Sunday, January 6, 2008

Retro Review: Strange Days (The Doors, 1967), by Glenn


Just another day at the office for Oscar 'little guy' McDignity

Finally, an unbiased review of a Doors album. That's what you are thinking. I don't want to disappoint you, man, but I must.

The Doors are awesome and their album Strange Days is a swollen abcess of awesome, which is best introduced by making you watch a fan vid presenting KITH alumnist Bruce McCulloch's monologue/song 'Doors'.

Now that clip suggests that my post should have been a review of Waiting for the Sun, the departure point. I disagree. What could I say that Brucio hasn't already? If Waiting for the Sun is the departure point, then Strange Days is that eerie and creepy place you visited along the way, but couldn't wait to leave. Sort of like going down on a girl for the first time.
It reached number 3 in the billboard charts (with two top 30 hits, i.e. People are Strange and Love me Two Times), is a certified platinum record, and was ranked 407 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Why would I skip over the top 406 to focus on this one? Producer Paul Rothchild is quoted as saying "We all thought it was the best album. Significantly, it was also the one with the weakest sales." As Krusty would say, the music world is about business and not about art. Random internet bloggers? We are about art. And dick jokes. But mostly about art. Thus, this post is about championing an underated album from the greatest band of all time.

Prepare for your Doors education, all you non-Doors fan non-believers. You best hang on to your beavers, or whatever animal best symbolizes your homeland, a sterile bald eagle for example. See where I went with that? Not what you thought. Dirty bird.

The Doors comprise:

Jim Morrison on vocals (his lyrics are legitimate mediocre poetry, most of the time)

Ray Manzarek on Keyboards and marimba

Bobby Krieger on guitar

John Densmore on drums

Val Kilmer on ham

Notice anything remarkable in the above listing? No bass! That's right, no motherfucking bass player! Don't let that scare you. Let it free you! Let it LIBERATE you!

Well, not exactly, apparently Douglas Lubahn plays bass on 'You're a lost little girl' and 'My eyes have seen you'. You can almost taste the liberty just the same. It tastes like basil actually, which is an odd observation for me to make, because I don't know what basil tastes like.

So here is my review of the album, adorned with whatever I could find on google.

Song 1. Strange Days

It starts off with the song 'Strange days', which captures and defines the spirit of the album. It begins quite soft and slow and atmospherically, building up to an energetic and soulful finish. While it sometimes finds its way onto 'best of' albums, its true place is at the start of this album.

The song:

Song 2. You're a lost little girl

Dude, I totally sharted.

'You're a lost little girl': A sweet and relaxing song that must make feminists writhe on their double ended dildoes.

Song 3. Love me two times

This is the first bluesy song on the album, and it is a genre that Jim's voice is well suited for. It is one of their more well known songs so I won't go into detail. I think it is about a woman's unlimited capacity for orgasm, and man's upper limit of two, give or take.

The song:

Song 4. Unhappy girl

She was a happy girl when she met me, I swear

Do you see a theme? Jim can seem like a lovesick teenager sometimes. I think there is a part of us all that never outgrows that, our cocks.

Don't miss your chance to swim in mystery/

you are dying/

in a prison/

of your/

own devise

Song 5. Horse Latitudes

Horse Latitudes have something to do with this picture.

Jim reads a monologue/poem that is fantastic. It is set to 'music' but I should warn you that it is a little fucked up. And by 'a little', I mean 'mind-blowingly gigantically'. This song anticipates the poetry stuff that Jim will realease later, meeting America's demand for inscrutable nonsense.

When the still sea conspires an armor/

And her sullen and aborted currents breed
tiny monsters/

True sailing is dead

Song 6. Moonlight drive
Again, another kind of bluesy song. It is a fusion of blues and lounge music, which comes off rather well in my estimation. One of the first song written by Jim Morrison for the Doors, it was finally released on this album.

Let's swim to the moon/

Let's climb through the tide/

Penetrate the evening/

that the city sleeps to hide.

Song 7. People are strange
Another 'best of' favorite, and restatement of the blatantly obvious.

Women seem wicked/

when you're unwanted

The song:

Song 8. My eyes have seen you
One of my favorite up-tempo doors songs. You may not know about it, which makes it more interesting.

My eyes have seen you/

Free from disguise/

gazing on a city under/

television skies/

My eyes have seen you/

Let them photograph your soul/

Memorize your alleys/

on an endless roll

The song:

Song 9. I can't see your face in my mind
Blatantly "loungy", but I consider it one of their best songs.

I can't seem to find the right lie/

Insanity's horse/

Adorns the sky/

Can't seem to find the right lie./

Carnival dogs/

consume the lines/

can't see your face, in my mind.

Song 10. When the music's over

Witty, no?

Sometimes, it is the last song on 'best of' albums. What a delicious pun! Well, it is the last song on this album too so, I guess that's ok.

This is one of the more blatantly political doors songs, and it will fill your heart with...well, I will call it inspiration.

Cancel my subscription to the, resurection/ Send my credentials to the, house of detention/ I got some friends inside/The face in the mirror won't stop,/The girl in the window won't drop,/A feast of friends -/'Alive!' she cried,/Waiting for me, Outside!/Before I sink/Into the big sleep/I want to hear/the scream of the butterfly.(...)/What have they done to the earth?/What have they done to our fair sister?/Ravaged and pludered/and ripped her and bit
her/stuck her with knives/in the side of the dawn/and tied her with fences/and dragged her down.I hear a very gentle sound.With your ear down to the ground-/We want the world and we want it/NOW!

The song:

Final Thoughts
So we've now driven through Crazy-town, and the next stop is the departure point, 1968's Waiting for the Sun. If you aren't a Doors fan by now, then you have failed. Get out of my sight!

Recommendation: Buy the album! It probably costs less than 10 bucks. In my opinion, it is the third best Doors album, or maybe the fourth. That said, it is much better than most of that rap crap that the kids listen to. How do I know? Jim fucking Morrison told me. Professional reviewers agree.

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