sing along with, if you dig that kind of thing.  Even if you don't, the song still rules.  A true classic.

Back Door Man---The other cover, and a kick-butt blues rocker!  Jim Morrison's vocals really shine on this one; his influence from such greats as Howlin' Wolf are very evident.  The organ part is intoxicating, and you'll find yourself humming it over and over.  For such a dark-soundiong band, The Doors excelled at coming up with hooks in their music.

I Looked At You---Not nearly as bad as some think.  A bit generic perhaps, but by no means bad.  The general attitude in the song is not as dark as the rest of the album, but considering the next track, it is a welcome respite from the rising black tide, if you'll pardon my flowery language.

End Of The Night---Good organ work and mood, but I'm not near as fond of it as some other songs on here.  Still good though.  Very gothic, and a foreshadowing of the nightmarish The End.

Take It As It Comes---In the same vein as I Looked At You.  Poppy, but consider its placing.  You have the gothic End Of The Night before it, and of course there's...

The End---Straight out of a nightmare.  Snakes, Oedipal fantasies, killers with boots, gold mines, it's all there.  Not worthy of being 11 and a half minutes, but still an awesome song.  It's sole failing is the lack of musical variety, but the imagery of the lyrics more than compensates.

All in all, The Doors is one of the 3 best albums to come out of 1967.  The mood is surprisingly dark for the height of flower power, and only The Doors could have, or even would have dared to have, ascended to the lyrical heights on this album.  A must-have!  

<> (18.10.2000)

The Doors are my all time favorite band and have been since I was about 4 or 5 years old, believe it or not. There was just something about Jim Morrison, something that set him far apart from your average rock singer. As a lifelong, loyal Doors fan, I'd have 2 say that this is their greatest effort. It contains my two favorite Doors songs- "Break On Through" and "The End". "Break On Through" is probably the first true hard rock song ever recorded, and it still cooks from beginning to end every time I hear it. "Soul Kitchen" isn't nearly as good, but has a great rhythm that's held solid by Ray's piercing organ lines. "The Crystal Ship" is beautifully hypnotic, one of Jim's best vocal deliveries ever. "20th Century Fox" I love, mainly because of that upbeat guitar shuffle by Krieger. "Alabama Song" is funny, but not that impressive lyrically or musically. "Light My Fire" of course is known by every Doors fan, as it was their most successful single. The long instrumental break in the middle is, to quote a former music critic, "at least as good as sex". Now that's saying something! "Back Door Man" is awesome, with Jim bellowing as if he were giving his last performance. The next three numbers are basically short pop tunes that are moderately memorable. But then comes the moment of truth. The Doors sacred twelve-minute masterpiece- "The End". It easily stands out in my mind as being the most epic, dark piece of work to ever come out of the 1960's. Many people don't care for it, but I can never get enough of it. To listen to it beginning to end simply exhausts both mind and soul. "The End" takes the listener on a mystical journey into a world of insanity, murder, incest, hopelessness and rebellion. And NO other band on God's green Earth could have done this song but the Doors. Not the Beatles, not the Stones, not Zeppelin, not the Who, not FUCKING ANYONE! The Doors are and always will be the supreme pioneers of rock 'n roll. Peace.

<> (22.02.2001)

I'm 47, and I still listen and then decide The Doors are one of the top five bands of all time, despite the stupid and/or drug-induced lyrics. How many lead vocalists can almost anyone name after hearing the first line of a song. Morrison was one of the best.

Eric Rogozin <> (18.04.2001)

Splendid! Brilliant! Perhaps the best Doors album. And also probably it's the most unique and characterizing Doors album.

Joe H <> (28.11.2001)

Classic debut. "Light My Fire" is the best song on here, i agree "The End" is kinda boring, i usually only listen to some of it or skip over it completely. Im not usually in the mood for it. But overall this is a great album! I dont even think "I Looked at you" and "Take it As It Comes" nor anything else on this album as filler, all the songs are splendid! And man does "End Of The Night" chill your soul. One of the most haunting songs ive ever heard. They've also turned those covers "Whiskey Bar" and "Back Door Man" into their own classics as well! Id give it a 9 out of 10.

Ben Kramer <> (25.12.2001)

This used to be my favorite Door's album ( I have joined the reviewer bandwagon and I can easily call Strange Days their best, but L. A. Woman comes quite close). This is the one with their legendary 'Light My Fire' which wasn't even a Morrison song. The keyboard intro is astonishing and the solo's are kept interesting throughout the 7 minutes of the song. No wonder it has gone down in rock history as one of the great songs ever. The album opener 'Break on Through' is another legendary song with one of the greatest guitar riffs ever (it's not a bass people, the Doors were bassless). 'Crystal Ship' is beautiful and it is one of the few slow depressing songs that doesn't come off as fake (come on 'Dream On' is tedious, this is the real gem). 'Alabama Song' is another great song as well. However, 'Back Door Man' opens the second side and it has the rest of the album to look down to. This is one of the greatest cover songs in the history of rock and roll, period. Jim shows off all of his vocal talent and the riff, while simple is catchy and hypnotizing. 'End of the Night' is just creepy, not the way 'Gimme Shelter' is, but in the way that would be more present on Strange Days. Ending the album is one of the most famous songs the Doors ever recorded, 'The End'. I used to think it was their best song (now that honor goes to their other 11 minute song) but the melody is kind of monotonous and Jim, you turn off many listeners when you scream "Mother I want to fuck you" and "Fuck fuck yeah...." and other profanities for the sake of saying fuck. But overall, the song sets great mood (a preview of the next album) and the lyrics are intriguing. The only turn off from the Doors first album is 'I Looked At You' which has a happy sound to it, but still, it has its moments of darkness. I like 'Take It As It Comes' so we don't agree on everything, but overall, a powerful debut album. I'd give it a 9(13) overall and give it the honor of being the 4th best album the Doors ever made.

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

A damn revolutionary album. This record certainly does encapsulate the legend of the Doors in its purest and best form, with the standard classics ("Break On Through", "The Crystal Ship", "The End", "Alabama Song", "Light My Fire", "Back Door Man", "Soul Kitchen") all nicely present under one, er, sleeve, and the sound uncorrupted by overly cosmic tendencies as a result of new equipment (Strange Days) or happy pop/blues tendencies (everything else). Some of the tunes falter just because of lack of effort, as with "I Looked At You", but the rest are excellent: "The End" remains chilling, "Break On Through" contains a thrilling introductory vocal performance by Morrison, "End of the Night" is masterfully, majestically arranged, "Take it as it Comes" contains an exhilirating display of virtuoso abilities by Manzarek...I could go on, couldn't I? Maybe. Anyway, the real main draw for this album, after time has dated its sound somewhat, is the fact that it was actually quite ahead of its time. This whole eerie-rock sound was kind of pioneering in 1966, wereitnot? Boo! A 9.

Anton Dolinsky <>(20.06.2002)

I've blown out my brain on the Doors in a very painful way. About two months ago, having just gotten the '97 Box Set, I listened to nothing but Jim & Co. for about ten days straight. When I let up my ears were bleeding and my roommate sitting in the corner, his gleaming eyes reflected in the rusty knife he was polishing. I listened to no Doors at all until about a week ago. Then the Hunger hit me, and I devoured all six albums pretty much straight, over and over again. If there is a man in the world who can review the Doors "as if hearing them for the first time", it is not me. With that in mind...

The first studio album is the best they ever put out, being the most diverse, not just in sound but in mood as well. Web darlin' SD is cool dark-love music, but #1 is cool everything-music. Strange Days has different kinds of music, but that dark despairing atmosphere everybody raves about is a drag after a while. The Doors, on the other hand, has diversity in both mood and sound.

"Break on Through"-- kill your father with an icepick while smoking a joint you rolled from pages 291-293 of your The Complete Rimbaud. That's about the total impression this song gives me. The way the song just slams right into place, with almost no buildup, makes it almost unique in the catalog. OTOH, I think the Live "Isle of Wight" version (that does have buildup) is much better, and I get off on Jim singing "she get higher, she get higher" in that one. Cool song. Can't listen to it anymore, though. My brain knows every single note.

"Soul Kitchen"-- good stuff. I can see Jim sitting there alone, lighting up one more cigarette. "The cars crawl by all stuffed with eyes, streetlights shed their hollow glow, your brain seems bruised with numb surprise" is his best line on the whole album. Ray does great work. His subdued jazzy/classical playing beats the hell out of his psycho playing. Totally different mood from "Break On Through"

"The Crystal Ship"--My comments on this one are your comments about "The End". I love the lyrics (anyone who says lyrics aren't important is seriously missing out), but there is not enough music. On the '97 box set version of this, the sound q. sucks but Ray gives his organ a much better workout. This is the Doors song that would fit best on Strange Days, but it works great on here.

"20th Century Fox"--Great Robby Krieger guitar into, then the rest makes me tune out.

"Alabama Song"--Aside from "Roadhouse Blues", this is the best Doors sing-along song. "OH show me the way... to the next... whiskey bar", and no-one remembers the rest of the lyrics but it doesn't matter. That Manzarek descending organ line is awesome, and this is one song where the Doors-patented "let's stop in the middle, then start again" actually works. I've always felt this one is very close in feel to "Moonlight Drive". To me they both have that same "moonlight" atmosphere. It's that one dam line in "A-Song" about "the mooooon of A-la-baaa-ma..." But this one's rollicking, not depressing. You listen to this, you want to hit the bars.

"Light My Fire"--I think sex, LA streets, pot, women, nights on the beach--what else is there? Another no-buildup intro, another huge classic. I can still listen to this one, but I tune out during the keyboard solo, and that sucks because I used to get into that unbelievably. Of course, I also used to smoke a lot more weed. That long stretching moment when the keyboard solo fades out and the drums are still shaking, and THEN the guitar solo kicks in unambitiously and just starts building, THAT's one of the great moments in rock music. It always reminds me of a different moment--the end of Hendrix's solo on "Are You Experienced?", when the guitar fades away and you just hear the muted bass and drums slowly going whucka-whuck-WHUCK-whucka-whucka-whuck-WHUCKA-whuck... Oh yeah, pot + this song on repeat + sex = fried brain.

"Back Door Man"--Cool delivery, cool guitar riff, AWESOME organ riff (din din din din, din di-doo-doo...) I've got a mix CD where this song is immediately after Jim's "I Will Never Be Untrue" and it's funny as hell, for obvious reasons, though "I Will Never..." is already funny.

