The untimely death of the Doors’ frontman, Jim Morrison, at the age of 27 may have cast a shadow on their reputation, but without them, the classic rock would be an entirely different genre. The Doors released a total of six studio albums between the years 1967 and 1971.
Even while not all of them are masterpieces, each of them has a sufficient number of highlights for it to be regarded as required listening.
Here is how we evaluate all six of the Doors albums, leaving out the projects the group recorded following Morrison’s death and concentrating solely on the music made by the original quartet.
1. The Doors
The Doors got it going. The band would have been regarded as one of the best bands of the 1960s—or any decade—even if they had never released another album following their self-titled debut. How could they not, with Break On Through (To the Other Side) starting the album and The End finishing it?
Gold between—The Crystal Ship, the only love song that could (or would ever want to) steal its title from the 12th-century Irish “Lebor na huidre” (Book of the Dun Cow) manuscript and get away with it, Alabama Song (Whisky Bar), a song that confirmed Jim Morrison as both a whisky-soaked drunk and a brilliant innovator.
Light My Fire, is a brilliant breakthrough, an excellent song for a cremation, and one of the most crucial and extraordinary work functions. One of the greatest debuts ever, it is also the Doors’ best album.
2. L.A. Woman
Morrison was a bloated, inebriated disaster when the Doors began work on their sixth and final album in the winter of 1970, as noted in Ultimate Classic Rock. His way of life and his antics on stage had not only caught up with him but were also close to ruining him.
However, he was able to put his personal problems aside long enough to create an album that, in everyone’s opinion, is phenomenally fantastic. A strutting, swaggering piece of rock gold is L.A. Woman.
Its urgent force, propelled by songs like Love Her Madly and Riders on the Storm, is impossible to ignore or resist. Morrison passed away three months after the album’s release. Although a horrible waste of life, it was a remarkable farewell.
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3. Strange Days
Strange Days, the band’s second album, arrived only eight months after their debut and was hailed by the Society of Frock as “dark, haunting, but still impeccable.” It features a lot of tracks that were passed over for inclusion on earlier albums like many second albums do.
It doesn’t suffer as a result, unlike the majority of second albums. It doesn’t sound like a reheated version of their previous dish, nor does it sound like it was hurriedly produced in an effort to slyly cash in on the success of its predecessor.
The tunes have enough depth and richness, as well as enough danger, to keep you fascinated. Compared to the band’s debut, it has a larger variety of musical inspirations and genres. “Post-psychedelic pop,” according to some music critics.
It’s great, whatever it is, especially on standout songs like When the Music’s Over, Love Her Two Times, and People Are Strange. Released on September 25, 1967, it reached its US Billboard 200 peak at number three and later received platinum certification.
4. Morrison Hotel
Morrison Hotel is an important album in the Doors’ career, as noted by StereoGum. This was the time at which they came together, regrouped, and reenergized themselves enough to begin moving forward after the rather disappointing The Soft Parade.
Compared to its predecessor, it is more forceful and confrontational and returns to the bluesy origins of its first album. Even though some of the songs at the midway mast are slightly subpar (Ship of Fools and Land Ho! in particular), it’s really a minor complaint.
The opening duo of Roadhouse Blues and Waiting For the Ship is brilliant. Although it doesn’t have any big singles, overall, it’s a brilliantly controlled, carefully put-together piece that is still required listening.
5. Waiting for the Sun
It has occasionally been said that Waiting For the Sun sounds more like a loose collection of songs than an album. Maybe it is. It lacks the same overarching atmosphere that unifies most of their earlier albums, which causes the tracklist to hop between genres and sounds to an almost uncontrollable degree.
The first song on side one, Hello, I Love You, is a simple example of 1960s pop music, but only two tracks later, we arrive at the hard-driving rock of Not To Touch The Earth. John Densmore, the band’s drummer, referred to it as “third album syndrome” and blamed it on the necessity to improvise due to a lack of fresh material.
It didn’t help that Jim Morrison was losing himself in his addictions more and more either. But to some extent, none of this really matters. Even if the songs don’t work well together as a whole, they practically all work perfectly on their own. Even though listening to them side by side could make you puzzled, their greatness is unaffected.
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6. The Soft Parade
Waiting for the Sun was a generally nice, though a little odd, record. Additionally, it was the group’s first and only number-one album. The anticipation for its sequel was consequently enormous. Unfortunately, The Soft Parade fell short of expectations.
Morrison’s conduct had become more unpredictable by 1969, forcing guitarist Robby Krieger to step in and take over as the group’s primary lyricist and, on one song, even as the lead vocalist. In addition, the group appeared to have lost sight of its identity.
They experienced restlessness, experimentation, and a lack of direction. They threw everything at the album except the kitchen sink, which led to a rather disorganized affair with a ton of experimentation but insufficient heart to keep it together. It’s not a bad album, but it falls well short of what they were capable of.