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STRANGE DAYS

The Doors

Proto-Prog


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5 stars The same year 1967, but the second album. Not as melodical as the first one, but more strange, nervouse and psychedelic. Great songs here like Strange Days, Love Me Two Times, Unhappy Girl and Moonlight Drive. This was the acid era, and this album could have been a soundtrack to it. The are strange words of wisdom and poetry in Horse Latitudes, bringing a dark feeling to the lp. My favourite song here My Eyes Have Seen You starts with a bass riff that is simple but genious. We have also another epic on this one called When The Music Over. This track starts almost like Soul Kitchen from their previous lp. Then it gets bigger, and bigger and bigger and the expoldes. Great music, great lyrics. Jim was in his best days, and so wa rest of the guys. Another album, another masterpiece. 5 stars.

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Send comments to Deepslumber (BETA) | Report this review (#105266)
Posted Tuesday, January 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This I feel is The Door's best album. Is it a strong influence for prog I am not so sure as much, but it is a psychadelic album and contains prog elements so I will review the album as it is.

I think that sound changes here a bit compared to their debut. It feels like they've come more together as a band. We start the album with Ray Manzarek coming in with the classic Door's soudning keyboard and begin to hear Robbie Krieger coming in with his "psychadelic" guitar, and we've now set the tone for the album with two of my favorite tracks "Strange Days" and "You're Lost Little Girl". This one is a bit more psychadelic then the first and you won't hear the blues sound until the third track "Love Me Two Times" that reminds you of some of the tracks on the first album. "Unhappy Girl" is another average track that remains close to the classic Doors sound and then we get to "Horse Latitudes" that begins with the wind howling followed by Jim Morrison's thunder voice rehearsing some of his poetry. The next three songs seem to be the core of the album with their catchy choruses and fine musicanship that you hear alot in the next album, and in the pack is "People Are Strange" probably the most popular track on the album. "I Can't See Your Face In Your Mind" slows it down a little before opening to into the monster ending track which matches "The End" from the debut. "When the Music is Over" is the best song on the album extending over 10 minutes. It has a very psyachdelic sound and few extended solos that makes you think prog a little bit.

Overall this a great album for anyone, and may not be the most prog, but it's still a very good pick-up especially if you enjoy their first album.

4 1/2 stars

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Send comments to Erock (BETA) | Report this review (#105269)
Posted Tuesday, January 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Seyo
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars On the second album THE DOORS repeated the formula from the debut, but additionally they made better production and music is better arranged, containing more experimental and psychedelic elements. There is not a weak spot on the album. The songs are disturbing, with Manzarek's eerie organ, Kreiger's gentle bottleneck solos and Morrisons frightening lyrics. In certain moments like in the noisy poem "Horse Latitudes", or in "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind" you can feel a real horror. The long psychedelic epic "When the Music's Over" completes the album in a best possible way, being perhaps THE essence of The Doors. Wonderful experience. A masterpiece album! West Coast psychedelia at its best.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#105351)
Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favourite albums and a high ranking member of my personal all time top ten. Therefore it's a hard task for me to point the finger at any particular track and indicate it as a highlight of the album, but from the side one of the record I pronounce 'You're Lost Little Girl ' to be the one,not only because of its melodical and lyrical beauty, but also because of melancholy mood that it spreads out. Record's side two is definite pearl containing short but dynamic, musically and lyrically beautiful songs expressing varied moods ranging from vivid to longing ones. The only extended track on this album, ' When The Music's Over ' is closing this masterpiece in specific Doors manner i.e. not trying to impress listener with skillful handling of their instruments, but to keep his attention to true and original music material of the highest quality.

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Send comments to bsurmano (BETA) | Report this review (#105460)
Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An eerie, electronically altered voice calls out from inside the circus tent. "Strange days have found us," Jim Morrison sings. Indeed. Only a year earlier The Doors were just another starving band on the Strip and now their songs blared from every radio and their faces were plastered all over magazines around the world. Back then the mantra of the powers-that-be was to strike the iron while the fire is still hot so Electra sent the boys right back into the studio to mine for more top-40 gold. After all, "Light My Fire" was still a huge hit. And that mine was still rich with tunes they weren't able to include on the debut LP so the songs came quickly and before 1967 had ended this album with its macabre, captivating cover art was in the record bins. In many ways this album is as good as their incredible first one. Musically the band is as tight and confident as ever. The real difference to my ear is that there is less of a sinister undercurrent to the sexuality and cockiness of the lyrics. The message doesn't seem to be quite as urgent as before. Morrison seems less like a Casanova and more of a slick, smooth-talking predator on "You're lost little girl," "Unhappy girl" and "My eyes have seen you." "Love Me Two Times" sounds more like a request than a demand and, on "Moonlight Drive" (one of their best songs ever) he's downright romantic! But things had turned ever so slightly strange for this foursome and when Jim sings "I can't seem to find the right lie" on "Can't See Your Face in my Mind" you get the feeling that he wonders how long he can keep up the rock star charade. And in "When the Music's Over" he expresses a foreboding sense of his limited time on this earth with "We're gettin' tired of hangin' around, waiting around with our heads to the ground" and "We want the world and we want it NOW." But when the world came to them he realized far too late that he didn't want any part of what they brought along. However, that was yet to come. For now they were still a tightly-knit group of friends with a common artistic goal and they effortlessly produced an album of songs that were almost as earth-shaking as the first batch. They are all at the top of their game on these recordings but Robbie Krieger is especially good on "Moonlight Drive," "People are Strange" and "When the Music's Over." If I could give it a 4.5 star rating I would but it just barely misses being on the same level as their previous blockbuster. Nonetheless, it's a fantastic collection of songs.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#105752)
Posted Friday, January 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My personal favorite!!

Well maybe you can imagine the fate of this review since the first phrase, i consider myself a great The Doors follower and lover of their music, they are one of my favorite bands ever, and as i know them very well, i will review all their albums eventually, this time im taking the time to talk a bit about their second effort, released in 1967 and called "Strange Days" and who has become in my personal The Doors favorite album, i honestly like them all, but i adopted this since long time ago and whe ni listen to it i simply love it.

In the review of their first album, i mentioned that it was a must having in every rock fan, now i will repeat it, because this album is also essential to any collection, so if you don`t have it yet, go and buy it, actually their albums are very cheap nowadays, this album doesn`t have that memorable songs as Break on Through, The End and Light my Fire, but it has it`s own masterpieces.

Also the cover art in this album is pretty different to the other ones, and even looking at the album we may imagine that it is a weird musically and lirically composed album. After a powerful debut, and with the huge amount of repertoire, the placed 10 songs within this record, some are good, some are pretty good, some are excellent and one is a masterpiece.

"Strange Days" is te opener song here and here what i love the most is the bass which is playing with the synths of Manzarek, the lines are excellent and the song is one of the best here, with the authentical style of the band, and the extravagant lyrics. "You`re lost Little Girl" a soft ballad with again noticeable bass lines, they are simple but good, a nice song here, "Love me Two Times" is probably the better hit of this album, not a complex song, not the best, but definitely good and made to sing, who doesn`t recognize it since the first notes. "Unhappy Girl" not so known and probably one of the less good songs here, i still like it a lot, "Horse Latitudes" is the prelude to another memorable song, this is kind of poem (you know Jim was also a poet), good because of the meaning, so next is "Moonlight Drive" one of my favorite songs, i love it and it is so memorable, it`s actually one of the earlier songs that they created. "People are Strange", when you`re a stranger, faces look ugly, when you`re alone... well what more can i say about it, great! "My Eyes Have Seen You" is the worst song here, good anyway, but nothing new. "You`re Lost Little Girl" is another soft song with the bass lines, another good one. And.... the last songs, pleas people prepare yourself to the best songs that The Doors ever released, "When the Music`s Over", this song is a complete masterpiece, and (yes, a song which fits perfectly in the progressive realm) 11 minutes of a weird and mystic trip to the doors of perception, as Jim said, thw whole song is fantastic, it blows my mind away every time i listen to it, the lyrics are weird but excellent and the music is simply amazing.

