What does it sound like?:
The 50th anniversary bandwagon keeps on rolling, with the Doors second studio album next up. For this re-release the hoop-la is a little more muted. No new material, but the set offers remastered mixes in both stereo as well as the original mono, making it’s debut on CD. Probably my tin ears, but I’d take the stereo mix over the flatter mono mix every time.
The success of their first album allowed the Doors to approach their second album with more time, a bigger budget and an 8 track studio. Cue lots of experimentation, overdubs, trippy Moog synth and messing with tape speeds. Recording engineer Bruce Botnick had got hold of a pre-release copy of the Beatles “Sgt Pepper” and there’s no doubt horizons expanded.
The album was recorded in the same year as their debut release, drawing from the same pool of songs as the first album, entering the album charts whilst the debut was still in the top 10. The slightly manic and fairly ordinary “My Eyes Have Seen You” along with the bluesy “Moonlight Drive” make the album despite predating Robby Kreiger even being in the band.
Given the Doors rather arch and baroque leanings the whole album has a trippy, spooky vibe that’s at it’s strongest in the bass driven title track, and the more melodic “Unhappy Girl”. “You’re Lost Little Girl” is somewhat forgettable, but infinitely better than “Horse Latitudes”, where Jim’s poetry is accompanied by cracking whips, white noise and various instruments clanking. At 1 minute 35 seconds it may have passed uniquely and quick enough to be left playing when vinyl was the only option, but in CD format it’s a guaranteed skip.
And yet there are standout songs too. “Love Me Two Times” shows how rock songs can feature a harpsichord whilst the halting almost staccato simplicity of “People Are Strange” is a genuine classic.
Closing track “When The Music’s Over” has one of the best openings ever recorded, with Kreiger unleashing a crescendo that fades as quickly as it appears. Unfortunately, in a manner similar to debut album closer “The End” it then ebbs and meanders across another 10 minutes which 50 years on sounds more indulgent than ground breaking, but at the time was probably something of a siren call for the new counterculture.
What does it all *mean*?
Kreiger’s talent often seems to be shaded by Morrison’s legend. It shines on this album.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…