"I Looked At You"--I like this one. Why? Only one thing--Jim's vocal delivery. Back there on the first two albums, he was really into making his voice bend around. Then he got too drunk or too lazy.

"End of the Night"--Cool, but to me the sudden volume and tempo changes come off as more annoying than dramatic. HOWEVER, that was NOT so the first few times I heard the song. First few times, I thought "Holy S---, now THAT'S a song.

"Take It As It Comes"--Ugh. Ass. I sound like I'm on repeat but again, Box Set version, much better musical backing. But it's still ass.

"The End"--This is one of those big songs you can get up and "walk around in" when your brain is suitably altered. Actually, just listening to it with headphones on in a dark room will do it for me. How many hours of my life have I wasted listening to this song? Was it worth it? None will ever know. The B-side of this album would suck major ass if this fat mother of a song wasn't bookending it. My first exposure to it was actually "Apocalypse Now," and that's a GOOD thing ladies and gentlemen, because whoever did the sound for that movie did a sweeeeet job with this song. I'm a complete sucker for Krieger's sitar-influenced guitarwork whenever he does it (same goes for Page's sitaresques and for Mr. Blackmore's 'Arabic' compositions). Those little runs and trills he does over the D-drone used to run shivers up my back. That explains why, though this is the longest song on the album, it's also the only one I can still listen to over and over again. Awesome example of dramatic tension and rock-poetry that WORKS, mostly because Jim's bandmates do a teriffic job emphasizing him. Case in point--there's a place in there somewhere where Jim moans, "Riiide the snake, riiiide the snake", and just at that moment Ray drops in a little fill that sounds like "doo-noo-nee-na-ni-ow, do-noo-ni, do-noo-ni" (looks moronic in print but hey, that's what it sounds like) and for some reason I get total synaesthesia and I see Jim riding a giant snake Dune-style (not to get involved in a Toto discussion or anything). Of course, it all makes no sense because Jim wants his woman to ride (his) snake, nothing more and nothing less. ("Ride the snake to the lake"--I love that 60s-style sexual innuendo). But, whatever. Great album closer and a return to the violent mood of "Break on Through". So the album as a whole goes Violent-sad-sad-poppy-rollicking-erotic-erotic-poppy-weird-crap-Violent again. Does it mean anything? No, it doesn't.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that The End is "a dark Oedipal epic". For you see, EVERY review of this album must mention somewhere that The End is "a dark Oedipal epic".

9/10 for the album. There are not many that are better out there.

Federico Fernández <> (24.10.2002)

I read your review and I can't deny that we share more or less the same opinion regarding this one. I felt totally identified with your statement: "you can understand why I so often turn it down right after 'Back Door Man' which is the first song on side two". Yes, I CAN understand!!! Not that I turn it down like you, but the first 7-track stretch is absolutely amazing, flawless and unique. Each and every one of this seven are gems and I usually find it hard to determine which one is my favourite: sometimes "Light My Fire", with its moody, cool instrumental part and the carnivalesque organ riff (That I found incredibly stupid the first time around but now it simply amazes me how catchy it is); sometimes "Soul Kitchen" with a great melody that floods magically within that organ riff; sometimes "Break On Through"; sometimes the majestic, swirling "The Crystal Ship", sometimes the hilarious "Alabama Song" and the magnificent heavy blues of "Back Door Man". Even "20th Century Fox" is a hell of a song, with those adictive "But - she's - no - drag - just - watch - the - way - she - walks" lines.

The last four tracks, though, are no slouch either; clearly inferior buy highly likeable. I can't really understand why you seem to hate "I Looked At You" so much; the lyrics ARE dumb, but the catchy melody (Specially on the "It's too late, too late, too late..." refrain) is as good and anything else on the record... sincerely, I don't feel this one to be out of place at all; it's FAR better than any of the poppy letdowns form Waiting For The Sun and very similar to "Love Her Madly" which you like. "Take It As It Comes" is weaker, still, it has a nice organ solo. "End Of The Night" and "The End" are dense, slow, hypnotic and dark songs: the former is really short and the atmosphere is great; the later IS boring, no matter how hypnotic and marvellous the guitar refrain may sound, there's no way to avoid getting distracted while it's on. Overall, we coincide.

Still, I'd like to say that a two-point difference with their next, Strange Days, is innacurate. Strange Days is their finest, but the debut is their second; and a VERY close second. I just can't see no big difference. The quality of the tracks goes like this: Great / Great / Great / Great / Great / Great / Great / Nice / Good / Decent / Interesting. So, it has too many great tracks to be so inferior to Strange Days. But that's me.

Nicholas Rogerson <> (16.03.2003)

This one's a great listen, and I find myself reaching for it more often than Strange Days. You see, I believe that this album covers more styles than Strange Days, although I acknowledge that Strange Days has the stronger tunes overall.

I do think that The Doors is perhaps worthy of a nine. You are right to suggest that 'I Looked At You' and 'Take It As It Comes', are lesser tracks when compared with the dark majesty of 'Break On Through' and the outstanding blues cover, 'Back Door Man', but they are both, particularly 'Take It As It Comes', catchy as anything. Infact these songs cover a particular style on the album. Catchy pop. They both succeed on this front. The album isn't a ten, I believe, because of the monotony of 'The End', although it has it's moments, and 'Alabama Song', although this one has some amusing lyrics when heard coming from Jim. These two combined make it a nine.

Having said all this, I can see that this could an eight. 'I Looked At You', 'Take It As It Comes' and 'Twentieth Century Fox', work well on a good day, but they are all essentially just catchy pop. I'd give it an eight and a half on balance, but as there is no such thing as that on your scale, an eight is okay, and I think a nine would be too.

I'll just mention 'Crystal Ship', which is sometimes overlooked in the face of 'Light My Fire and 'Break On Through'. 'Crystal Ship' is the most moving tune here, and I believe it is made so by Ray's inspired piano parts. Ray infact makes the album what it is. His keyboards are stunning here.

<> (12.04.2004)

I still think this is the best Doors album and I give it a 10. This is one of those cases where the initial effort, with the band having stored up a couple years' worth of songs and putting its strongest out on the first LP, is the best.

The album revolves around Manzarek's organ/bass defining the basic sound with Krieger's guitar putting in the solos and fills and Densmore using the drums for some creative dynamics as opposed to just keeping time...then adding Morrison's voice and psycho lyrics for danger.

"Break On Through" is one of the greatest album-openers of all time. The drums start out with fast bossa nova beat - odd for a '67 rock band. Morrison's title and lyric state the band's purpose through the entire album. The guitar alternates between the tight comping with the organ/bass in the verses and the exciting runs with the choruses - I like the tone Krieger had and the way he pushes it further at the end.

The only possible "blue letter" song I hear is "The Crystal Ship" and that's only because it just seems more conventional to my ears than everything else. I happen to like "Take It As It Comes" a lot. It's sort of an uptempo counterpart to songs like "End Of The Night" in sound and it stands equal to most of the other tunes on the album.

"The End" is utterly frightening and what may seem monotonous to some is to me a well paced build-up in horror to the climax. The overall sound is so well suited to the lyrics that even though there may be some redundancy in the music the lyrics move everything forward at the requisite pace. Besides, Densmore's drumming is very expressive. He really dictates the changes of pace and emphasis to a degree unusual for most drummers.

Bob Josef <> (20.07.2005)

I hate getting on the bandwagon, but I must also name this one at the band's best, overall. The original Doors never put out a bad album, and there are great tracks on all of them, but this one is just the most consistent from start to end. "Back Door Man" is the first, but the best, of their blues covers -- they do an excellent job of reconstructing it as a Doors song. They also make "Alabama Song" their own.

It seems you rate the next one better because the dark tone is consistent from beginning to end. But I actually think that the better Doors albums are ones where they balance Morrison's darker visions with lighter pop stuff (mostly from Krieger). Nowhere is that better illustrated than here. I actually enjoy the boppier numbers like "20th Century Fox", "I Looked At You" and "Take it As it Comes". In the hands of say, The Lovin' Spoonful, they would be pretty hopeless. But Jim's baritone voice and the muscle of the group make them into something substantial. And I think "The End" is a great epic -- the slow tempo of the track is perfect for the middle-of-the-night creepy ambiance, and you can really tell that Kreiger was a student of Indian music. It seems like they picked the cream of the crop for their first album -- definitely should be anyone's first pick.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

A unique debut album. I have a very hard time trying to decide which one is their best, The Doors or Strange Days. This one, I guess. Your point of this album being uncertain escapes me. I know very few debut records that aren’t. Anyway, while listening to The Doors I never have that feeling. What I always feel is that their unusual sound is truly great. Sure, they play rather simple catchy pop melodies, but these catchy pop melodies played with Monzarek’s insane organ mixed with Krieger’s amazing guitar solos and sung by Morrison (whose voice, not image, I absolutely worship) make them anything but simple catchy pop melodies. We start with four Doors classics, three energetic rockers and a fantastic ballad “Crystal Ship”, on which Monzarek plays one of the most beautiful organ solos ever. “Alabama Song” is amusing and absolutely hilarious. “Light My Fire” is an unforgettable classic, of course. To say that the middle part is brilliant is to say nothing. Any track after “Light My Fire” would be a terrible letdown, but their powerful rendition of Dixon’s “Back Door Man” is truly fascinating! “I Looked At You” is just a humble pop song, dumb but catchy. If Morrison wanted to have some fun, why couldn’t he? We carry on with a mystical and extremely beautiful “End Of The Night” and an insanely catchy pop of “Take It Easy Baby”. The record closes with the famous “The End”. Simply put, I adore the song. Starting with that quiet guitar sound at the very beginning and ending with Jim’s powerful “this is the eeeeend”, it’s a celebration of delightful and truly intriguing atmosphere. All the parts work well and make the track my favourite Doors song ever.

Even for 1967, this is unique. A fourteen if there ever was one.


Glenn Wiener <> (01.09.99)

What is it that everyone loves this record so much? 'Horse Lattitudes' in spite of Manzarek's keyboard embellishments is merely filler. The overall mood is fairly depressing. Also, the ranting vocals makes me feel like I'm listening to a lunatic. Don't get me wrong, I like this record. Much of it iw well written and Manzarek's organ adds alot to the music. However, when I feel like listening to the not so "Insane Side" of the Doors, I'll choose LA Woman or the debut(and skip 'The End').

