The Doors Debut (Vinyl Review #2)LizardKing99 Here is my second album review, on the Doors’ debut; I tied this one in with PetSounds’ review on The Doors. Next week, I’m doing 2112! I’d still love to hear some requests. I have to be a little stingy with it though, I like to review albums that I own. Catalog of everything I have (here) that way it’s easier to choose. Thanks for your cooperation; anyways, on with the review.
The Doors came out with this gem in 1967, bringing them to the psychedelic scene.
1.Break On Through (to the other side) – This song is a great way to start off the album. It has a super bossa nova intro to begin with. My favorite thing about this song is that during the first half of the verses, Jim is singing normally; but then he takes it from 0 to 100 super quickly. As soon as I hear him yelling, “TRY TO RUN, TRY TO HIDE,” it makes me do this emphatic pointing dance. Another great thing about this song is that it was super influential for The Doors. Whenever I play it out loud, I can hear people singing along to it that barely even know who The Doors are. This song is definitely in my top five favorite Doors songs.
2.Soul Kitchen – The Doors’ songs are all equipped with great intros, it seems. This one has a classic Ray Manzarek keyboard intro, paired with a funky guitar sound from Krieger. The vocals in this song seem to be more overlayed than usual, which creates a trip feeling. Helping this is the keyboard playing throughout the song; it seems really essential to me for some reason. I feel like the words to this track showcase some of Jim’s lyrical ability. He takes a very creative approach here, and you think that he is talking about love… that’s what I thought at first. In reality, Jim is actually paying tribute to his favorite restaurant. The more you know.
3.Crystal Ship –I absolutely love this song. This is probably one of the best on the album. There is no keyboard intro, nor are any instruments playing when this song begins. It’s just Jim’s voice. Once you hear him start singing, you’re captivated, and you have to finish the whole song. The distant echoic sound of his voice just sends you into a trance. I love that Ray chose a classical piano sound for this song, because it just pairs so well with the vocals and the super soft drums. It gets even better during the incredible piano solo. This beautiful track is like a lullaby that makes you want to stay awake.
4.Twentieth Century Fox – Here’s a Doors track that shares a similar theme with many songs to come. It’s a classic track about a girl. Jim uses a clever pun to describe this woman as a twentieth century fox. The sounds of the keyboard and guitar give me a Beach Boys vibe. The clapping rhythm makes this song sound like a summer surf anthem. What’s a better way to spend the summer than to hit on foxy ladies?
5.Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) – This song is a huge contradiction to your ears. I love it so much; it sounds like such an upbeat, happy number. It makes me imagine people in traditional Western garb dancing in a saloon. I’m not sure how he does this, but Ray makes his keyboard sound like something you would hear in an old cowboy film. Mixed with the occasional chime-like noises and the constant beat, it makes you want to dance a jig. In reality, this song is slightly depressing. To me, it’s Jim singing about his constant struggles with the rock star life; an odd, meaningless sex-life paired with a deadly case of alcoholism. I’m actually rather glad they chose to make it a cheerful-sounding track, because I would personally rather listen to that instead of a gloomy song about Jim’s fateful addiction.
6.Light My Fire – This song is the big one for this album. Light My Fire is what most think of when they hear, “The Doors,” mostly because this was their first real hit. Ray’s skill is really represented here, because for starters, he kicks it off with a killer keyboard intro that is recognized by people everywhere. He shows off with a spectacular solo, too. This song makes me cheerful; the amazing work done on the black and white keys creates a peppy sound. Ray actually uses two keyboards in this one, one for each hand. Amazing! This song took them to number one for three weeks. It has to be the most influential and well-known Doors song of all time. I guess you could say it really lights my fire.
7.Back Door Man – I love this song so much. It contains one of my favorite Doors intros; Jim does this little scream thing, and I think it’s so funny, but it’s also such a Jim-thing to do. This track is a great cover of a classic blues song. I personally like The Doors’ version the best. Jim’s intense, sensual, howling vocals in this one take on the role of the back door man perfectly. The song tells the story of a proud man who is notorious for helping women cheat on their husbands. This song is just pure, bluesy rock and roll.
8.I Looked At You – The intro to this song is slightly different than most of the others on this album. No keyboards or guitars; this is a pure drum intro. I’m a sucker for a good drum intro. This song is a lovely number about new romance forming between two people. My favorite part of this song is when it starts to slow down a little bit, and then Jim comes back intensely screaming. The cheery instruments mixed with his shouts are a contradictory pair; I like it when music mixes emotions.
9.End of the Night – This song is just… whoa. The intro alone sends you on a super trip. This track makes me imagine walking down a deserted road at midnight, and the air is incredibly foggy or misty. As the song progresses, it just puts you in a state of bliss thanks to the echoes and Jim’s soothing vocals. Eventually, you’re not in the mist anymore; you become the mist. Then there’s a guitar solo that has a surf vibe to it again. It seems very unfitting to how the rest of the song makes you feel, but that’s what I like about it. They’re doing that emotion-mixing stuff that I like. This song is definitely one of the more psychedelic Doors songs. It will send chills down your spine.
10.Take It As It Comes – Another Doors song about love. To me, this song is about having a lust for life, but at the same time, slowing down for love. Life has a time for many special moments that Jim sings about. Ray does another great keyboard solo here. I love that he chose to use an organ sound for this; his melancholy sound mixed with the happy lyrics Jim sings sounds great together (more of the mixing emotions stuff!). There is also this one point in the song where the only instrument playing is the bass, and I have to say, the bass in this song is great. Overall, this song is the polar opposite of what is to come.
11.The End – This song is the last track on the album, so the title is very appropriate. The guitar in the intro is absolutely stunning. Get ready for this song to take you on an emotional rollercoaster, because it goes everywhere. At first, the intro sounds like you’ve reached the happy ending of a movie, but then you start to sense a dark twist coming on. This is verified for you when Jim is singing about the end over a constant tambourine. That part honestly sounds like someone is about to get sacrificed. The keyboard still sounds happy, though, as Jim spouts out his mysterious, dark lyrics. You even hear him make a goofy sexual innuendo, which sort of foreshadows a later part in the song, about “riding the snake”. Jim gets even grimmer when he starts telling a spoken story about killing his parents. The song keeps going back and forth between intense and upbeat and soft and quiet; very eerie. Then, you start hearing this odd clopping noise, and Jim starts screaming obscenities. You can just feel the extreme sexual tension in this segment of the song. It sort of reminds me of that segment in Whole Lotta Love. All of the sudden, the song starts hastily speeding up and the instruments pile together (like in Baba O’Riley), and Jim sternly says, “Kill,” over and over again. That part actually gives me goosebumps. The weirdest thing about it all is, the song goes back to the way it was in the beginning like nothing ever happened. This song is a true bone-chilling masterpiece; it’s like the Stairway to Heaven of their debut.
In conclusion, this album brought an amazingly talented new band to the music scene, and showed the different things they were bringing to the table in their songs. After this, The Doors went on to become one of the most influential psychedelic rock bands of all time. No wonder you still see kids wearing The Doors shirts when you walk down the street.
Great review. I especially love the way you described "The End". - PetSounds
Thank you! - LizardKing99
You should review Black Sabbath's debut vinyl. - visitor
That would be awesome. But I don't think it's in her collection. - PetSounds
Review of "Soul Kitchen" says guitarist is Densmore, he is actually the drummer. Krieger is the guitarist. - visitor
Nice catch! Thanks - LizardKing99