So i repeat, this is my favorite The Doors album, i really love it, and this has influenced so many popular bands, but this is definitely NOT a prog album, (but When the Music`s Over itself could make your day), my grade in a ROCK site would be without a doubt 5 stars, here i make public that for me is a 5 star album because is excellent and essential, but this is not a masterpiece of proggresive music, so i cannot give it 5 stars, 4 are perfect here, excellent addition to any prog music collection!!!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#106099)
Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars My favourite album from The Doors.

From the cover design to the music in this album, everything is very good.

"Welcome to The Doors`World": dark, menacing, psychedelic, with poetic lyrics, very good arrangements. The Doors`and Morrison`s visions are very good. They let the listener to listen carefully to the music, to introduce himself in a fantastic world, to be caught in their strange atmospheres. This is a very "artisitic" album.

"Strange Days": the first dark song, with great musical atmospheres, which include the use of a synthesizer. Clearly, the addition of a good bassist helped the band a lot to sound better. Douglas Lubahn, who at that time was a member of another band signed to Elektra Records (called "Clear Light"), was a very good choice as guest bassist.

"You`re Lost Little Girl": another very good song, one of my favourites from this band, with very good atmospheric guitars by Krieger.

"Love Me Two Times": the obligatory single, still it is a good song, despite being played a lot on the Radio.

"Unhappy Girl":similar to "You`re Lost Little Girl", the lyrics of this song are about "confused women", with a bit of humour in the lyrics.

"Horse Latitudes": a brief dark song about horses trying to survive in the sea when one ship is trying to not sink during a storm. A great atmosphere of "horror" created by the lyrics and the use of tape effects and people screaming in the studio.

"Moonlight Drive": another of my favourite songs from this band, with very good keyboards, and some use of "perverse vocals" by Morrison. Densmore also plays very well.

"People are Strange": another enjoyable song, with dark atmospheres, with lyrics about a loner, I think.

"My Eyes Have Seen You": a Rock Pop ballad, a light moment in this album.

"I Can`t See Your Face in my Mind": a psychedelic song, with good use of a marimba by Manzarek, and backward cymbal effects.

"When the Music`s Over": in this song the Fender piano bass is used again. This song sounds like being recorded "live in the studio". A "revolutionary " song which also grows in intensity, like "The End" from the previous album, finishing it with a very good climax.

I think that this album is the most representative of the style of The Doors. It was recorded and released in 1967, which I consider a very good year for Rock music in general. The creative powers were free.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#106307)
Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars After their immensely successful debut album, The Doors managed to confirm with an album that is every bit as superb, but is the only album not sporting a picture of them on the artwork. Legend has it that one of the reasons for this was that Morrison was posing bare-chested and Elektra did not want it. For better (and not for worse), the artwork boasts a series of circus artistes giving it a little conceptual air, but this is not the case.

The usual short hits are again infallible (Love Me Two Times and People Are Strange), and Morrison's lyrics are intriguingly strange (Moonlight Drive and its intro, the spooky Horse Latitude), this album flows incredibly smoothly, but with fewer surprises than its predecessor. Compared to the debut, the album is not as proggy, but definitely more psychedelic. And obviously they tried to repeat their epic ending as they had so brilliantly closed on their debut, but a little sadly, they did not manage it as well. When The Music Is Over lacks the incredible drama of The End, and also its exotic feel, but still remains quite excellent, as it is more powerful.

While not as stupendous as its debut because less prog, this album flows much smoother and on the whole is just as essential as its predecessor. "So when the music is over, turn out the lights. The music is your special friend, dance on fire as it intends, music is your only friend, until the eeeeend!!! "

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#106734)
Posted Tuesday, January 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have to disagree with the majority of reviewers here and and only give this album a three star rating. The material is very good but generally I find the songs way too short to make a proper impact with of course the exception being the final track, " When The Music's Over", quite possibly their best song ever.' Horse Latitude' is a strange song but good nevertheless and other worthwhile numbers being ' I Can't See Your Face In My Mind' and " Love Me Two Times" I think the Doors were already scrambling for material with Jim Morrison's erratic behaviour yet even so their best was yet to come! A Good album at best.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#107367)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Nine months after the release of their fabulous first opus, The Doors came back with a new release. At that time it was not an exception for a band to produce a album every year or even two (the Beatles will do so during their whole - short - career; the Stones as well at least till 1969). But could they be on par with this masterpiece ? Let's hear.

I guess they wanted to capitalize on their growing fame generated by their first effort as well as their incredible live sets.

The opener "Strange Days" is superb. Bizarre atmosphere, catchy and dark melody. Manzarek is, again, very present and his sound so unique. Really good. "You're Lost Little Girl" is a nice rock ballad with childish lyrics but it sounds fresh and harmonious. "Love Me Two Times" is a strong bluesy song with a very catchy chorus. The whole band is backing Jim superbly. I guess lots of ladies would have loved to do what Jim was asking (maybe on purpose, I don't know).

"Unhappy Girl" is a short mellow psychedelic track. It could have come out of Syd's mind. A bit naïve and innocent. We are far from "The End". "Horse Latitudes" is more a "poem" than a song. Completely crazy. "Moonlight Drive" is another bluesy one. Good rythm but nothing really exciting. This is the main problem of this album : it's a collection of good songs (like the next one : "People Are Strange") but little highlights.

I understand that it is very difficult two produce two great albums so rapidly. They put maybe too much efforts in their first release ? "My Eyes have Seen You" is a good rock song. This is the Doors'side I prefer. I could hardly enter very much in their bluesy side which will have more and more the leading in their production. This song though does not belong to their classic repertoire but is quite good.

"I Can't See Your Face in My Mind" has a weird sound (somewhat trippy). Some marimba in the background adds an exotic flavour to this rather bluesy song. Light to no drumming. The rythm is marked by the bass and the organ play. Bizarre, bizarre.

The closing number is of course the highlight of this album. IMO, it is obvious that The Doors tried to recreated a second version of "The End". Not only by its lenght ("Music is your only friend, Until the end"). The hypnotic keys from Ray are really great. Strong bass. The band serves Jim as a backing musical element to his "vocal jam" in the middle part before taking the lead for the finale. A very good song. More strutured but less psyche than "The End". A great closing number.

The incredible feeling led by their initial album is a bit set aside with this one. I guess I had waited more from the Doors than just an average album. The bluesy orientation is felt a bit more with this album.Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#107890)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For me this is easily surpassed by their debut as well as "L.A. Woman". I don't know, I just had trouble getting into this one. With songs about strange days and people, or lost and unhappy girls, there seems to be a theme of alienation that runs through this record. I hate the cover as well.

Highlights for me are the cool guitar melodies throughout "Love Me Two Times" and also the great sounding guitar in "My Eyes Have Seen You". The best song though is the final tune "When the Music's Over". It has a psychedelic feel to it and the organ to open is quite catchy. A great sixties tune on a good album. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#112569)
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After releasing their first album, the band managed to produce another masterpiece straight after it during the same year, which I see as a really exceptional achievement. The album starts with solemn and surreal feelings of the opening title song, followed by the very hazy "You're Lost Little Girl", which has really very dreamy feeling in it. "Love Me Two Times" moves into more down-to-earth rocker, reaching really powerful levels from the singer in the end. The next tune "Horse Latitudes" is a really great and powerful opener for the following "Moonlight Drive". It consists of Morrison's surreal poem which he recites in powerful pathos over the chaotic psychedelic soundwall created by the band. The song which follows it is then more traditional rock song, also growing to exceptional heights of power. Jim was such a powerful singer, and in this kind of performances he really shines. The following tune "People Are Strange" is another melodic Doors classic, and after the few following good tunes the album ends to a long epic "When the Music's Over". I really like this powerful track, and it's not any kind of carbon copy from "The End", the long closer of their previous album. Along with that record mentioned, if you get this and "Waiting for The Sun", I think you have an ultimate trilogy of classic 60's American psychedelic music in your hands, burning with power and shining with innovative ideas.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#119197)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When I reviewed The Doors' first album, I said that, although the record deserved 5 stars for its importance and for the quality of some of its tracks, for me it is not the best album by the American band, and it doesn't quite reach perfection. STRANGE DAYS, on the other hand, though maybe less groundbreaking than THE DOORS, is, for me, their best work and their crowning masterpiece.