Nick Karn <> (29.10.99)

Wow, the world must be coming to an end now - I totally agree with the reviews for an album by BOTH you and Prindle. Seriously, when I first heard this album it floored me because it's so dark, moody, and carnivalesque. Everyone says, "Oh, there aren't any phenomenal songs like there are on the first one." In my opinion, each song creates a feeling so special that they are gems of their own - the album is ultimately greater than the sum of its' parts. Even the filler "Horse Latitudes" is a freaky setup for the eerie glide of "Moonlight Drive". The melodies are fantastic and inspirational... it's easy to sing along to everything here even when the lyrics are at their darkest (the "it's better than 'The End' epic "When The Music's Over"). The title song may be one of the best opening tracks I'e heard on any album, "I Can't See Your Face In My Mind" and "Unhappy Girl" are so psychedelic and mystical it's an experience (which makes them significantly better than filler). "My Eyes Have Seen You" is electrifying too, plus Robbie Krieger had some friggin great guitar riffs here - "Love Me Two Times", "People Are Strange" and especially his textures on the aforementioned "Moonlight Drive". "You're Lost Little Girl" brings it all together. Ray Manzarek of course is the cataylst for is eerie sound here, Jim Morrison is as psycho as ever, and John Densmore keeps the groove going. A undoubtable masterpiece. 10!!!

Fredrik Tydal <> (12.12.99)

This album always leaves me wondering; "why is this widely regarded as The Doors best album?" I can't figure it out. Sure there's an overall dark mood virtually non-existent in the music of late 1967, except the Airplane's After Bathing At Baxters and whatever The Velvet Underground was doing at the time. I simply fail to see the greatness of this album. To me, there's two really good tracks here; "Strange Days" and "People Are Strange". The rest are just tiresome organ pop which just floats by the ear. The closing number, "When The Music's Over", is down-right pathetic. I just don't get this album. It's not bad or anything, but I just can't compare it to the debut album or L.A. Woman; which are my favourite Doors albums.

<> (19.07.2000)

For me, this is the most consistent of the Doors albums. Being a Doors fan for some time, I have to say this nudges out the debut album and Morrison Hotel by a bit. It is so dark and gloomy, and Jim Morrison seems to make his best material when he writes like this. The opening "Strange Days" is a spooky opener, with a great thumping bass. Other highlights are the dark-pop of "Strange Days", the riffs of "Love Me Two Times", or the eerie "Moonlight Drive". And of course, the unforgettable closing track, "When the Music's Over", which remains one of the Doors finest songs (better than "The End"!).

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

A bit overrated, I A bit underrated elsewhere. Some "professional" critics (those associated with the AMG, howboutit) say that there are some weaker songs on here, usually citing "My Eyes Have Seen You" and "I Can't See Your Face In My Mind". On the contrary, I find these two to be quite good--it's "Strange Days", the stupid cosmic frippery posing as the opening track, that really gets my goat in that field. Otherwise, we have a bunch of great tunes--albeit some that are corrupted by the Doors' occasional tendency to go a bit overboard at the mixingboard. "Unhappy Girl" and the monologue "Horse Latitudes" (actually, much more effective than some make it out to Mr. Starostin, I guess...) are the most affected by pretentious sonic patterns; "Moonlight Drive" comes close, but remains relatively unscathed (because it's so freakin' good a song). And the rest is sheer bliss--the hauntingly lovely "You're Lost Little Girl", "People Are Strange", "Love Me Two Times" (yeah!), "When the Music's Over"...enough classics to earn this one a high 8. Good deal.

Federico Fernández <> (24.10.2002)

Their best. I agree. And not only that; this album is one of the indispensable masterpieces of rock music. I find it superior to their self titled debut... but not VERY superior as you think, only slightly. After all, the number of great tunes and filler in Strange Days and The Doors are more or less the same.

Just to compare and see how the group evolved from one album to another: The Doors is much more rocking; like George said, Strange Days is basically a pop album, with only "Love Me Two Times" aproaching the same vein as "Back Door Man", "Light My Fire" or "Break On Through". Also, we'll hardly find here an intrumental passage as inspired and powerfull as, for example, the break of "Light My Fire". On the other hand, Strange Days is filled with loads of melodic hooks which their debut could only dream of, and the closing epic, "When The Music's Over" is far more entertaining, more powerful than "The End", and equally disturbing.

If fact, the melodic greatness of this record is the main reason for me to consider it their absolutely best; "Strange Days", "You're Lost Little Girl", "Love Me Two Times", "Unhappy Girl", "Moonlight Drive", "People Are Strange", "My Eyes Have Seen You" and "When The Music's Over" are the highlights; each of them containing a distinct, unforgettable and hook-filled melody. They are not necessarily superior the songs from the previous one, but their melodies and arrangements are more impressive. "I Can't See Your Face In My Mind" is also a good moody track with a GREAT marimba arrangement. It's also a highlight but the melody is not very memorable (I can't recall it now!). Finally, "Horse Latitudes" is filler epitomized. In fact, the one and only filler; a weird poetry experiment which sounds very amateurish. It works well as an atmosphere, but it's not a song and it hurts badly the otherwise seamless flow of the record. My favourite would be "You're Lost Little Girl": the atmosphere and melody are incredible, and the brief guitar solo is one of the most captivating and blissful succession of notes that I ever heard. I also dig "Unhappy Girl" with its ultra-catchy melody and great organ breaks. "People Are Strange" is surely the most freakin' catchy melody ever discovered by Jim and friends. To close we have "When The Music's over" which is amazing despite being a rip-off combo (The organ riff of "Soul Kitchen" mixed with the overall atmosphere of "The End" and the add of a "End Of The Night" refrain in the verses "Turn out the lights"). Unlike "The End" it displays a lot of DIFFERENT pasages. The middle slow part is somewhat erratic if you ask me, but the main melody with the organ riffs and the swirling guitar cascades is excellent as well as the frantic, dissonant electric solo. Nice album. Buy it and you won't regret.

Nick Vesey <> (30.10.2002)

I almost completely agree with your assessment of the Door's sophmore effort. Most people I've talked to think of the debut as their best, and while its a close call for me, I just find it a bit too patchy in comparison to Strange Days. This, for me, is one of the definitive albums that could be called dark psychedelia, along with such other masterpieces as The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Mad River, and The United States Of America. My favorite song on here would have to be 'When The Music's Over', I suppose, because it really takes me places and doesn't bore me for a second, despite it's length. The title track is one of those tunes that just blows me away every time I hear it, but after each listen I forget how great it is until the next time I put it on. I even enjoy 'Horse Latitudes', because I like it lyrically, and I think that it's an interesting bit of atmosphere that helps makes the album more mystical and sinister in a completely unique Doorsesque way. I also reall dig 'You're Lost Little Girl', 'People Are Strange' and 'I Can't See Your Face In My Mind', but then I like the whole thing. Definitly on of my desert-island albums.

Igor Maslennikov <> (24.11.2003)

I don't agree with your comments. Strange Days may be called "the best album" but not "the quintessential" one, because the style of The Doors changed much after their first 3 albums had been released. You wrote yourself they were being more & more attracted by blues and some "shamanism", but much more "hard" as far as the sound is concerned.

<> (17.04.2004)

I give the nod to The Doors as the group's best album: this one's in the running with Morrison Hotel for the silver. While none of these tunes are really bad, I think the weak links on Strange Days are a little more numerous, while the strong cuts can occasionally match, but not surpass, the best of the debut album.

The title cut in no way matches "Break On Through" as an album opener. "When The Music's Over" is a great cut, particularly at the point where Robbie's guitar makes its bodacious entrance while Jim screams for all he's worth. But while others seem to like the variety of the song's various sections, I like the unified build-up of "The End" more.

Certainly "Love Me Two Times," "Moonlight Drive," and "People Are Strange" are very strong tunes and "My Eyes Have Seen You" is one of those quirky psycho numbers that grow on you. Actually though my favorite is "Unhappy Girl." Partly because it's not an oldies staple like some of the others...mainly I like the guitar part, especially that riff at the end of each line in the verses, and the way it blends in with Ray's organ and tack piano. Very pop-sounding, if you ignore the lyrics of course.

These albums often get compared since they stemmed from the same batch of songs and were issued in 1967. Again, pretty solid quality on both albums, but I do think they put their best foot forward, first.

Bob Josef <> (20.07.2005)

Actually, I don't even put this one in the top 3 Doors albums, but I'm evidently in the minority. Not that it's horrible, by any means, but the songwriting just seems to be a bit less consistent than on the first album. I think they were starting to get strapped for songs a bit -- there are 3 leftovers not deemed good enough for the debut ("Moonlight Drive", "My Eyes Have Seen You"); "Horse Latitudes", despite being extremely harrowing, doesn't substitute for a good song; the last song takes up 1/3 of the total running time; and it's STILL barely over an half hour long. Plus "When the Music's Over" seems to me to be of a retread than an improvement over "The End." I don't find the lyrics quite as interesting, either.

Still, it does have a few things over the debut. Even though it was only a few months later, it's recorded much better -- a harder, crunchier sound, especially on "When the Music's Over." And there is much greater variety in the arrangements -- Moog (title track), harpsichord ("Love Me Two Times"), tack piano ("People are Strange"), weird slide guitar effects ("Unhappy Girl"). So, they aren't entirely repeating themselves, but I do think that they did hit the sophomore slump because they had insufficient time to work up more top notch material.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

Absolutely as great, but it’s also the second. Probably on a song-by-song analysis it is even stronger than The Doors, I don’t know. The fact is, Strange Days is a fantastic collection of songs. Everybody knows the classics, but the dark ballads “You’re Lost Little Girl”, “Unhappy Girl” and “I Can’t See Your Face” are absolutely marvellous. The fast rocker “My Eyes Have Seen You” is not only freakin’ catchy, it also features one of the most mind-blowing Krieger’s solos (the problem is that it is so damn short!). Well, and “Horse Latitudes” is just there. All the others tracks you know very well (if you don’t, you probably have just come from some other planet), like you also know that they’re among the band’s greatest creations. The multi-part closing track is wonderful, of course, but I still prefer “The End”. Another high 14.


