About a year ago, I acquired a little more than two crates worth of old vinyl LPs (about 200, give or take, records). I’ve listened to some of them, the ones I already knew and liked, but the majority of the records have stayed put in the box they came in. I figured I’d start making my way through the collection of vinyl. I don’t intend to research any records that I’m not familiar with, so hopefully I’ll arrive at as objective a review/summary of each records as possible. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never tried my hand at music criticism/record reviews.
everyone knows lizards are capable of infinite things
I, like many people, went through a phase in which I was interested in rock music from my parents’ younger days. I listened to eight track tapes of the Beatles, the Stones, and Fleetwood Mac, but I also got some of these kinds of records on CD. I don’t know whether my parents were big fans of the Doors, but they didn’t have any of their records. I had to get the two-disc Best of record when I was about 13. So, to me, junior high will always seem like an appropriate age to become a fan of the Doors, and sometime in early high school seems like an appropriate age to realize that they aren’t exactly as cool as you used to think. You realize that Jim Morrison was not, in fact, a poet. At best, he was a good rock singer and rock star, with all the cliches and connotations that title brings, and at worst, he was a pretentious over-indulger.
Even though I claim that I won’t research any of the records I review for this series, I admit that I looked up this record to see when it was released (interestingly, there is no date of release on the sleeve or record itself) and learned that this was the Doors’ third record. Not that that’s at all important or has anything to do with what I think of the record–I’m not really familiar with any of the group’s proper records. But this record does contain some of the more famous songs, such as “Hello, I Love You,” “Five To One,” and “The Unknown Soldier.” You know these songs–you’ve seen Forrest Gump, right?
Waiting For The Sun is a pretty good document what I think of when I think of the Doors. There’s the good keyboard driven pop songs (“Hello, I Love You” and “We Could Be So Good Together”), the dark brooders carried by Morrison’s “poetic” lyrics (“Not To Touch The Earth” (cause he’s a deep poet/Lizard King and shit)), and the weird Native American chanting stuff (“My Wild Love”) that Morrison seems to have been so fascinated with. To be honest, I’m not much of a Doors fan anymore, never listen to the Best of CDs on purpose, but this record is actually pretty damn good.
The obvious stand-outs are the hits we all remember. We’ll knock them off in a quick run down. “Five To One” is a slow, chugging-along rock song with a cool guitar solo and some of Morrison’s more understated lyrics. “Hello, I Love You” is catchy, quick, and simple–not much room for foolishness. “The Unknown Soldier” covers pretty dark subject material with relatively upbeat music. It also has the centerpiece firing squad section. We know these songs because they’re solid, concise, catchy rock songs. And we saw Forrest Gump.
The song “Love Street” is another catchy pop song that sounds familiar even if you haven’t heard it. It’s one of my favorites on the record. “My Wild Love” wanders into vaguely Native American musical territory with its chants and handclaps (I’m sure that’s a gross simplification Native American musical traits), and the song still feels pretty appropriate on the record. It somehow makes sense and fits.
Morrison does get his chance to dive off the deep end in “Not To Touch The Earth,” which contains lyrics from “The Celebration of the Lizard” a “theatre composition by the Doors” as indicated in the gatefold. The music is little more than vaguely structured banging set as a backdrop to Morrison’s singing. Maybe it’s a little more than that, but not much. To be fair, this song is really the only time Morrison is unreined on the record. And it’s a pretty short clusterfuck at 3:54, so it could have been worse. The song ends with the famous Morrison quote: “I am the lizard king. I can do anything.” Which maybe he can–he managed to finagle the song on the record.
One thing I noticed about the record is that it doesn’t actually contain the song “Waiting for the Sun.” But there is a Doors song titled such. Weird.
Like I said earlier, this record is pretty good. If I had to guess why the record is good, I’d go with it’s length–it runs just a little over half an hour. Keeping a pretentious rock star on a time limit seems to do wonders for the band’s ability to make memorable rock songs. Who fuckin knew?
Will I listen to it again? I imagine so, sometime. Although the record’s not in the best of shape–it’s pretty scratchy–so we’ll see.
Next up: The Who-The Kids Are Alright (OST)
Then: John Coltrane-Interstellar Space