In this album the music has taken a shift towards the darker side of the spectrum. Morrison's lyrics are more obscure, weirder, even more personal; Densmore's drumming is more present, Krieger's guitar more haunting, more hallucinating, and Manzarek's keyboards are much more psychedelic, narcotic, trip-inducing. But the whole band's music changes as a result: whereas THE DOORS was, in spite of its rather dark corners, still rock-pop with just some shamanistic touches, STRANGE DAYS is a complete shamanic ritual with rock songs as background, a complete psychedelic and psychological voyage through the inner, more confused, yet more aware, corners of Morrison's mind. If their debut album was "California rock" made under the influence of mind enhancing substances (to open "the Doors of Perception"), this second album is a mind-travel on its own, this is the mind-altering substance, the music itself.

The 2007 re-issue by Rhino Records is, again, a success. In this case we don't get a "higher" version of the album as the speed-problem was only present in the first record by the band. What we get here is, of course, liner notes, more pictures, and, sound-wise, a much crisper, clearer experience of the already-decently recorded album (for 1967, that is). The clarity of the sound is so high that we can even hear some details that were lost in the older versions, as a couple of vocal harmonies and some guitar arpeggios. The extra tracks are a "false starts and studio dialogue" of "People are Strange" and "Love me Two Times", take 3 (by this time the necessity to do multiple takes in The Doors' albums was starting, as Morrison was also beginning to be quite problematic to work with in a studio).

Strange Days (10/10) From the start we get an introduction to the new psychedelic voyage courtesy of The Doors. The menacing, obscure keyboard notes that start the song give us the idea of a zigzagging mind which dwells between absurd figures, oblique streets, funny faces, like the vision of a person with perfect eyesight wearing extremely big eyeglasses; everything distorted. Fantastic song.

You're lost Little Girl (9/10) What could be more intriguing than this song? The opening lines are so dark, menacing. Suddenly Morrison sings about a little girl; the odd pairing of lyrics and music work wonderfully. I don't love the chorus, but the verse is just superb. Singing of a lost little girl, the song seems to tell us that the singer is lost, not knowing who he is. Almost fantastic.

Love me two times (8/10) The most "normal" rock song in the album, an entertaining number that bears the same mark of quality of every song in The Doors' early output. Manzarek's keyboards give this song a strange aura, an ironic smell. Good.

Unhappy Girl (8/10) This incredibly-short song starts with a descending figure that reeks of psychedelia, and then turns into a more regular song. Another good song.

Horse Latitudes (?/10) Not really a song but studio noises under Morrison's voice reciting a weird poem. More of an experiment than a track (Botnick tells us so in the booklet, about how the band tried to use the studio after hearing SGT. PEPPER for the first time), it blends perfectly with the start of the next song.

Moonlight Drive (9/10) The song that started it all, the one that, legend tells us (well, and many Manzarek's and Morrison's biographers) Jim sung to Ray in Venice Beach and that astounded the latter so much that a project for a rock band was formed. The guitar notes by Krieger give this otherwise regular song a strange, dreamy, multi-color (like a Kaleidoscope) flavor. Krieger does so little in this song, yet he does SO MUCH. A good, very good weird song, weird because, although at first it sounds like a happy, merry-go-round song, Morrison and Krieger makes us doubt a lot about the true nature of the dancer, or the driver, in this case. Should the girl trust him? I don't know, but we can trust this song to give us some entertaining 3 minutes.

People are Strange (10/10) There's not much that I could say that would do this minimal track justice. Packed in 2 minutes, the same two minutes that other bands need just to get a song started, is so much wit, irony, sarcasm, joke, desperation, helplessness, LSD. Morrison was starting to see things differently, with other eyes, with The Lizard King'seyes. Superb.

My Eyes have seen you (8.5/10) Another more "normal" song, a straight rocker but with the same dark, evil impetus of most The Doors' songs (of the early period, we haven't gotten to "Tell all the People" yet). This new recording is so fantastic, everything sounds so incredibly clear. Good, because this album deserves to come "stoned, immaculate" to the ears. Great song.

I can't see your Face in my Mind (9/10) What a dark, ominous start. Morrison almost cries because he can't see her face in his mind. Is it because he is so out-of-himself that he can't see her? Is it because he is seeing HIMSELF so much that he can't picture anybody else's face in his mind? Is it finally happening, Morrison and The Lizard King starting to part ways? This band surely had a strange way to write songs talking about (or TO) a woman.

When the Music's Over (10/10) This is "The End" for this record, another epic conclusion. Though less shocking and insane than the last track of their debut, this is actually a superior song, with everything falling in place, from the rhythm to the sound of the organ, from Morrison's vocal delivery to Krieger's minimal-yet-important input. Instead of the shamanistic, LSD-induced, Oedipal, psychological ritual of "The End", we get a more carefully-constructed, focused, calmed song that mixes some ethanol with the acid. The climax-after-the-storm near the end doesn't reach the level of ecstasy of the tribalistic dance at "The End's" finish, but works perfectly after several minutes of just Morrison and the bass (played in keys by Manzarek) making the mind-trip more unreal. A superb conclusion.

All in all, a better album than the first one and, without a doubt in my mind, The Doors' best and highest masterpiece. Darkness, Acid, Rituals, Freud, Psychedelia, all have come together to, finally, give birth to The Lizard King, something that, sadly, was not so good in terms of musical-production for the band.

Recommended for: Everyone. The minimum desire to get a great classic rock recording qualifies you to fit this recommendation.

Not recommended for: If you want only "modern" music, well.

.actually, even you should get this album. It sounds so present-day, so original, so unique. This hasn't been done again. Prog? I can swear that many prog giants heard this and got inspiration. That's why this is in the "Proto-Prog" category, isn't it?

Creative-wise, those were truly Strange Days. Great Days.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#124022)
Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Short and to the point

Less than a year after the release of their debut album, The Doors returned with this fine follow up. While the album runs for a rather miserly 35 minutes (short even for the LP generation), we are nevertheless presented with ten new songs, including a ten minute feature track.

Much of the album is made up of sophisticated but straight forward pop orientated songs. The prog relationship here can be found in the innovations in sound techniques and the superb production, rather than in the compositions themselves. The opening track for example sees Jim Morrison's vocals being subtly distorted, making for a slightly eerie atmosphere.

The instrumental support for "Unhappy girl" sounded far more ground breaking in the late 1960's than it perhaps does now. Had the track been extended by an instrumental section, it could have been one of the band's most revered songs. Indeed, in retrospect that comment holds good for many of the tracks here. Nowadays songs of the quality of "People are Strange" would never be considered complete after just over 2 minutes. The even briefer "Horse latitudes" is an early example of Morrison reciting his unique poetry.

At over 10 minutes, the closing "When the music's over" is a monster track in comparison with the other nine. Comparisons with "The end" are inevitable, but for me there is a real progression here, the track demonstrating how the band's confidence is growing at the same pace as their creative abilities.

In all, another album which laid the foundations for prog, and which stands in its own right as an excellent work.

The sleeve, notable for its lack of reference to either the band or album name, has a bizarre photograph of a circus troupe in an alley. Strange indeed.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#127378)
Posted Monday, July 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Perhaps someone can clear this up for me...just what the crap genre should this be listed under? The fact that, barring a certain ten minute exercise, every number is about a well rounded three minutes (in fact, a couple are less than two!), would lead one to believing this is a largely “pop” album. Except it’s not pop. Hardly. Pop would never be this deep or mystical, lyricswise, or spookily played. That pop moniker keeps haunting me though...maybe it’s art pop, right? This IS a prog site after all. Uh...no. There does seem to be a mild conceptuality about this thing (the themes of lonely girls and strange people keep coming up, so it’s certainly thematic), but it refuses to contribute to the basic sound of art pop (overblown, usually with strings, but still radio friendly). No, that ain’t it. Its beauty lies in its simplicity (of approach, mind you, not mood).

Perhaps it’s psychedelic, eh? Well...I doubt that too, since most psycho songs are crafted to listen to while tripping. And, although this album is perfectly acceptable under those conditions, you really have to HEAR this thing, analyze it. And by “hear it,” I mean, “listen to it in a dark room with the headphones cranked up to eleven.” I can’t even really call it “mope-rock,” whatever that means, since the songs aren’t there to depress you. No, these songs are there to unnerve you.