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

Of thee four Doors albums that I own, this one is definitely the weakest. Whereas, 'Wintertime Love', 'Summers Almost Gone', and 'Spanish Caravan' are creative due to many special effects, the album has some incomplete songs such as 'My Wild Love'. The chanting in the same sequence over the course of even a few minutes can be quite irritating. 'Yes The River Knows' and 'We Could Be So Good Together' have weak structures as well. The other songs are pretty good but somehow they fall short of LA Woman, the Debut, and even Strange Days.

Nick Karn <> (18.10.99)

Yup, you got it right.. it's a letdown (and yes, like you, one of my next Doors purchases after this one is definitely gonna be Strange Days - we shall see what I think of that one). But not really a terrible one. There are still quite a few fantastic moments on this album that push it from mediocrity to "pretty good" status. I love the emotion and fiery guitar playing of "Five To One" (awesome closer), the eerie "Not To Touch The Earth" (far superior to the whole "Celebration Of The Lizard" epic on Absolutely Live, which is in my opinion an incredible drag), "The Unknown Soldier" is an infectious anti-war statement and is one of the few tracks that has the earlier edge at the same time, "Spanish Caravan" is a pleasant acoustic number, and I can't get enough of that beautiful chorus to "Wintertime Love", one of the few deliberately pop tunes here I actually like. I just can't accept Morrison in this role. Although "Hello, I Love You" has grown on me and become somewhat of an addictive listen, "Summer's Almost Gone", "Love Street", "We Could Be So Good Together", and "Yes, The River Knows" aren't seriously anything more than filler tracks. And "My Wild Love" is just so stupid and inexplicably annoying I don't know how anyone in their right mind can enjoy it. That's pretty much my assessment on this album. Pretty good, but flawed and inconsistent for a 7 overall.

<> (19.02.2000)

Well, I can hear the Kinks influence somewhat:



But.... It's not enough to ruin the song and except for that straight-to-the-brain riff, it's an improvement.

Fredrik Tydal <> (13.03.99)

A six? You have to be kidding, George. This is as good as Strange Days, in my opinion. I have to say I like "Love Street", which shows another side of Jim - which is always welcome - and also features great piano work from Manzarek. Actually, the whole first side is really good, with "Hello, I Love You", "Not To Touch The Earth" being the high-lights. All right, "Wintertime Love" isn't all that hot - but it's tolerable. "Spanish Caravan" is another high-light which significes the continuing growth of Krieger as a guitar player. But side two unfortunately also contains the two misfires; "We Could Be So Good Together" and "Yes, The River Knows". "Five To One" makes up for them a bit, though.

Philip Maddox <> (02.10.2000)

I recently dug up an old tape of this and gave it a few whirls and liked it quite a bit. 'Five To One' and 'Hello I Love You' are both excellent, catchy, weird singles that have already had books written about them, so I'll say no more. 'Not To Touch The Earth' is some of Jim's greatest weirdness. Meaningless, but oh so dark and memorable. And though it may sound a bit strange, I absolutely adore 'Wintertime Love'. It's one of my favorite songs here. The odd chords in the verses and the big, catchy chorus pull me into the fun whether I like it or not. It's so short that i usually listen to it 2 or 3 times whenever I spin the album. 'Spanish Caravan' is superb, too - I love the way the song turns into a vicious acid rocker in the second half. It showcases the Doors playing with my mood at its best. Problems? 'My Wild Love' sucks bad (really, who needs that dumb tribal chant?), and a couple of tunes are slightly generic. Still, no major complaints. I grant this album a score of 8 out of 10.

Eric Rogozin <> (18.04.2001)

If you would ask me what Doors albums are the best, I would answer, that the first three Doors albums are amazing and wonderful and certainly they are the best. The band is very unique and the originality of The Doors shines in Waiting For The Sun like, of course, in every album they did. What about the album itself, it's brilliant like I said before. "Hello I Love You", "Love Street", "Summer's Almost Gone", "The Unknown Soldier", "Spanish Caravan", "Five To One" and many others are superb! It's the brilliant continuation of The Doors and Strange Days. Hey, and other albums are also very well, although I think, that L..A.Woman is a slight letdown (I guess, that a lot of people adore L..A.Woman because of the fact, that it was last Morrison album, but it can't be compared with the great first album).

Wood Family <> (20.04.2001)

Okay, Okay....Maybe 'My Wild Love' does suck, and 'We Could Be So Good Together' is a little weak. BUT! George you say that it doesn't fit your conception of the Doors. Let's be reasonable here, why does any band have to continually fit a mould because "that is their image"? May I remind you of the endless re-inventions of the esteemed Mr. Dylan?? Personally, I see this album as a chill, getting off the phsyco-train and stopping to smell the roses. Maybe the album should not be "Waiting For The Sun", but- "Perhaps We Found It"? 'Love Street' is a very intricate piece and so is 'Spanish Caravan', one of the songs compelling me to buy the album, the other being 'Unknown Soldier' which I totally agree with you when you commented on the final screaming in mockery-PURE CLASS! 'Not To Touch the Earth'...amazing, it blew my mind, the assault on the senses and the tension takes me into the fiery heart of the sun (which I am led to believe that The Doors were waiting for). Lets be kinder to 'Yes the River Knows' please. For its soft beginning lets admire the mystical majesty of "flow River, flow....etc" and as it builds it does get better. I agree with Phil Maddox when he says that 'Wintertimelove' is enjoyable- the fact that it doesn't go for long is a saving grace. But I'm going to say something that will get me the occasional death threat and a punch from my friend Steady but here goes... Jim was no Bob. His lyrics are not particularly excellent (dont get me started on the poetry). HIs Voice is superb. But to me it seems that he wrote alotta lines and phrases that sounded good together and stumbled upon meaningful ones once in a while. His strength is simplicity. I regard 'The End' (up until Lost in a Roman...) as some of the greatest lyrics EVER written. So lets not pin Jim for his lack of lyrical majesty on tracks like 'We Could Be so Good Together' and 'Yes the River Knows'. This is a good album. 8.5, if you dont agree, go have another listen and forget the dark and embrace the sun. And to keep up my death threats- L.A Woman (although I haven't had a good chance to really get into it) is a slight letdown. accepting all criticism and praise. Thanks, peace.

Joe H <> (28.11.2001)

Not bad, not bad at all. Definate has grown on me over the years. I definately was disappointed when i first heard it. Really, though, its a good album. There are definate classics on here just like any Doors record. "Hello, I Love You", "Five To One", and "Unknown Soldier" all great songs, although the first is just a silly pop song compared with the other two. Most of the rest has this weird balladry mood to it, but after a while you feel its beauty come out, and Jim really shows his sensitive side with these songs. I dont mind "My Wild Love" at all, either. Kinda interesting. Overall a high high 8/10.

Tomas Arias <> (18.02.2002)

as you probably know, in your review of "waiting for the sun" by the doors, you wrote of the song "five to one" the following:

And the gruesome 'Five To One', an ode to brute force, violence (and possibly Jim's beloved Friedrich Nietzsche) is, undoubtedly, the heaviest and most frightening song the band ever did; its four and a half minutes pack more emotional impact and heavy emotions than the entire black metal movement. You know a song's great when it serves as a great source for all kinds of quotations - 'Five to one baby one and five/No one here gets out alive' is probably the Doors' best known lyrical line (apart from 'come on baby light my fire', of course, which isn't even Morrison).

i guess you were in the right track in your analysis of the song. however, if i remember correctly, i read a book on the doors, "no one gets out of here alive", and it states that jim morrison wrote the song based on the fact that in the vietnam war, the ratio between vietnamise and U.S. soldiers was 5 to 1.

you should get the book if ever interesting in reading about the doors. tomas.

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

Now here's something that's really offensive to me as a listener, and a sharp decline for the Doors that showed so much promise on the last two releases. (I hate when artists show promise and then dash it all away! Damn you, Cream!) Not only is the production a step back to the primitive general knob-twisting of The Doors, but too many songs on here don't even try to come together as worthy pieces of music. Jeez, there's some real shite on here...and of course, it's pretty much Mr. I Want to Be a Songwriter Krieger's fault. Or the commercial-happy record company's...who am I to know? Anyway, messy pop ("Hello I Love You" What The Hell), silly genre-jumping ("My Wild One", "Wintertime Love", "Spanish Caravan", "We Could Be So Good Together", "Love Street"), sappy, underdeveloped balladry ("Yes the River Knows"--but no, it doesn't care), idiotic antiwar pap ("The Unknown Soldier"), and unlistenable avant-garde annoyance ("Not to Touch the Earth") are not what I want to hear off of my perfect Doors album! But no...luckily, the band is redeemed by the stellar "Five to One", quite superior to most of the group's other recordings, throughout all of their career. "Summer's Almost Gone" is acceptable, but still--this from the band who crafted "Light My Fire" and "People Are Strange"? Those singles were good and successful; Waiting's were merely successful. Kind of. Sad, innit?

Nicholas Rogerson <> (04.06.2002)

Hi George,

Only recently have I discovered the wonders of "The Doors", and I love what I hear. You see at the tender age of 16 and with limited supplies I am having to work slowly through all the classic bands, having started at the obvious point and continued through British 60's, Stones, Free, Who, Hendrix etc. Anyhow I've gotten through "The Beach Boys" and ended up with the slightly superior "Doors". Had my fill of 90's funk-techno-rubbish. But I digress what I wanted to say was that having listened to both Strange Days and Waiting For The Sun, I agree that the former is noticeably superior, but that the latter is still one of favourite records currently. You said that you had heard that 'Hello I Love You' was a bit of a rip-off of a Kinks' record. I think it closely resembles 'All Day And All Of The Night', in terms of the melody anyway. Incidentally 'Five To One Rocks' very seriously. Oh and finally, did you see the Queen's Jubilee thingy yesterday. Almost all nonsense, but Clapton dueting with Sir Paul on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' was great. Brian Wilson looked like he was propped up and told when to play. Sad.

Federico Fernández <> (13.11.2002)

Yes, just like you said, this one was a major letdown. When I listened to it for first time I was totally bored: well, it grew a little on me after some time, but I never recovered fully from that bad impression and I still think it's their weakest studio album.

