The Doors – The Doors

Released in a year known for such legendary albums as the Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ Pink Floyd’s ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ and the ‘summer of love,’ the Doors self-titled debut album certainly arrived at a time when the counterculture movement was at all all-time peak. At the onset of a vast surge of psychedelic rock music, the Doors debut would since come to be known as a classic of the era, and one of the most widely- renowned rock albums of all time. While this album is certainly not the perfect masterpiece that some make it out to be, it can certainly be considered to be a very strong first effort, as well as a very forward thinking album of the time.

The Door’s striking debut is very significant in the context of it’s time, due to the fact that nothing quite sounded like this before this album was released in the opening month of 1967. Driven very heavily by the cunning organ work of keyboardist Ran Manzarek and the vocal poetry of icon Jim Morrison, this is a trippy dose of jazz influenced classic rock music that really leaves an impression by the end. Featuring a few very well known singles such as ‘Break on Through’ and the eternal ‘Light My Fire,’ the songwriting on this album delivers some very memorable tunes, but it doesn’t keep as much of a consistent nature as a masterpiece would warrant. Some less spectacular tracks like ‘I Looked At You’ and ‘Take It As It Comes’ do very little to contribute to the album, being decent and functional tunes but generally forgettable. Much to a listener’s delight however, there is a majority of the disc space that is filled with quality material. The Door’s trademark blend of psychedelia and jazz fusion is in full force here.

While the vocal work of Jim Morrison may really appeal to some, I personally don’t find him to be the most remarkable of singers. He does have a very distinct baritone style, but the melodies and especially the lyrics feel a little too simple. It is actually the lyrical work of Morrison here that proves to be the biggest deterrent of my enjoyment to this music. While Morrison is certainly a poetic soul and I have no doubt that many will tend to disagree, the elementary rhyme patterns and lyrics may be thought provoking, but some of Morrison’s forced rhymes sound very silly: (‘Ride the snake to the lake,”the west is the best’).

The real highlight of the album is the final track, simply entitled ‘The End.’ I first heard this track due to it being featured in a segment of Francis Ford Coppola’s film ‘Apocalypse Now,’ and it stuck with me. Hearing the full thing on the album is a much different experience; it begins as a laid back, spiritually invoking piece before breaking into a drawn out mix of psychedelia. While it likely doesn’t deserve to be called an epic, it is a very powerful and trippy piece of 1960′s counterculture rock; a piece of music that borders on sonic meditation.

‘The Doors’ is a powerful debut album, although there are quite a few traits of the album that could have been improved upon. Even with it’s flaws considered however, I would have to agree with the critical majoirty that this debut album is indeed an excellent album of rock music, and while not a masterpiece, it has still earned it’s place as a well-deserving classic.

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