Goth-pop maybe? Whatever (besides, what else fits that moniker? Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower?”). The point is, this is one of the most fascinating albums of all time, and there’s only one tiny, nagging thing keeping me from calling it perfect. So please allow me to shut up and keep talking, as I go into a little more detail.

As the atmospheric keyboards and echoey Jim open “Strange Days,” one has to wonder, how on earth these guys thought this thing could honestly compete with Sergeant Pepper. Which is not to say it’s horrible, I just mean that it’s apples and organs dude! That is, something sweet and tasty, as compared to something gross and gory that you’d really rather not have out in front of your family. Gotta love those creepy, mystical lyrics (“Strange days have dragged us down, “The hostess is grinning.” Brr), and that solid organ riff. Far cry from “Little Help From My Friends,” that’s for sure.

“You’re Lost Little Girl” is just plain creepy. Floaty, ethereal guitar solo, and more weird lyrics. “Love Me Two Times” proves that the Doors’ blues fetish is still in place. Mystical though the album might be, Jimbo wasn’t gonna let it go without this thing. Helluva song too, since “blues” still equates “Doors blues.” Bouncy guitar riff, and some highly intricate piano soloing. Dig how it gets scarier as it goes along. “Unhappy Girl” opens with a psychedelic keyboard, but fear not. Still the same ole Doors. Which means that you can’t quite tell if the song is freaky or creepy, and the slide guitar meshes with the noble, medieval keyboards flawlessly.

I was originally worried, nay, horrified, concerning the rumors of “Horse Latitudes,” a certain poetic ranting non-song. After all, wasn’t it pointless poetry that killed Days of Future Passed? However, all fears were abated when I actually just listened to the damn thing. Hell, it’s practically a highlight. For one thing (although I’m no great shake when it comes to poetry), it sounds a million times more mature than other poetry I’ve heard dropped on albums. Or, at least, it’s delivered more maturely, and if Jim believes it, I have no choice but to play along. And, secondly, and more importantly, it fits into the flow and mood of the album perfectly! It’s scary man, what with the bizarre instrumentation and screaming; them horses’ll give you nightmares.

“Moonlight Drive” proves that perhaps the Doors’ best trick was build. God, the build! You THINK it’s a love song, but it just keeps getting scarier and scarier, and in the end, everyone dies! Ain’t that great? Sure is. Pretty cool martial drumming too.

It’s hard to pick a favorite number on this album, since it’s all so God damned EVEN, but I nominate “People Are Strange” as the best song. And, yes, I do realize that it’s considered the Doors’ best acknowledged “pop” outing, but it’s good! Besides, would a real pop song contain such dark, repetitive lyrics (I mean, a pop anthem to being a weirdo? C’mon!)? Couple that with a deliciously lazy Krieger solo, and some brilliant piano work, sophisticated drumming, and it’s amazing to think of what these boys can cover in less than two minutes.

“My Eyes Can See You” is a great, hard rockin’ bit. Best guitar solo on the album (or at least tying with the one on “When the Music’s Over”), and desperate, menacing piano. I’d call it a love song, but it’s kind of a perverse one; every time I hear it, I keep getting images of a dilapidated hotel. Perhaps the only thing that can be honestly considered a love song is “I Can’t See Your Face in My Mind.” Except that it’s totally creepy and atmospheric (“Carnival dogs consume the lines.” Back to the album cover). Great use of percussion.

The closing epic “When the Music’s Over” is a definite highlight, perhaps better than anything else on the album, and certainly the best possible way to end it. Open with that deceptively jaunty, rising keyboard, then launch into a full frontal musical assault. After some lyrics with Jimbo moaning about how “the music is your only friend,” Robbie steps in with a truly nightmarish guitar solo. Gosh, with friends like that...

Then it all slows down. Pay attention to the relation between Jim and the band (“I hear a very gentle sound,” guitar noises), especially John Densmore. When he was good, he was GOOD. Oh, and, that part where drums, organ and guitar are banging out the same ascending/descending riff? Sheer Gothic, psychedelic, metallic, insert-genre-here bliss. This song has so many twists and turns, that if you (please PLEASE) listen to it in a dark room, headpones at eleven, I can practically guarantee that you won’t sleep for days. Worth every minute.

So, every song is memorable, every song is intelligent, every song is well played, every song is different, and every song accomplishes that ever important mood that the album is going for. Why ain’t it flawless? Well, to tell I’m not sure at the moment...

The length, damn it! The length. This album is WAY too short, and so are most of its songs. Then again, shortness is in and of itself not a sin (before you criticize, recall that Gentle Giant, a “real” art band, always kept to short material). Perhaps it’s just that these songs are meditations on strange things that come out of the rain...heh.

In the end, when the music’s over, what really matters is that this is an album that no one else on earth could have ever produced. Not even Procol Harum. They were just human beings, whereas Jimmy Morrison was a psycho. A good psycho. No one else on earth has ever yet popped in some poetry that has, not only failed to offend me, but has actually served the overall recording. I mean, this album is GOOD damn it! Forget about me and buy it. If only for the cover, TOTALLY fits the album. Seriously, ever song I can link back to that freaky, washed out circus. Better’n Brain Salad Surgery’s maybe.

(DAMNIT! Why, why, why is almost every great album cursed with such lousy bonus tracks? Strange Days gets just two, and they’re both practically useless to all but whacked out Doors fans. It’s just dicking around in the studio, trust me. Okay, so it is a little cool to hear Robbie construct the opening riff to “People are Strange” on the “(False Starts and Dialogue)” bit, and “Love Me Two Times” is different enough to deserve a listen (drum heavier, and the piano is switched for organ). But do you REALLY need to hear this? Well...maybe. Just every now and then. But no change in rating.)

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#144710)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Strange days are coming...

The Doors second album, often overlooked, is a great piece of work. It may not be the masterpiece that their first one was, but the album is definitely one of the most classic albums out there. There are many hits off this album, LOVE ME TWO TIMES and PEOPLE ARE STRANGE are likely the most obvious, but STRANGE DAYS and MOONLIGHT DRIVE also faired fairly well, and are a pair of great songs.

Of course, there are other songs, and they all have their moments. The most notable of the remaining songs being WHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER, which is a great proto-prog track, likely one of the best long songs The Doors ever made. HORSE LATITUDES is a bizarre song that features some haunting moments, including a good bit of screaming from Morrison, it's actually a really good track! The other short songs are not nearly as up to par as the singles and the coda track, but they all work together to form a nice album that fits well into any prog lover's collection.

4 stars, excellent addition for people who want to see the best of Proto-Prog...

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#154528)
Posted Thursday, December 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has a strange atmosphere, bergmanian, 'carl-offian', surrealistic. As its cover art, this strange circus parade (the strong man, the small man with this bizarre smile, the acrobats), this dark ambiance, this dark sleeve. Almost all of the songs are great (I Can't See Your Face In My Mind is not), and the album is so short it's terrific : 35 minutes.

Just for When The Music's Over, Unhappy Girl, Love Me Two Times, Strange Days and this weird piece of beat poetry called Horse Lattitudes (great and very particular), this album should be bought. A must-have !

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Send comments to Zardoz (BETA) | Report this review (#164600)
Posted Saturday, March 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Doors masterpiece and example of what they could do best. Jim Morrison's voice is smoky and wonderful...used to great effect in a low soothing voice in Your Lost The epic sweep of When The Musics Over is dramatic and poetic.

The overall sound of this record is very well produced, the Cheesy keyboards work very well with Kriegers exceptionally toned guitar. It is all held together with very good production and wonderful vocal sounds.

I would tout this as the Doors best representative album, though it lacks the excitement of the first record, it is more moody, dark, and intelligent as a whole than the first one, and more consistent than the later ones.

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Send comments to endlessepic (BETA) | Report this review (#166003)
Posted Monday, April 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The opening organ line on the title track starts you off on a trip and then the lyrics take you further into the weird land inside Jim Morrison's head. I am a great fan of the Doors, and I like this album alot. But I would have to rate the debut and LA Woman as better. There is a fair amount of fluff here. (3 minute little songs). But, even the fluffy songs on this album I still enjoy listening to. 'Horse Latitudes' is an entertaining interlude of Poetical weirdness. The final track cleverly called 'When the Music's Over' is long and strong!