I was never impressed that much by "Not To Touch The Earth" and "Five To One": they are frantic and dark, yes, but they are completely devoid of strong melodic hooks or great organ/guitar riffs. For me, they are both failed attempts of recreating the dark atmosphere of the previous albums; they forget that a good dark tune must have a spooky, menacing melody ('When The Music's Over', 'The Crystal Ship') not just an angry voice singing rambling, tuneless stuff. "Five To One", particularly, strikes me like a bunch of random freaky phrases with not a single thing to remember or like about it; "Not To Touch The Earth" is at least catchy but only in the first few lines. The other track you highlight, "The Unknown Soldier" is even worse! I mean; it's a really bad, very bad, melody with crappy instrumental arrangements, an irritating and lame soldier-march imitation somewhere in the middle and stupid "war is over" chants in the end. I HATE that song. So, the best three for you are the worst three for me!!! I don't know, yes, The Doors are supposed to be dark, but why these three forgettable pseudoepics? No thanks, I preffer to dig the stupid happy pop songs; they are the true soul of this album: "Love Street" is one of the greatest, with a charming music-hall-like melody and nice keyboards. Also, "Spanish Caravan" is, for me, a really successful, pleasant and effective atmosphere, with a great spanish guitar introduction and a beautiful, magical and haunting arabesque melody. I can't get what you don't like about it! For me is the best song on here!!! The other poppy ditties are enjoyable while they're on but once they're over we have not much left: "Wintertime Love", "Summer's Almost Gone", "We Could Be So Good Together" and "Yes, The River Knows" belong to this type of OK songs... The hit "Hello I Love You" is nice, but not very imaginative; it runs out of gas very soon. "I Looked At You" could kick its ass ten times.

Overall, a very weak record. Not one you'll be playing often. The following and even more hated The Soft Parade is clearly superior.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

My first album by the band. WFTS is just a normal (well, almost so; Jim is Jim) pop record packed with very memorable melodies. But you won’t know it from the incredible first track, an upbeat rocker “Hello, I Love You” (IMO, it is a rip-off of the notorious Kinks song and I was surprised to see that you, George, fail to notice it; you, who found similarities in “Stairway To Heaven” and “The Rover”!). Then we have a very beautiful “Love Street” and “Not To Touch The Earth”, where mysticism meets catchiness. Hell, I love practically every single song here, except maybe a dumb love song called “We Could Be So Good Together” and a fillerish “My Wild Love”. But the rest are just fine. George, how come you don’t like “Spanish Caravan”? Krieger is fantastic! “Unknown Soldier” is a great protest song (very emotional and powerful) and the gentle “Yes The River Knows” is very moving. Finally, we have a solid “Five To One”, the kind of song Morrison knew how to scream.

I have absolutely no problems with giving it a 13.

Bob Josef <> (22.08.2006)

Part of the reason this one is such a big letdown was that they had to scrap the studio version of "The Celebration of the Lizard," which was supposed to take up the entire second side. So, they were really hard pressed to come up with material, even reaching back to two more early demos ("Hello, I Love You" and "Summer's Almost Gone") which had been rejected for the first two albums. Still, I think it's a bit better than you think. As I said before, I do think the genius of the Doors was in the contrast of upbeat, poppier fare with their darker, more nihilistic stuff. And their pop songs are still pretty unique -- when Morrison sings a line like "Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel?", you know he's got more on his mind than "I Want to Hold Your Hand." And the darker songs -- "Five to One," "The Unknown Soldier" and "Not to Touch the Earth" -- are their darkest and creepiest yet. The only totally weak track is "My Wild Love," a dumb "shamanistic" raving that I bet came exclusively from Morrison. This one is proof positive that Jim floundered without the musical support of the other Doors. Far from a terrible album, overall, though -- just not as innovative as their first two.


Valentin Katz <> (09.12.99)

This seems to be the forgotten album. When mentioned with other Doors albums, it seems to never hold its own, but I believe its one of their best. Although horns seem unconventional and out of place in a Doors record, they not only pull it off, they make it sound damn fucking good. 'Tell All the People' and 'Touch Me' are just great melodious songs, something the Doors sound usually lacks (not that that's bad, oh no!). 'Runnin' Blue' is really ominous until Robby steps in with his hillbilly chorus. And then there is of course, the forgotten Doors epic. Everyone raves about 'The End' for its Oedipus parallels, 'When the Music's Over' for its apocalyptic (which you can say for any doors song) vision and 'Riders on the Storm' for the amazing organ playing. But 'The Soft Parade' is always left out, when it is my belief that it belongs right up there with those classics. The opening with "YOU CAN NOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER" should automatically give you an indication that this song will be cool. And the lyric that touches me deep inside "All our lives we sweat and save, building towards a shallow grave". Is there anything more poetic to describe our worthless, emotionless, meaningless, society driven lives? I think not.

Fredrik Tydal <> (16.06.2000)

The original Doors never put out a bad album, but this one has to be their least impressive. Krieger embarrasses himself on at least two tracks; I can't hardly listen to "Tell All The People" and "Touch Me". Thankfully, Morrison saves the day with a couple of his usual tricks. I actually prefer the title track to both "The End" and "When The Music's Over", in terms of epic Doors songs. Of Krieger's numbers, I have to say I actually like "Runnin' Blue". Don't ask me why, perhaps it's the contrast between the lame country imitation and the Doors sound. And Krieger sure had earned himself that rare vocal... A decent effort, but lowest in the Doors album hierarchy.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (25.03.2001)

Oh, no, not again! This cheesy pop will make me deaf! Why the opening number belongs to Krieger? 'Tell all the people' is pretty awful and has unbelievable stupid lyrics ('Tell all the people that see, it's just me, follow me down'). Plus, in the end we get awful jazzy coda. Now I realize that I hate pure jazz with all my heart. 'Touch me' is from the same pot - jazzy and stupid. Jim hated it, too. He even insisted on singing 'Cum on, cum on, now suck me baby...' instead of Krieger's lines (actually, I don't know whose version is better, but the only thing I'm sure that if I were Jim I'd refuse to sing it anyway). The third track is a relief for me - cool melody, wonderful lyrics ('...and your mind, and your mind, and you're mine...') and a little bit hoarsy vocal make me cringe. Unfortunately, next five tracks are so boring that I close my eyes and hit the table with my head until I hear Jim's voice through my dream: 'petition the lord with prayer... YOU CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!'. Complex melody, charming lyrics and dark atmosphere make this song easily the best one here. So? Two terrific songs among seven awful ones? Yes. So the rating is 5. Maybe 6 on a good day (unfortunately, it's snowing again so I have no mood to relisten Parade)...

Joe H <> (28.11.2001)

Very underrated. I was disappointed with this one at first as well, but really, this is different! Horns, orchastra, violins, using other instruments, works a great deal! "Touch Me" is an absolute classic. Man thats a great song. And wow is the title track ever better then "The End". Starts out with Jim frantically yelling about how you "CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER", then goes into this absolutely beautiful lullibye, then turns into total psychadelic nightmare carnival music! Man, great stuff. Other great songs include "Wishful Sinful", "Tell All The People", "Wild Child" with that really cool riff, and "Easy Ride". Overall pretty damn good album! I'd give it a 9/10.

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

I actually like this one two points more than I do the last one, which brings it up to a 6/B- in my little booklet. (Actually, I don't keep a little booklet.) Anyway, I like this one because this time around, it's still bubblegum, but most of it's well-done bubblegum. I'm still impressed by the soaring "Tell all the People", and "Wishful Sinful" and "Touch Me" are both enjoyable as well--perhaps because they're somewhat well-written, or perhaps because it's fun to hear the ridiculousness of the atmospheric brass piled messily on top of the somewhat cloying strings. And when the band that made this record tries to actually be THE DOORS again, the results are absolutely magic: "Shaman's Blues" is delightfully mystical and dark, and "The Soft Parade" is the band at their adept art-rock best. I'm not too big a fan of the other stuff, though--mainly because the songs ALL SUCK ASS. "Do It" feels like a stupid attempt at a vehicle for Morrison's demonic image, and tracks like "Runnin' Blue" and "Easy Ride" just don't stylistically fit in with the rest of the Doors' canon (they're country and they could've been written by a 15-year-old). All in all a middling outing. But a somewhat satisfying one, in the end.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

Of all the Morrison-era albums, this one is definitely the weakest.

Soft, poppy, but still very charming. My favourites are “Wild Child” (what a riff!), Jim’s amazing “Shaman’s Blues”, a very nice “Wishful Sinful” (just a solid pop song) and another unforgettable long closer, the title track. “Tell All The People” and “Touch Me” are good, but very lightweight. “Runnin’ Blue” is dumb fun and both “Do It” and “Easy Ride” are rather forgettable.

Even though it has a number of uninspired songs, it is still worth a low 12 on the overall scale.

Bob Josef <> (23.08.2006)

I even think that you underrate it -- I'd put this #3 in the pecking order. A lot of people don't like it because of the orchestration, but I think that it's done well, although it does obscure the group's idiosyncratic sound to some degree. And, to repeat myself yet again, I think Doors are at their best when the balance light accessibility and weirdness. For instance, I actually like the anthemic "Tell All the People" - I think it's lovely. The rather boorish Morrison could used some humanizing form time to time, and Krieger accomplishes that well here. "Running Blue" is interesting, too, with the soulful verses and country chorus, although it was a strange choice for a single. "Do It" and "Easy Ride" probably qualify as filler, but at least they're catchy and entertaining. "Touch Me" is a great, catch single. And the title track, I agree, is pretty awesome and creative, even beating out "The End." It may be atypical, but this is a very solid album.


Nick Karn <> (18.10.99)

Do you have the reissued double disc version of this one? Cause I think it adds a second full disc of more popular songs (the first disc consists of what I've heard). I've heard only the original double record version, and I find it decent and certainly interesting, but fairly erratic. The blues covers just don't do it for me at all - "Who Do You Love" is good, but I find "Build Me A Woman" utterly moronic and "Close To You" pretty much worthless. Some of the live versions are really good ("Five To One", "Universal Mind", "When The Music's Over", "Soul Kitchen", etc.), but not really an improvement or change from the originals. And like I said in the Waiting For The Sun review, "Celebration Of The Lizard" is just coma-inducing boredom, although it is intriguing, to be fair. Could have been a really nice live document, but it has its' weaknesses, and I'm definitely not a fan of concert recordings, so I can't give it anything more than a 6.

