Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 8: The Doors, "The Doors"

Artist: The Doors
Album: The Doors
Year: 1967
Label: Elektra

The Doors are one of the legendary groups who will forever live in the upper echelon of classic bands. No band made music that sounded like them, and there will NEVER be another Jim Morrison. Their debut, self titled record is not only a perfect introduction to the band, but it captures the group rising to fame, and perhaps still "pure" in their music.

The steady movement of Ray Manzarek's keyboard drives a majority of The Doors' songs, and is certainly the musical catalyst throughout this record. Robby Krieger rides the line between jazz and rock as he dishes now-famed riffs and chords on his signature Gibson SG guitar. Overall, the drums are simple beats and small fills, but that is not implying that John Densmore is not up to snuff. Densmore's background of jazz drumming definitely comes through in the music and masterfully rounds out the overall sound of the band.

Then of course, there is the Lizard King himself, the paragon, Jim Morrison. While Mick Jagger and Robert Plant were delighting crowds with their rock moves and screaming vocals, Morrison stole hearts with his swagger and deep, resonating voice. With the "cool" sound that the band creates with their jazzy-rock sound, Morrison provides a delightful contrast with his cocky, sexy vocals. Many of his antics have become rock-lore, but the reality is, he is one helluva singer. His vocals usually stay in the lower registers, but he shows many times that he is capable of belting out higher notes when necessary.

More than four decades later, as an album, the songs on The Doors look like a "greatest hits" record. The Doors three biggest hits were all off of this record, "Break On Through," "Light My Fire," and the winding, somewhat sinister, "The End." Needless to say, the rest of the songs on The Doors are absolutely "up to par" (if not better) with these celebrated hits. No single band member can take credit for this dense batch of incredible songs as nearly all of The Doors recorded catalog were written by the group as a whole. While Morrison provided a majority of the lyrics on later albums, their debut record was truly a group effort.

The Doors will always remain musically relevant as new generations become enamored with their sound, as well as the enchanting personality of Jim Morrison. Over ten albums, they took their distinctive sound and marched their way to the very top of the list of legendary bands. Their debut record, The Doors, endures as their finest album and superbly encapsulates everything that they were as a band. If somehow, this album has escaped your ears, it is beyond a necessary record for your collection and you should rectify that oversight immediately.

Standout tracks: "Soul Kitchen," "Light My Fire," and "The End."


Neal said...

I was watching a documentary on this album months ago. One of the most amazing things about this album is it was basically recorded live. Along with Zeppelin II and Who's Next, probably my favorite albums from the 70s.

CasCbus said...

While I think Jim is legdendary to most, I think The Doors overall music impact is not as much as it could be. Granted, they had their own exhibit at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame (cough, cough), but I don't think they get credit enough for the actual music. That said, they are one of my favorite groups. Have their box set and enjoy every album and the differences each one has. My fav tracks of this album would have to include "Crystal Ship", the cover of "Backdoor Man", and "The End".