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Send comments to digdug (BETA) | Report this review (#170170)
Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars After being introduced to the Doors about a month ago through their stellar debut, I was a little nervous when this album landed on my doormat (via a Brazillian Rainforest related website) that it wouldn't be any good. Most reviews (on this site and others) did not place it in anywhere near as high esteem as the debut. My first listen didn't do much to throw away those fears. But a few spins later and I can find myself enjoying it a lot.

'Strange Days' couldn;t be further from the raw and energetic debut. This slick, polished, yet characteristically dark song made me think of the new wave and post punk that would come into fruition more than a decade later. It particularly reminded me of Bowie's 'Scary Monsters' album. But it is a great song. 'You're Lost Little Girl' returns more to the style of the eponymous album, with some of my favourite vocals from Jim. 'Love Me Two Times' is the first truly convincing song on this album, proving the band were far from lacking in energy. I already new the song through Aerosmith's cover of it, but the original, as with 99% of cases, blows cover versions out of the water. Jim sings the sexually oriented lyrics in a truly convincing way. 'Unhappy Girl' is less interesting musically, but has some great lyrics. 'Horse Lattitudes' shows the darker side of 60s psychedelia as Mr. Morrison practically screams desperate poetry over the bands frantic playing, complete with sound effects. Complimentary to the lyrics, Jim's voice literally sounds like a boat being tossed and turns by the unpredictable sea of the music. Brillaint and distrubing stuff. 'Moonlight Drive' continues with this dark psychedelia much advanced form the tamer, earlier, versions showcased as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the debut. This song tells a strange story with great music building up a dark atmosphere. 'People are Strange' is certainly my favourite song on the album. The simple lyrics ring true and the jaunty tune is fitting in a kind of ironic way. This song is a perfect example of a simple pop song. The sexual themes are brought back in 'My Eyes Have Seen You', a lower quality song but pretty decent. I like 'I Can't See Your Face in My Mind' although it's not amazing. 'When the Music's Over' is often lauded as the Doors greatest song, but I beg to differ. It is an obvious attempt to recreate the magic of 'The End' off of the debut. It does very well on the whole, but the thing is 'The End' was the ultimate example of what it is and does not need to be bettered. However, ignoring what it is trying to be, it stands good and proud as what it actually is. A great song, with brilliant lyrics, and a certain intensity to it. This is a song that when removed from the shadow of its predecessor, is revealed to be rich in a character of its own, an epic rock song, that twists and turns through several moods, with differing sections. Overall it is a great way to end an album such as this.

Personally I think the lyrics on this album are even better than the wonderfully poetic debut. The music, however, in some places (not many) sounds a little weak to carry such great poetry, and as a result does not have the power and personality of the debut. I rated the first album with a borderline five stars and this one gets a very solid, well deserved four stars.

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Send comments to burtonrulez (BETA) | Report this review (#173829)
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Strange Days is the second album from The Doors. Their debut introduced the now classic Doors sound of Carnival/ circus organ music mixed with dark sixties rock. A strange mix then as it is a strange mix today. Strange Days shows The Doors at their most creative and inspired. All the rough edges from the debut are gone and this is a masterpiece album. Not a single note on this album is unneccessary. This is the Doors album that I always return to. Like many others my age I was introduced to The Doors through the Oliver Stone movie from 1991 and allthough it took my a while to appreciate their music I was eventually sold. But what really tricked my excitement about The Doors was an auto biography by John Densmore I read a couple of years back. It was such a great insight into a world of drugs, internal fighting, ladies and a dark philosophy that I as a metal head embrased with joy. Jim Morrison was a troublemaker no doubt. The mans personality often resulted in fights with the other members of the band and his drug abuse didn´t make things any easier. It´s really a wonder they made six albums together with the original lineup. The first three albums were their most psychadelic albums and Strange Days is probably the most psychadelic of those three albums.

I want to mention some highlights on Strange Days even though the whole album is really one long highlight. It´s very seldom you come across an album where you like everything about it. The title track starts the album and it´s a psychadelic track which has always been a favorite of mine. Great obscure vocals from Jim Morrison, and some really eerie carnival organ parts from Ray Manzarek. Note the changed bassline after the second chorus. Simple gimmick really but great. You're Lost Little Girl is another favorite of mine with the beautiful sensitive vocals from Jim Morrison and the melodic acoustic guitar from Robby Krieger. This is another favorite of mine from Strange Days. Love Me Two Times is the most known song from Strange Days but it´s a great track and another highlight on the album. People Are Strange have always had a strange attraction on me and it´s a song I will always love. Of course I also have to mention the last song When the Music's Over. It´s a Doors classic and a live favorite. Absolutely one of the best songs they ever made. As mentioned the rest of the songs are also great dark sixties pop/ rock songs that shouldn´t be missed.

The musicianship is even better than on the excellent debut. These musicians just seem to come up with new tricks all the time. I especially noticed that Robby Krieger really evolved since the debut.

The production is really detailed and very good for the time and even in today´s standards this is a great sound quality. Of course it´s obvious that the album is made in the sixties but it´s really great.

The cover needs to be mentioned as well. It´s always drawn me in with it´s eerie and dark atmosphere. Clowns and circus freaks have always scared the [&*!#] out of me.

With Strange Days The Doors superseeded all expectations after their brilliant debut and delivered what I think is their crowning achievement. I´m so happy every time I give this one a spin because I know that my love for this album will last forever. A true psychadelic evergreen. The 5 stars is a matter of course for this masterpiece album. If you´re curious about The Doors, start here.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#176143)
Posted Saturday, July 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Strange Days is the second Doors album in one year. Artists had ambitions in those days. It fully delivers on the promise of the debut and due to its consistent quality and its eerie, melancholic, and alienated feel; it easily ranks as my favourite Doors album. I have something of a circus trauma (not the only one here apparently :) and the album art only makes the experience even more scary and unsettling then just the music.

Strange Days and You're Lost Little Girl have that downcast beauty and brooding intensity that has only been equalled since by Joy Division on songs like Heart And Soul. The Doors were obviously a great inspiration on the estranged post punk generation in the 80's. Love Me Two Times lightens up the mood with a playful harpsichord and attractive blues swing. But the slight twist is short-lived. In under 2 minutes, Unhappy Girl has a great contrast between sad lyrics and almost light-hearted circus music. After a bit of deranged poetry, the sublime Moonlight Drive continues Jim's pensive mood, but the music keeps providing that interesting psychedelic counterweight. In just 2 minutes, People Are Strange is both strange and catchy, gloomy and subtle.

The great thing about this album is that it doesn't falter for one second. Also My Eyes Have Seen You and I Can't See Your Face In My Mind continue the high standard quality of this unique music. The closing 11 minutes When The Music's Over proves their grown maturity since the debut album. They deliver a flawless and coherent epic with a well-timed climax that not only shows where Nick Cave got the inspiration for his gloomy epics but it is also the obvious point of attention for prog heads. Where the The End was little more then a stretched out jam, this track has a decisively more composed structure then other early epics like Rondo or Instellar Overdrive. Of course, the basis of the song is still a repetitive blues lick but coming from 1967, this was a huge leap in proggy directions.

The album is relatively short but with all those beautiful little songs there's more hooks and angles to this album then on many products that are twice as long. A landmark of psychedelic rock indeed.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#259536)
Posted Wednesday, January 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Doors - Strange Days (second record of 1967)

And The Doors continue their tour-de-force!

Yet another psychedelic/classic rock masterpiece of major band The Doors. 1967 must have been a busy year for them. For their second album The Doors composed a lot of tracks with some reference to their début, but also some new experiments and a lot of 'gothic' blues (as some-one described it). These are the winning ways.

Side one. Strange Days has a very progressive abstract/futuristic sound with a great effect on the vocals of Jim Morrison. The songs has a lonely vibe in music history, it's very original. You're lost Little Girl is a gothic blues track with tender vocals of Jim Morrison and a great sixties rock refrein and a James Bond-like couplet theme. Love me two Times is a classic blues-rock track that needs no further description. Unhappy Girl has some psychedelic vibes, whilst Horse Latitudes is a sound-scape based composition with a very very aggresive, yet poetic, story of Jim Morrison. Moonlight Drive is a poetic pop song that I've never understood. A lot of people tend to like it as a classic song still.