Fredrik Tydal <> (31.08.2000)

I have this one as part of the In Concert double CD, which couples the complete Absolutely Live album with non-overlaping selections from Alive She Cried and Live At The Hollywood Bowl. And I have to say I can't get enough of the live Doors... I really like their theatrical qualities, you know; Morrison really over-doing it in "Back Door Man", the build-up to and release of "We want the world" in "When The Music's Over", Manzarek's hilarious lead vocals on "Close To You". Yes, indeed, I like Ray's little show-case - I think he had earned it. Did you know that he actually worked as a blues singer in the early sixties? His stage name was Screamin' Ray Daniels (no, I'm not making that up). And Morrison comes across as a pretty decent guy and actually makes sense, cracking a few good jokes in the process. And "Soul Kitchen" is the perfect closer - I wonder if it was planned or just spontaneity on Jim's part...

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

This is a very entertaining live album. With the top-notch performance of the musicians and Jim's on-stage theatrics, how couldn't it be? I really like 'The Celebration of the Lizard', which is somewhat shortened from its orginal version, (I heard the studio version was meant to be around the 25-minute mark). The classics are performed well, with some cool poetry thrown in on the side. This serves as a document of the greatness the Doors were, and why they have such an outstanding legacy.

Joe H <> (28.11.2001)

Not too bad. The tracklisting is kinda weird though. A lot of damn covers and stuff on here! But its really nice to hear The Doors in a live atmosphere. Cool live album, but man is that "Celebration Of The Lizard" suite thing a drag. Its cool hearing "Not To Touch The Earth", but the rest i could careless about. Overall a good live experience. 8/10.

Bob Josef <> (17.04.2002)

The Doors, like the Grateful Dead, could be utterly unpredictable live, not necessarily in a good way, thanks to Morrison (as the boxed set proves), but this album catches them on nights when they got it right. Jim is totally together and on spot here. I agree that "Who do You Love?" is a strong contender for the best song. I don't always care for their blues stuff (I could do without "Build Me a Woman," for example, but it's short; on the other hand, "Back Door Man" is as classic here as on the first album), but this really rocks. I don't think "Universal Mind" is available elsewhere, and it's a great example of the dark, mystical side of the group. I even like "Celebration of the Lizard," and I usually don't go for such stuff. It was probably a good thing they scrapped the studio version, but it works well as a live performance piece. It probably misses a lot without Jim's visual presence, though.

I don't know if this is still in print, but I have this album as part of a two disc set called In Concert. The second disc contains the American Prayer version of "Roadhouse Blues" (which I could definitely do without), the tracks from the Alive, She Cried LP, the Live at the Hollywood Bowl EP, and a hypnotic version of "The End" which you can't get elsewhere. There are a couple of minuses, namely more dreary blues excursions in covers of "Little Red Rooster" and Willie Dixon's "Close to You" -- the latter sung by Manzarek, which is sort of like Phil Collins singing a Peter Gabriel Genesis tune -- a shadow of the master. But these are more than compensated by stuff like an energetic take of "You Make Me Real"; a very intense, sexual sound check version of Them's "Gloria"; and a fantastic ten minute version of "Light My Fire" which blows away any feeling that the studio version is endlessly overplayed. These three songs, and "The End" (which makes the Oedipus connection more explicit than in the studio version), make this set worth finding.

Pat Shipp <> (31.10.2003)

First and foremost: The Doors absolutely TEAR THE FUCKING HOUSE DOWN with their unbelievable version of Willie Dixon's "Close To You". I swear, if I hear one more person disparage this song, I'm gonna scream.  It's currently my favorite blues tune in the world, and I will never, ever be able to understand why people don't like it. Never. What's the problem, people? Is it Ray's voice that you don't like? I can hardly see why, 'cause his voice is perfect for the blues, it's deep, masculine and thunderous. And Jim sings background vocals on this one, too. That part where they keep wailing "CLOSER AND CLOSER BABY!" is just too awesome for me to describe in words, and it's my favorite moment in all of blues music. Listen to it again, George, and perhaps you'll see what I mean. Robby also gets a great, bluesy solo. The driving beat of the song just intoxicates me beyond belief. And listen to the way that John keeps thrashing his cymbals, he's the glue that holds it all together. Oh, and I've heard the Muddy Waters version of this song, and it sounds like a complete joke when compared to The Doors version. "CLOSER AND CLOSER BABY!".

Also, George, I can't believe that you didn't go into more detail about this version of "Five To One", which is so intense that I don't even know if I can describe it.  Listen to Robby's solo, it's the most amazing solo I've ever heard him play.  Yes, this kid can play a mean guitar, can't he?  Jim also bellows out the vocals as if his life depended on it.  "Who Do You Love" and "Build Me A Woman" are two great blues songs, and "Back Door Man" features another stunning Robby Krieger solo, but they all pale in comparison to the mighty "Close To You".  No other song defines raw, fiery blues like this one.

Matti Alakulju <Matti.Alakulju@SWTP.RU> (14.11.2003)

Do you know a tune called "Afro Blue"? It was originally written by Mongo Santamaria, then recorded and made popular by John Coltrane on many occasions. It appears as a huge, correctly titled jam version on Gov't Mule's Live - with a little help from our friends. These nice little details I've found out only recently.

Now, I have loved and listened to The Doors for decades. Just a few days ago I happened to grab this 2-CD version and my jaw dropped open when I heard "Universal Mind". Right there, about midway through, there it goes again! The boys are playing "Afro Blue", straight and nice. But they do it uncredited! Another favourite group of mine, Santana, has also played the tune, and also uncredited. It appears on that glorious live 3-LP Lotus, about 3 minutes into "Incident at Neshabur". Carlos gives the tune such a swirl that you gotta be careful to hear it! In case you are interested in this sort of sport, listen to these various versions, and have fun! If you know of any other appearances of "Afro Blue", drop me a note, thank you.


Fredrik Tydal <> (16.06.2000)

To me, this is a really uneven album. One half of it is outstanding, the other half is passable at best. True, "Roadhouse Blues" is one of all-time greatest Doors songs - but tracks like "Ship Of Fools" and "Land Ho!" come across as really clumsy. And I won't even mention stinkers like "Blue Sunday" and "Indian Summer". So maybe "You Make Me Real" is a decent rocker, but then again The Doors were at their most uninteresting when they did straight-up rock numbers (see "The Changeling"). But on to the good parts; "Waiting For The Sun" is classic Doors style and "Peace Frog" is a funky little hidden gem. I also like "Queen Of The Highway", it has some kind of magic - if not one of the best melodies on the album. "Maggie M'Gill" works well as the album closer, probably one of the best blues emulations The Doors did. It's a good, but flawed album. I wouldn't go as far as a 9, maybe 7.5 or 8. But it sure is a welcome change of direction and musicianship after The Soft Parade.

Kerist Wood <> (01.07.2001)

I just bought this album and I really really like it. On the contrary to what you have to say, I don't believe that there are any 'stinkers' on the album. I'd say that 'Land Ho' comes close to being a filler but not close enough. I won't say much about 'Roadhouse Blues' other than it being one of the greatest The Doors ever did. Not much else needs to be said about that now. 'Waiting for the Sun' is very Strange Days isn't it, but has a heavier sound to it. Very nice melody that exists as trippy and angry, the middle is AWESOME. 'You Make Me Real' has the potential to be a bore but the happy fun atmosphere it exumes just can't go unappreciated. Also, it's the power of Morrison's voice that is just perfect that makes the 'rocky' pauses just so good- "OH!...What can I do?". 'Peace Frog' is great. 'Blue Sunday' is a great song! I don't mean to totally disagree with Fredrik Tydal, but I have to on this one. The same goes for 'Indian Summer'. They are fresh songs. 'Blue Sunday' begins like a continuation of 'Lucy In The Sky'.... until good ol' Jim comes in with that magnificent voice of his to make the song sound like it is slowly emerging from the depths of a crystal lake swathed in a purple fog. 'Indian Summer' is a hazy and very dark love song. And, in case I'm not mistaken, Strange Days was full of those, wasn't it? 'Ship of Fools' is quite good to...definitely not a throwaway. It has many good qualities (eg. the bluesy start). 'Maggie MGill' is perfect and I wouldn't cahnge anything- especially not the "really like to, GET IT ON". The start kinda takes me back to 'Five To One'. 'Queen Of The Highway' is great too. The sound of the keyboard on that track works beautifully with Jims voice. Also, Krieger really steps up the pace with the guitaring on this album, so too (to a lesser extent) does Densmore's drumming. One of the Greatest Albums by the Doors. It is full of great songs. I think that Strange Days falls down in that respect...stuff like 'Can't See Your Face'..and 'My Eyes Have Seen You' will never do anything for me. So, this may even be better. O, well...I won't say anymore (hee hee hee).

Glenn Wiener <> (24.09.2001)

I just bought this CD. Whereas I like it a good deal it seems to be slightly inferior to LA Woman. Jim Morrison is certainly in fine form with his varied vocal range. The band members support him nicely but there is a lack of extensive soloing by both Robbie and Ray with the possible obvious exception of 'Roadhouse Blues'. Nothing like the solos the guys would do on 'Riders On The Storm', 'Been Down So Long', 'LA Woman', 'The W.A.S.P'., etc...But certainly the instrumental embellishments here and there are indeed very good. 'Roadhouse Blues' and 'The Spy' are excellent tunes and therea re many good ones. However, I would rate this one as number three or four of the six Doors recordings with Morrison.

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

The comeback, nicely rootsy and swaggery...but wait, the Doors weren't the Rolling Stones from 1966-67! So maybe it's not really a comeback (although it's oft-described as such), but it does have some great tracks on here, and the bluesy edge allows Morrison to excercise his skilled vocal-cord-tearing. "Peace Frog", "Roadhouse Blues", "The Spy", and the spectacular "Waiting For the Sun" are all classics, and worthy in the eyes of the more untouchable stuff from the early years. Unfortunately, hearing some of the more degenerate material (which George has indicated, of course, correctly) makes the recollection of the early years' untouchable nature more prominent in a listener's mind, which invokes nostalgia, which reveals Morrison Hotel/Hard Rock Cafe to be a bit less than perfect. Fans seem to like this one a lot, though, and my bassist friend who thinks he was Jim Morrison's reincarnate (he was born on the man's birthday while "Roadhouse Blues" was playing) cites this album as his fave by Jim and the boys. Naturally, he ain't a critic. A low 8/B+.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

Another score! It’s a bit of a departure from their original style (not sound, though), but it has 5 songs that are easily among their very very best. The classic opener, “Roadhouse Blues”, will knock you down with its solid riff and fantastic singing. “Waiting For The Sun” is very melodic and effective (amazing vocal delivery, too). The pulsating “Peace Frog” is very engaging. The bluesy “The Spy” manages to be very beautiful and weird at the same time, while “Maggie M’gill” has a truly powerful riff. Man, I love that stuff! Funny how I praised the songs that George loves most of all on Morrison Hotel. Well, okay, I’m not a big fan of the slightly generic “You Make Me Real”, but “Indian Summer” sounds very lovely to my ears. Now I’m more or less original. Very nice.

