Friday, January 16, 2009

The Doors - Strange Days

I was just a little too young when this was first released and didn’t realize that this was the band’s second album – for some reason I thought it was a little later. But this has some great songs, regardless of when it was released.

Opening with the title track, this is a bit more psychedelic and advanced sounding than the more basic debut. Even the voice is treated with studio effects but this is still the Doors and though the dynamics change, it is a strong beginning.

Sounding both ethereal and somehow sexy, Morrison intones “You’re Lost, Little Girl” and “think that you know what to do, impossible, yes, but it’s true” to his nubile companion. Much more energetic is the riff-rocker “Love Me Two Times” – solid and upbeat with well-placed accents from Densmore. Yes, sex & death certainly main themes throughout Jim’s career!
“Unhappy Girl” is one of their less consequential pieces – not bad, just not outstanding. Aural waves of sound back up Morrison’s poetry on “Horse Latitudes”. You couldn’t really call this a “song”, but I dig the words and the feeling it evokes. Oddly, Ray claims that “Moonlight Drive” was the first song he heard from Jim but it didn’t appear until the second album. I guess they just had too many songs! This has a unique and varied rhythm but is a good, mid-tempo rock song.

I love “People Are Strange” with its eerie minor key chord progression from Kreiger and lyrics that could easily pertain to ostracized teenagers as anyone else. They manage to add a nice backbeat to this to keep it from being maudlin. Ray & Robbie work with interlocking riffs for “My Eyes Have Seen You”, another uniquely Doors-ian number. This moves from open-aired verses to powerful choruses with grace and ease. Well done!

Another more dream-like number is “I Can’t See Your Face in my Mind”, which is not one of their more memorable tunes. The group obviously thought about song order and suitably the last to appear here is “When the Music’s Over”. This is another piece that moves from quiet to massive, from fuzz and screams to delicate melodies. Robby’s dueling, twin guitar solo is especially impressive and demented sounding! Jim lyrical explorations are highlighted and accented by the band to great effect. Of course, everyone loved the “we want the world and we want it…NOW” portion! Nice build up to finish it off, also!

Maybe not quite as strong as the debut, but plenty of essential Doors songs here for the fans!