On side two the famous People are Strange get us back into the album concept with a gentle guitar theme and again very impressive vocals by Jim Morrison. My Eyes Have Seen You is an up-tempo track that is just very good without a reason. I can't See your face in my Mind is a psychedelic track with a great atmospheric main couplet theme whilst other parts of the song are more rock-like. When the music's over is an eleven minute song based on the psychedelic/hypnotic vibe of The End. It's not as good as the original, but it has some nice ideas and a killer main melody. It's a sexy moment to seduce your girlfriend/wife! ..did I say that?...

Conclusion. You can't go wrong with this one, this pure energy and inspiration. Furthermore it would be very hard to find a record from 1967 that more progressive then this one. Four stars. Another perfect Doors album.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#260622)
Posted Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sometime in 1969 after the song "Touch Me" came out, I bought "Strange Days" and "The Soft Parade" at the same time. They became the 3rd and 4th Doors records in my collection. By then the Doors were my favorite band. I decided to play both releases back to back. I remember liking "Strange Days" much better. Inside the "SD" LP was a sleeve which the record rested in to protect it from scratches. I saw a pic of the group on that sleeve and there was Morrison in the center looking at his hand. I thought that would have been a better photo to use for the album cover than the circus performers. I thought it was a great shot. I have a sneaking suspicion that Ray Manzarek was behind that idea, judging from the way he plays the organ on some songs. He must love the carnival scene a great deal. The dark adventure begins with a poem by Morrison, known as "Strange Days." It is superb! There is a great sense of foreboding as you listen to it. Everything is working here. The organ tone sucks you right in like a whirlpool. The music is dramatic and is filled with suspense. Morrison uses vocal effects to emphasize the doomlike quality of the lines. To me "Strange Days" is the turbulent upheaval of society as we knew it. Many strange things were bombarding the U.S. during the sixties. It is highly possible the lyrics were a direct result of a dream Morrison had. He was quoted as saying he got some of his best stuff from real good dreams. I am tempted to say this song may have even made its writer more than a little apprehensive. The first verse lets the listener know something life changing is happening and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. The last lines apply to the Doors as he states "We shall go on playing or find a new town," depending on the audience's reaction to the singer's tidings. The second verse shifts to deceptive intrigue as the songster sees our right to privacy fall by the wayside. Jim answers why it is happening. In the last line of that verse he says, "Hear me talk of sin and you know this is it." The last verse reveals us as lonely, confused, abused, and trapped in a strange night of stone. Many felt this was a reference to the drug culture. I think there was something much more disturbing than just drug abuse. It is what becomes of a society when too much change occurs at one time. These are issues that deserve much thought. The lyric is definitely prog, but the music never gets past the AB format. AB as in verse and chorus. The chorus in this case being the music between verses. There is more of an experimental ideology going on here, and throughout the album. Next comes the beautifully crafted "You're Lost Little Girl." The music is intricate and precise. Again the band uses the AB format to great effect. The difference on this one is that Robbie Kreiger plays a solo. The chords are changed and the rhythm is snappy. I don't really call that prog, but it is experimental to be sure. The third tune is one I have never really warmed up to. I know it did pretty good on the charts, but I always believed the Doors were capable of better music and lyrics. "Love Me Two Times" is well played, but it isn't a good "Doors" song. I wished they never put it on the record. It sounds like vaudville meets pop rock. YUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Unhappy Girl" is another filler song. As far as I'm concerned, Manzarek sounds as if he is experimenting with the wrong textures. It is just too off beat, even for me.. I have never been able to get into it. I do appreciate the writing though. The Doors did Morrison's lyrics the justice they deserved most of the time, but not in this case. "Horse Lattitudes" on the other hand brought Jim's words an almost MTV-like quality. You can hear, feel, and see what is happening. At first I thought the song was about heroin, but it is really about the experience of horses being thrown overboard on the high seas during a violent storm. An excellent recording!!! "Moonlight Drive" is a good rocker with a great poetic content. The words are rich in the visual, as well as thought provoking. "People are Strange" is the right way to contruct a song, unlike "Love Me Two Times." It is well done and pleasing to the ear. Most ,on this album, it emphasizes the Doors persona. Next is one of my faves. It is akin to "Strange Days," as far as content goes. Perhaps the result of another good dream? This one deals with prostitution and again the loss of privacy. The song combines hard rock with moody, melodic rock. Morrison at his best! The Doors at their best! "I can't see you're Face in my Mind" is dreamy and contemplative. The suspended chords just give it the right feel. This is on the verge of prog, while never going too far away from the theme. It is a good placement in answer to the previous tune. "When the music's Over" is the last song and arguably the best offering the band ever recorded. I used to get stoked just listening to the first notes spew out. Manzarek found the best tones and exploited them to futher enhance and accentuate Jimbo's utterances. Robbie's Guitar is killer! It augments and justifies the continuation of the song. The words renew the expectation of something greater, as Morrison seems to ramble on with methodic purpose. It is dark, but then the 60's were a dark time. So it follows that Morrison would be so absorbed. The last verse is a recapitulation of the first, which reiterates returning to darkness after the enlightenment of Jim's words, through the music, has ceased. When it's over, you shut off the lights and go to wherever. It's up to you how much you take with you. There are only two songs that keep this album down, that is why I am giving it four stars instead of five.

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Send comments to Keetian (BETA) | Report this review (#265758)
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've heard that Strange Days was created mainly out of the leftover material from the debut album. If that is the case then the debut album had suspiciously many great compositions omitted for some inferior material!

What makes Strange Days a much smoother album is the fact that it doesn't have any forgettable material on it. The album may not contain as many the Doors classics as debut album, but what it lacks it quality it makes up for in consistency. I personally enjoy this release slightly more than the band-titled recording and if they only could combine some of the best material from the two then we, the audience, would have had a lethal album on our hands. But as it stands today we have no show-stealing songs just solid material all around!

The opening title track may not be as hard hitting as Break On Through (To The Other Side) but it sets my expectations at just the right level to make the rest of this journey worth a while. Love Me Two Times is one of the few Blues-Rock compositions that I'm always excited to hear. The section right after the vocal chorus line gets me every time with its ingenious execution. The short but sweet People Are Strange is probably most recognized song out of the bunch and I'm glad that it wasn't turned into a 7-minute jam session like Light My Fire. The reason for this remark comes from the idea that the first two the Doors albums are structured quite similarly with around 10 tracks each with a lengthy 10+ minute piece right at the end.

As for the excessive piece of music known as When The Music's Over I feel that it's not on par with the wonderful The End. It's not like the band is actually trying to recreate the same atmosphere here but one can't help but compare due to the unavoidable similarities of the two pieces. The composition is great for what it is but just like the album-titled opener implied one needs to keep the expectations on a certain level to truly enjoy these performances.

Strange Days is a second in a row excellent release from the Doors which unfortunately is a last one in a while since most of their later output tends to be quite inconsistent.

***** star songs: Strange Days (3:09) Love Me Two Times (3:15) People Are Strange (2:11)

**** star songs: You're Lost Little Girl (3:05) Unhappy Girl (1:57) Horse Latitudes (1:35) Moonlight Drive (3:03) My Eyes Have Seen You (2:32) I Can't See Your Face In My Mind (3:24) When The Music's Over (11:06)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#273428)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars People are strange when you're a stranger...Jim Morrison needed some friends, if you axe me.

Overall Rating: 13/15

Best Song: Tough, babe. Maybe a triple threat between When The Music's Over, You're Lost Little Girl, and People Are Strange....

...or hell, maybe Love Me Two Times. What do I know, anyway?

It definitely ain't Horse Latitudes, unless we're going for that oh-so-acclaimed "idiosyncratic" attribute, which this album has in mother-effing loads, dude. What it is, is it is, it is, is it is? It's the Doors' second album, and the one that totally always gets utterly overshadowed by their publicly monolithic debut. And I gotta say something right now that's going to shock everyone! (not really) This is even better than their debut! Gasp, what dire blasphemies is this nutcase spewin', huh? Well, pals, it's just got more moments that make me go "wowee zowee, this is fun as hell". Now, enough of that nonsense, let's get to something serious.

Holy crap, Horse Latitudes is about drowning horseys! Oh god, where is PETA when you need 'em? This sick Morrison fellow needs to be locked away. What? You say he's dead already? Gee, guess PETA works pretty quick.