A great album with next to no filler. I would give this a high 13 or a low 14 overall.


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

Very solid effort with an emphasis on the blues. You are correct that 'Crawling King Snake' just drags after a while. However, I really like the tone shifts in 'L'America'. 'Hyacinth House' is a hidden gem with the organ embellishments. I tell you its a wonder that Ray Manzarek did not pursue a solo career as his keyboard playing is phenomenal. His vocal performance on Absolutely Live's 'Close To You' is quite good(although not on Jim's level). I met him at a book signing in New York City and he seemed pretty happy although still a bit trippy. Anyway, this is a great recording and yes 'Riders On The Storm' is one excellent song.

Fredrik Tydal <> (23.01.2000)

Now this album's a pleasant surprise. To be, this is The Doors next best effort, after the debut album. I like the blues emulations, even "Crawling King Snake". Jim is in pretty good shape here, though his voice is a bit ragged in some places. But I must say his vocal work at the end of "Cars Hiss By My Window" is impressive. I also have to say that Robby Krieger has really matured as a guitar player by this record. I have never been impressed by his work on the first two records, but here he really shines. The title track is a thrilling musical ride, which takes off in all kinds of directions. Takes time to get into, though. The only weak track here is the opening "The Changeling". The best is saved for last, however. Possibly The Doors' best song, symbolically the final Doors song of the final original Doors album; "Riders On The Storm". This is a quiet, modest, understated epic. The arrangement is perfect, with moody sound effects, good vocals, skillful rhythm section and most importantly; Ray Manzarek's humble electric piano solo. A truly suitful end to The Doors career. Even if the album is slightly over-shadowed by the closing master-piece, L.A. Woman is really a hidden gem.

jonathan pileggi <> (17.01.2001)

Just in case you have not been informed of this allready, Morrison did not write 'love her madly', Krieger did.

Graham Douglas <> (01.09.2001)

L.A Woman a quality blues album. Although George doesn't rate the opening track 'The Changeling' (but doesn't deny its catchy rhythm), i like it because by this time 1971) Jim had become tired of the lizard king image and wanted to tell people he had changed.Jim had many faces as the video 'Dance on Fire' shows as well  does  A Tribute to Jim Morrison (the best documentary on the doors) Jim seems to put so much effort into the song. (Jim's screams)

However, the best song on the album and out of the whole Doors collection in my opinion is Riders on the Storm.' The opening rain sounds fits into the song brilliantly and Ray's piano solo, (although everyone says it) has to be mentioned as it is probably the best part of the song.

'L.A Woman '  'Been Down so Long' and 'Hyacinth House are also classics. They all are!

<> (02.01.2002)

I bought this album in 1975 when I was an avid 45s purchaser just starting to build up an LP collection (after my father finally decided to relinquish $5.00 a week for my allowance). I remembered 'Riders On the Storm' (a single my sister had) and it evoked pleasant childhood memories even though the psychosexual lyrics were miles above my head. I new it would be longer on the LA Woman album and didn't want to fork over 8 bucks for the compilation album Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine. Hell, at this stage, I was skeptical of anything that was released before 1970.

When I first brought it home, I skipped all the other songs and dropped the needle on to 'Riders' and was quite pleased with the extra electric piano passages that were not on the single release. A friend (who was with me at the store) wanted me play the title track which I obliged.

Some of the piano passages reminded me of another song I remember hearing around the time of 'Riders' that could quite possibly be by the Doors. I checked the jacket and saw 'Love Her Madly' and immediately had to check it out after the 'LA Woman' track was overwith to see if this was the song in question. Sure enough it was! That was a pleasant surprise for me to buy an album for one song and for it to have a hit I had completely forgotten about.

The rest of the album took me some time to get used to. At that time I was still buying sappy ballad artists like Barry Manilow and Carpenters. But eventually songs like the lonely ballad 'Hyacinth House' (I love the organ work) and the soft surreal blues number 'Cars Hiss Buy My Window' (as many of the other excellent tracks here) crept into my subconscious. I still maintain that 'Riders On the Storm' is the best moment on the album. Its soft understated instrumental combined with the thunderstorm sound effects was the perfect backing Morrison to lay his low vocals on his dark lyrics. Like everyone else, I feel that it was the perfect closing -- the proper climax to LA Woman and to the Jim Morrison and the Doors career.

Initially the psychosexual content (albeit less prevalent in this album than their previous ones) was still a little above my head but not out of reach. The album is still my favourite Doors recording. A year later my prejudice for sixties music would dissolve and I would dive headlong into sixties rock music and waved bye bye to the Carpenters and Barry Manilow. I think that LA Woman had something to do with that.

Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

I don't like this one too much; it's horrendously underproduced, and the fact that it's a standard blues record sort of contradicts my tastes. There's much of this that could've been done much better and in a more appealing manner, but nevertheless, my strictly critical eye sees it as a 7. "Riders On the Storm", "Hyacinth House", "Love Her Madly", "L'America", and "The WASP" are all quite good, and they elevate the record for me as needed during listening. Doors fans seem to like it a tad more ferociously then I do...which reminds me, did you ever see the Kids in the Hall skit where Doors fans are hilariously parodied? ("Here <holds up copy of Morrison Hotel>. It's an 8 track tape. Get in your car, play it, and just start driving West. When it ends, stop your car, get out, and start a fight with somebody. Then get back in your car and drive back here; I'll be waiting...and then, my friend, you'll be a Doors fan!" Well, it was funny when I saw it...)

Nicholas Rogerson <> (13.03.2003)

An absolutely brilliant album, which I count among my real favourites. I know I love this album, since I can put it in my CD player and not feel the urge to skip through any tracks, although some tracks are better that others.

I'd like to go through the album song by song. 'The Changeling' is a brilliant rocking opener, and I'm quite surprised that you don't rate it really highly. Don't those wah solos from Krieger MAKE you get out of your seat and go wild? What about all those grunts and 'huh' noises from Jim? Pure brilliance. 'Love Her Madly' is simply beautiful, and I agree that the guitarline from Krieger at the end is really tear-jerking. Some of the lyrics are odd, 'Don't you wanna be her daddy?'. Strange. That's Jim though. 'Been Down So Long' counts as one of my favourite blues tunes, sitting up among the best of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, in terms of vocal delivery. You are right-Jim is a real bluesman by now. The guitarwork towards the end really elevates the song. 'Car Hiss By My Window' is not one the better songs on here, but it appeals to me nonetheless. It is essentially just a bluesy number, however it grooves along in a really tranquil, comatose way. Love the wah imitation by Jim at the end. Typically bizarre. 'L.A.Woman' is my favourite number on this record, and that's saying a lot. Jim really gives an energetic, inspired performance, Ray Manzarek tinkles away beautifully, Densmore is rock steady and Krieger puts in some MORE excellent fingerstyle guitarwork. Is it me or is Robbie a) underrated terribly and b) an absolutely unique guitarist with a great musical sense? He sure shines throughout. Love the 'Mojo Rising' bit, which gives way to that fantastically energetic guitar-vocal groove. 'L'America' is the weakest number I think, but it stills has some original features. The creepiness of the opening, with the ominous keyboard lines, puts me in mind of 'The Soft Parade'. 'Hyacinth House' is a gorgeous piece. The tune is just so sweet. Krieger AGAIN makes the song with his carefully placed licks. The keyboards are great on this one too. Jim sounds really melancholy and troubled, and this adds to the experience. 'Crawling King Snake', is the weaker of the two blues covers on the album, but, as a big blues fan, I love it, and I love the Doors' treatment of the blues throughout their career, starting with 'Back Door Man'. I'm gonna get boring, but Krieger is again at the heart of it all. A track which critics often call filler 'The WASP', is another one I love. Maybe it is filler, but I love that plodding, thumping riff, with Jim at his very best, singing some more nonsensical words, but with such conviction. You have to love the nonsense he sings at times! Am listening to 'Riders On The Storm' now, and this runs 'L.A.Woman' close for the title of my fave song. Could be their most atmospheric piece ever. Stunning. Like the album. I won't say anymore.

Jean Marlow <> (28.04.2004)

The first song, I can skip, easily. With it out of the way, the album gets bookended by the two best tracks; 'Love Her Madly', and 'Riders on the Storm'; 'Riders' really is a great final Doors song, probably their best ever. Even though Morrison always came across as the focal point of the band, for me it is Manzarek who stars on this album, and this is his song.

'Crawling King Snake' seems to be not only boring, but I think fairly pretentious. The first time I heard it, I thought "they are taking themselves w-a-y too seriously". I suspect it was to maintain Morrison's image, but in the end, it's a disappointment. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that this would be the last real Doors album, and so I suppose I would like it to be a perfect epitaph; it isn't, but there a couple of songs which offer an unfulfilled promise~if only....

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

Of course, it’s their blues album, but it’s also their blues album, which means a lot. I remember one of my first impressions was that Morrison has a very “grown-up” voice on L.A. Woman. My favourites would be the unforgettable “Love Her Madly”, the solid title track that has, like, a number of different parts with the best part being that about Mojo rising (really cool!). Then I dig the very nice “Hyacinth House” with its gentle and catchy melody. Finally, “Riders On The Storm” is absolutely fantastic with its majestic atmosphere and Jim’s emotional singing. Not my favourite by The Doors, but definitely in their top 10 (if not top 5). Also, I’m very fond of the powerful “The Changeling” and especially the dark “L’America”. And isn’t it cute to hear Jim Morrison singing something like “Cars Hiss By My Window”? It obviously is.

A very satisfying effort. A 13 at worst.


Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

Jim told the band once that he wanted to carry on without them as an instrumental trio.

<> (05.02.2001)

As a whole this record is of course nothing great. But I think it is essential for the true Doors fan. At first listen, you might cringe at the sounds coming out of the vocal cords of Mr. Manzarek and Mr. Krieger but slowly these songs have the tendency to grow on you. I think there are isolated moments on this album that are full of greatness. "In the Eye of the Sun" is one of the tracks that I like the more I listen to it. Manzarek's singing doesn't seem to bother me anymore and Krieger's wah-wah guitar playing is really cool in a space blues kind of way. What I think the band should have done is have focused more on their strength which of course was their instrumental side and developed long jams with minimalistic singing-chanting sort of like some of the Krautrock bands (who really were not known for any spectacular vocalists). "Tightrope Ride" kicks butt and I like "Ship W/Sails". "Hang on to your life" is also pretty cool with good percussion and it has an interesting general feel. That's it I think.

Glenn Wiener <> (21.09.2002)

I recently found this obscure record which is not available on CD at least in the United States. Whereas Jim Morrison's presence is surely missed, Manzarek and Krieger are both certainly capable vocalists.

The songs themselves are quite good. They lack Morrison's dark imagery and get pretty hokey particularly on the two Krieger sung tunes 'Variety Is The Spice of Life' and 'I'm Horny I'm Stoned'. However, the music is pretty catchy throughout the record and Robbie Krieger's guitar stylings are near his best particularly on the opening track 'In The Eye Of The Sun'. Manzarek's keyboard work is constantly strong as well.

Your review is very objective, George. You realize the audience it is aimed for and clearly state what you feel are the pros and cons of the music.

Guillermo F. Vázquez Malagamba <> (24.10.2002)

This album is out of print in the U.S. since the mid seventies, but I bought it (with a copy of Full Circle) in 1982, imported, made by WEA Germany. The book "The Doors" (written by John Tobler & Andrew Doe) says that the remaining Doors were rehearsing waiting Morrison´s return, but it never happened. They were without recording contract since L.A. Woman was their last album for Elektra. There were negotiations with several labels, but when Morrison died, Elektra gave them another chance. So, they recorded the album during August and September 1971. As you said, some of the songs remained from previous sessions, and they finished them and also recorded new songs. They said that there were unsure to call themselves The Doors, but in the end they decided to still call themselves The Doors. IMO, this is a good album despite Krieger´s and Manzarek´s vocals are not so good on some songs. But they demonstrated that they were very good musicians, not as many people thought of them as just Morrison´s band.

I comment each song:

"In the eye of the sun": not one of my favourites. Manzarek´s vocals are not so good, and maybe it is the worst song of the album. They sound "lazy".

"Variety is the spice of life": some humour in the lyrics (about adultery).

"Ships w/sails": Interesting instrumental sections, with a very good final part. Sometimes they sounded like Santana, a bit.

"Tightrope ride": a good song, the obvious single. It has two drums parts recorded (you can listen to them because one is mixed in the left channel and the other in the right channel). This song was chosen for their 1997 CD boxed set.

"Down on the farm": a good song, a mix of rock with country and western music. It was a song left out during the L.A. Woman sessions because Jiim didn´t like it.

"I´m horny, I´m stoned": another song with humour. It could be a "portrait" of Morrison´s life.

"Wandering Musician": the best song of the album, inspired by Morrison. Manzarek´s keyboards and vocals are very good. This song sounds more like the "old" Doors in style.

"Hang on to your life": a good song, with good percussion sounds and good bass guitar. The session musicians recruited for this album did a very good job.

Talking about "The Doors without Morrison" is for many people like talking of "Genesis without Gabriel". Many people tend to underrate the rest of the band members, but they are still good musicians without their overrated lead singers.


Guillermo F. Vázquez Malagamba <> (24.10.2002)

This album is a bit better in comparison to Other voices, IMO, because the vocals and the arrangements are better. Maybe they had more time to work in the arrangements and in the recording of this album. The cover art is very good, and it is like a pre-announcement of the end of The Doors: the life-death cycle. I comment each song:

"Get Up and Dance": a pop song. It was released as a single in the U.K. (with a song called "Tree Trunks" in the B-side, now only available in some bootlegs). It sounds like a "party song". It is good, but very different to The Doors with Morrison.

"4 Billion Souls": a good song with good vocals by Krieger. The organ-guitar melodies are very good.

"Verdilac": a "mysterious" song, with jazz sax player Charles Lloyd. Very out of style of The Doors with Morrison.

"Hardwood Floor": another good song, with very good vocals by Manzarek and harmonica played by Krieger. It could have been another choice for a single.

"Good Rockin´": a good version.

"The Mosquito": a good song with a bit of humour in the lyrics. The instrumental sections shows how good The Doors were each in their instruments. Bassist Leland Sklar also plays very good. It was released as a single in the U.S.

"The Piano Bird": the best song of the album, composed by the underrated Densmore and Jack Conrad. (Why you tend to underrate the drummers in your reviews? Many of them are the real soul and power of the bands). The flute, also played by Charles Lloyd, is very good. A jazz-rock-Latin style song, IMO, a bit like Santana.

"It Slipped my mind": very good guitars by Krieger. "

The Peking King and the New York Queen": a good song which sounds dated in the lyrics (Socialism vs. Capitalism). Manzarek tries to "give peace a chance" between both former political power poles. His keyboards are very good.

Densmore said that there were many problems for this album. Manzarek and Krieger were having different views about the musical direction for the band. After the tour for this album (playing their last concert in mid September 1972), they went to England to look for a lead singer, but they split when Manzarek left them in December 1972. Krieger and Densmore formed a new band called "The Butts Band" which recorded 2 albums between 1973 and 1975. Looking for information in the Internet about these Doors trio albums, I found that Other Voices and Full Circle were released in one CD in Russia (as bootlegs?). In 1995, I bought an official cassette version of Full Circle made in Germany by WEA. It was available then, but not now.


Nick Karn <> (18.10.99)

I had the misfortune of hearing a few minutes of this album, with the pointless disco backing to a reading of Jim's "poetry". I'm somewhat of a poetry fan, but I just cannot accept Morrison's as anything great. Don't get me wrong, he was a great singer and frontman, and this would work fine in the context of actual Doors songs, as their songs had great melody and musicianship, but without their backing it just doesn't cut it. I came to this conclusion after reading through a poetry book of his that I have, and it seems to be like rambling thoughts that do not connect with each other at all, with no purpose or meaning whatsoever - to me at least. It just seems to me that anyone with a halfway interesting and creative mind could have written most of this crap without too much thought. That's just my opinion, but then a lot of people see it as genius, so don't listen to me.

Cherninskyj Andrij <> (13.05.2002)

I can tell, that the album An American Prayer very much has liked to me. It not that made "Doors", it another - but magnificent. Me interests, who officially is the author of music? And what not "Doors'" music was used by the musicians? For example, "A Feast Of Freands" is a composition of Tomazzo Albioni. If someone has information, send, please, me on e-mail.

Igor Maslennikov <> (24.11.2003)

I don't think A Prayer to be the worst album of The Doors, because... it's not an album! Just a number of rarities compiled into one CD. It's as if you said that Some Product by Sex Pistols is the worst album of them. A Prayer is also "some product" with several really good songs (incl. the fabulous "Roadhouse Blues").


Glenn Wiener <> (29.04.2003)

Some interesting versions of old chestnuts. 'The Crystal Ship' and 'Summers Almost Gone' are interesting in these formats. Other moments that we could definitely do without. But overall this is good stuff. And its nice to know what the Doors thought of as their best tunes.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (10.08.2005)

I don’t have this at the moment, but gave this a couple of listens some time ago. Not everything is great here, but most of the stuff is very intriguing. Some of these songs are not available elsewhere, so it’s a must buy for the fans. I absolutely loved the mystical “Black Train Song”, the catchy “Go Insane”. Plus, they do some incredible versions of their famous songs (and the introduction to “5 to 1” alone is worth a fortune!). But I hate what they do to Van Morrison’s “Gloria”. Their interpretation loses the original’s intrigue, which is a shame. Too straightforward, I’d say. Still, solid enough. Get this box set some day. It’s worth it.


Ryan Maffei <> (09.03.2002)

Not necessarily essential, I suppose, when you can get the whole shebang in the box set for a few extra bucks...and how can this collection be essential without including the famed performance of "Five to One" that's on the set, recorded on the night when a brief scene from Hair: the Musical? Oh, well. I can't really judge these recordings as I would songs, I suppose, considering the format, although few of the new selections are really too memorable (with the exception of the enticing "Orange County Suite"), which loses some points. And Jim behaves in a hilariously pretentious way on stage during the live recordings, so, that's more points...all in all, this whole collection amounts to about a 7 in my mind, but I must say: isn't anything like this totally worth it if it contains a hilarious early bubblegum demo like that of "Moonlight Drive" featured here? My, how that tune changed throughout the band's career...

Bob Josef <> (23.04.2002)

I'm sure there's debate over which selections to include from the on this disk, but, for the most part, they did a reasonable job. The box really does have a lot if filler. For example, there are far too many of the band's tedious blues excursions. The worst of these is a dull, drunken, 17-minute studio jam called "Rock is Dead" which showcases the band -- and especially Morrison -- at its most random and pretentious. And a lot of the live stuff (like the infamous Miami "Five to One"; versions of "The Crystal Ship" and "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind from early '67) sounds like they were taken from low-fi mono bootlegs. I'd put the versions of "Break On Through," "Roadhouse Blues" and "The Soft Parade" in this "unessential" category, as much as I like them.

I probably would have included instead the other four tunes from their first demo -- the first versions of "Summer's Almost Gone," "My Eyes Have Seen You," "End of the Night," and a bizarre pop tune called "Go Insane," which eventually was incorporated into "The Celebration of the Lizard" as "A Little Game". They also do an absolutely gorgeous version of Albinoni's "Adagio" which is at least as good as Renaissance's take on it ("Cold is Being"). And the box is the only place where "Tightrope Ride" is readily available -- that's a cool post-Jim tune that was worthy of the original band

Still, Essential is a good buy if you can get in by itself, especially since it also includes the lovely acoustic demo of "Hyacinth House" -- they should have tried unplugged arrangements like this on the "real" albums. And, if you own all the original albums, you're going to get redundant copies of 15 original recordings on the fourth disc of you buy the box. Was this really necessary?


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