Like I said, Strange Days is all the fun of their Debut, without a single generic bloozer to duff your muff, McGruff. You also get what I easily call the "Door" factor, that's one hundred percent, undiluted, raucous carnivalesque psychedelic blues rock, oozing in theatrical darkness and a li'l thing I like to call good melodic sense. Man, the opening title track might not scream at you, but it sure will show a little leg to get you to come on in and have a good time in Captain Morrison's Six Ring Satanic Sircus. There is the requisite instance of morbid beauty in You're Lost Little girl, with those candy cane melodies leading you into the dark, ominous woods, alone. Yeah, Love Me Two Times has that rollicking roll riff that waltzes along so good, brother. There aren't any real weak moments, and even the silly poem about dying animals just NEEDS to be there, because it's just not a classic Doors album without him reciting drowning horse poetry, or screaming ludicrous desires to screw his own mother, or any number of momentous musical occasions, bub. Take it like good, dark medicine, I say.

Moonlight Drive did seem kinda poppy at first, until the band leads us all into that grandiose, tense buildup. I love it! Yeah, this would be just a super perfect album if it didn't have a few of those "generic blues shuffle" moments left in them where the melody doesn't exactly go much of anywhere. You know what I mean. Probably not. I'm talking about duff stuff like the main theme to Unhappy Girl, before it goes into the coolio soloing, or the first minute of Moonlight Drive. Yeah, this is such a solid album, I gotta pick out weak song segments, and not actual songs. It's very tops, if you know what I'm saying. People Are Strange has such an intriguing melody that wraps around my head, as it drifts between cavorting death polka and eerie morose crooning. What a band!

I haven't even talked about the epic When The Music's Over, which absolutely rips The End to shreds, no joke. It's got raving soloing, some cookin' jams, at least three classic melodies smacked right in thar, and all in the confines of 10 minutes, baby. Is it the best song they ever did? No, that's doubtful, these fellows were quite prolific in the early days, still, all of it adds up to a bruttaly wonderful cap to the Doors' shining moment in my utterly worthless opinion. If you only get one Doors album, make it this one. But, if you only get one Doors album, you're very dumb, the end.

*****

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#293968)
Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "penetrate the evening that the city sleeps to hide..."

Now we're getting somewhere. While the beloved Doors debut gets so much buzz, it is here where the band begins to interest me more. The songs of "Strange Days" blend psychedelia with their own west-coast rock to create a unique, pleasant semi-darkness. The tracks and the playing are less obvious and more adventurous making the album more enticing to proggers, even though many of the songs were written in the same early period. I think they chose the more obvious hits for the first album, leaving the weirder cousins available for this one. That combined with their developing skills and likely increased hallucinogenic intake made a big difference. The first album bores me while this one still grabs me. "Strange Day" supposedly features some of the first Moog in rock and roll, not sure if it was the very first example though.

Side one is very strong, "Unhappy Girl" might be the only soft spot. "You're Lost Little Girl" is one of those laid back, dreamy, hazy vocals that Morrison would make the alter-ego trademark to his wild side. "Love Me Two Times" was a decent single as was "Moonlight Drive" which was the lyric that awed Manzarek into Jim's potential when they were just friends hanging out on the beach. The intro to "Moonlight" was "Horse Latitudes," a cryptic and slightly frightening collage of brash sound and poetry. A glimpse into the rough waters Jim wanted to go. "People are Strange" was another great track and an unlikely hit, when you listen closely it shows how good their instincts were in assembling a track. The album ended with another monster track as they did with "The End" on the debut. "When the Music's Over" is pure Doors with Ray and Robby's big organ/guitar squall opening. The track is bookended by loud and dramatic rock sections while the middle opens into a rather minimalist valley where Morrison lays down his thing quite dramatically, a poetry reading set to music.

"Strange Days" shows growth by the band and is another 1967 title to recommend although probably not quite essential stuff.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#295598)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Doors certainly separate one room of opinion from another. For some, it's banal, pretentious, clumsy. For others, it's true art, darkness, poetry. I'm with the second room on that, though not unqualified adoration. The problem for even fans of the music like myself is that the band are not the greatest musicians you ever heard. Only perhaps Ray Manzarek is the real deal, playing bass and keyboard, holding the whole thing together brilliantly. Robbie Kreiger is a true original, but highly eccentric guitar player. He veers from moments of inspiration to amateur fluffs. John Densmore wouldn't be a drummer's drummer either, but his outbursts of drama are perfect for the Doors and Morrison's lyrics. Morrison's lyrics are wonderful and he has a charismatic vocal sound, an unwavering intuitive sense of what a vocal should do, but basically is not a natural musical singer. And yet, even with all these imperfections on display, it works brilliantly. And that's the point. A band isn't a collection of virtuoso musicians, it's a chemistry that mostly happens by accident.

The Doors are not great writers either. Morrison is a brilliant lyricist (not a brilliant poet by the way), but the songs often fall down in terms of musical composition. When it works, it works tremendously well, sometimes aided by it's limitations, in the sense that the lyrics stand out more when the music is so blues-based and basic, almost crude, it creates a balance that wouldn't necessarily exist if a true songwriter existed in the band.

The first album has been lavishly praised, and I also like it, though straight away I noted the quite amateur performances from all concerned apart from Ray. What made the album was that Sunset strip atmosphere pervading every pore of the vinyl. It was a kind of magic.

I've always preferred Strange Days to the first album, yet I have to concede that the magic atmosphere on the first album is not present here. That first album seemed to evoke visions of the setting sun in LA. What takes its place here is a darker vision, a feeling of brooding landscape where night rules over day.

Strange Days for me is almost over the top, the tune is rather corny and contrived, but the haunting lyric wins me over in the end, 'Strange eyes fill strange rooms'. Only the Doors could do this in this way.

You're lost little Girl would be rather harmless pop were it not for that great haunted voice.

Love me two times is fair enough, but rock for rock's sake, a bit on the superficial side, but a necessary track for the sake of balance. Just about, I'd say.

Unhappy Girl has been railed against in this forum, but for me, it fits perfectly into that dark world of the Doors, the style of the singer and his particular obsessions give this an edge.

Horse Latitudes almost sums up the Doors problem referred to earlier. Disturbing musical images and dramatic voice pull together a siren call that it's best not to listen too closely to, or you might notice the rather silly words.

Moonlight Drive is the commercial side of the band, atmospheric, radio-friendly, but poetic words that provoke thought-images in the listener's mind.

People are Strange has a brilliant opening line 'People are strange when you're a stranger, faces look ugly when you're alone'. The song is worth it for this line alone, just as well when the tune it uses to convey it is rather corny and obvious, totally lacking in inspirational quality. That said, Robbie has one of his inspirational forays on guitar, perfectly in tune with the lyric, and that helps counter the negatives.

My eyes have seen you is a rather standard Doors offering, though the lyrics are again interesting and original. A pity that the music can't keep up on this occasion.

I can't see your face in my mind carries that other-worldly sound, though the song is no great shakes.

When the music's over is a tour-de-force, and perhaps the ultimate Doors statement. Not really a song at all, just pure drama, it nevertheless gets my vote as the single most important piece of rock music ever. If someone who has never heard it before heard it suddenly on the radio today, they would go "What the fxxx is that?". It's that unique, and it's significant that you don't hear it on the radio. Yet it was written in 1965. For this one piece alone, this album and the Doors should be forever held in high esteem.

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Send comments to JeanFrame (BETA) | Report this review (#339543)
Posted Wednesday, December 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I really wanted to mention this album, as it is, for me, the most important Doors album of the relatively-few they managed to produce in the life of the unit. The main reason for its importance is the inclusion of When the Music's Over, surely a seminal moment in Rock. Pure drama rather than a song, the simplistic melody gains power from its blues base, and even more so from the wonderful images the words evoke, a veritable dark landscape inhabited by all kinds of portraits and movie scenes.

The whole album has a kind of darkness attached to it, and on the downside of the coin, an almost-bored professionalism that threatens to make the whole thing meaningless or not serious. Certainly, this album doesn't have the magic atmosphere of the previous album. But in the end, the darkness prevails and draws us in. Strange Days (the song) is routine in melody, anything but in lyrics. Even the pop songs are haunting, the singer sounding like he's living half-way between life and another dimension. Which of course proved to be the case. It wasn't an act, it was real.

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Send comments to giselle (BETA) | Report this review (#428430)
Posted Wednesday, April 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars No such thing as sophomore slump for the Doors - if anything, this is even more confident and assured than their debut. Many of the songs here were considered for inclusion on the first album but held back, and the extra work in that time has clearly served them well. "Strange" is the name of the game here - from Morrison's plaintive cry of "People are strange, when you're a stranger" in People Are Strange to the swirling organ of the title track, weirdness, isolation, and alienation are the themes of the album, and the Doors' dark, brooding sound is the perfect vehicle for that. Morrison's spoken word piece Horse Latitudes as a short piece which shouldn't really work that does, the backing sound effects and Morrison's impassioned delivery building tension brilliantly before the band breaks into the wonderful Moonlight Drive. And Rob Krieger's furious guitar combines wonderfully with Manzarek's driving piano in the furious My Eyes Have Seen You, easily matching Morrison for raw fury.

The album closes with another epic, When the Music's Over, isn't as well-known as The End (probably because it never appeared in Apocalypse Now), but it's no less powerful. Even though it - like the rest of the album - is going over the same territory to some extent, it's enough of an improvement over the band's first attempts to be well worth the second try. The whole album, in fact, accomplishes all the promise of the first album and more besides. Five stars.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#447943)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Buh
3 stars This is the least interesting of the Doors albums with Jim Morrison. No really strong songs are featured, though there is a lot of pretty good songs. The original Doors album may not have been perfect (imo) but at least it didn't feel like a CD full of strongish filler songs. The dreamy atmosphere of the last album has been replaced largely by a collection of pop tunes, with one exception. "You're Lost Little Girl" has an atmosphere all to it's own thanks to it's excellent smooth guitar solos, and reserved but impassioned vocals from Morrison. Other songs like "Moonlight Drive" and "Love Me Two Times" are quite pleasant and nice, but again, nothing special. And is it just me, or does "When the Music's Over" sound quite a bit like "Soul Kitchen"? Ah, who cares. Anyways, this is a pleasant enough record, but for me, nothing special. I'd give it around a "C+".

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Send comments to Buh (BETA) | Report this review (#456698)
Posted Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Strange days is one of my favourite albums by the Doors. Really great stuff, vocally, instrumentally, productionwise too, it sounds very fresh even today. This album really takes off where the first album left off. If anything it is a more cohesive work with the band experimenting with Moogs and overdubs (in a gloriously quaint 60's way of course). There's actually an even more spooky sound overall, from the title track and "You're Lost Little Girl" in particular. The charmingly eeire guitar effects work splendidly here. I especially love "Strange Days", the wonderful "Moonlight Drive" and "My Eyes Have Seen You". Strange Days is a breathtaking example of The Doors' musical and production values that set them apart from way back to now. I must also mention the cover. It really suits the music! Four solid stars!

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#488838)
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Add me to the list of progsters that believe that STRANGE DAYS is an improvement over the self- titled debut. And it took me quite too long to follow up my first encounter with The Doors; about six and a half years is the gap between me getting the debut and me getting this. STRANGE DAYS made me feel like I had been missing out on something in all of those years.

I would argue that this is a proggier version of the Doors even though psychedelic music is a more proper term for the album. The span of keyboard sounds expands a bit to allow harpsichords in like on ''Moonlight Drive'' (likely influenced by SGT. PEPPER). I also get the feeling that while the tunes are still pop, The Doors stretch their sonic palette out a bit to avoid sounding ''normal''. That is, excluding the good ''Unhappy Girl'', a song that sounds like a debut leftover.

Compared to the more sunshine California happy material on the debut, STRANGE DAYS, for the most part, takes dark, twisted turns that bleed into the music. It's as if ''The End'' had sequel vignettes. The title track, ''You're Lost Little Girl'', ''People Are Strange'' and ''My Eyes Have Seen You'' are quite disturbing and creepy in presence. They all give me that cold chill down my back that you get whenever you see/hear/read something sinister yet you like it at the same time. And yet there's the snappy hit single ''Love Me Two Times'' to bring some balance.

The track that many want to know about here would be ''When the Music's Over''. It's at the end of the album and eleven minutes long, so comparison's to ''The End'' would be inevitable. ''The End'' wins for me because that track was spine-tingling and ground-breaking simultaneously; ''When the Music's Over'' is more or less a swirling jazzy jam that does climax, but not in the way ''The End'' does. A more proper comparison of this album's ender music-wise is Caravan's ''Where But For Caravan Would I?''.

STRANGE DAYS is not without its share of clunker tracks. Thankfully it's brief, but ''Horse Latitudes'' is simply awful. ''I Can't See Your Face in My Mind'' sounds too much like padding.

This album is creepy, but it's the kind of creepy that puts that evil smirk on your face and goosebumps on your arms. If you aren't sure of what I'm talking about, give this album a try and see if you get the same reaction.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#805170)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Dead Poets Society

I'm really not so sure the daring has to be admired. We are led to believe that the dearth of info on the sleeve to identify the artist was considered a cardinal sin in the still damp unorthodoxy of 'groovy' marketing circa 1967. However, the closer one gets to the revisionism that surrounds Strange Days the less impressive and resilient it's curiously European grotesques start to appear (Most Decca albums from as early as 1965 did not have the artist's name on the cover either e.g. the Stones, Them, and more of erm... them later. Kudos to Jim Morrison however for refusing to allow Elektra to use his lucrative image on the sleeve in the manner of the debut album. The majority of material presented here was prepared circa 1965-66 when Morrison was still a Venice beach bum who could choose to escape into the oblivion afforded by alcohol c/f the subsequent prisoner in front of bars. Most bands have creative spikes at their inception until the inevitable law of diminishing returns sets in (or their drinks get tampered with). Save the mini second wind represented by Morrison Hotel, the Doors were still mining this fertile period right up to and including the Waiting For the Sun album where indolent hippy flotsam such as Love Street or We Could Be So Good Together are now portrayed as brilliantly ironic pastiche (yep, that will always be an anagram of it's cheap)

The conventional wisdom of Jimbo as rawk's prototypical enfant terrible is tempered by a baby sitter in the huge Afro-American ex Marine form of one Tony Funches, his bodyguard and constant companion whose remit was to keep the singer out of trouble/jail y'all. Breaking on through to the other side must be considerably less fraught with a minder methinks? Similarly, the iconography of the incubus of prim suburban damsels is lost on me (although a pale Scottish hetero with external genitals is probably not the best judge) I've seen a grand total of exactly two Doors concerts, being the London Roundhouse and LA Forum videos and for me Morrison is wooden, leaden, resolutely hinged and about as threatening or sexy as two coats of varnish primer. Check out Them's Van Morrison for a proto Lizard King circa 1965 as he creates a template for those moody and tormented front-men crouching menacingly beside the bass drum that every ambitious ne'er do well has exploited ever since. It's really no accident that the Doors supported Them at the Whisky A Go Go in LA prior to their breakthrough via Light My Fire and the younger Morrison clearly studied his elder namesake with a keen attention to detail. The inspiration is also more than cosmetic on something like When the Music's Over which borrows from Belfast's finest Gloria right down to the breakdown section where the already meagre harmonies are stripped back to just the bass-line and the singer's ruminations over the top. I'll give portions of When the Music's Over the benefit of the doubt by dint of it containing much apparent irony e.g. anyone intoning the scream of the butterfly with a straight face even in 1967 must be either taking the mick or an insecticidal maniac. (Someone should have told Ray though, to save him the trouble of attempting to replicate such an unlikely sound via that unconvincing tinny squeak he coaxes from his Vox Continental) This is a fumble in the End zone Part 2 being but a pale imitation of the latter from the debut and Morrison's faux poetic fluff and dreck which oscillates between the precise and the careless has certainly not aged gracefully in the interim:

Come back, baby, Back into my arms We're gettin' tired of hangin' around, Waitin' around with our heads to the ground

Similarly, when Mr Mojo Risin attempts to damn his fellow creatures for their exploitation of the planet's resources, the rape analogy is probably sincere but hopelessly cliched:

What have they done to the earth? What have they done to our fair sister? Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her. Stuck her with knives in the sight of the dawn And tied her with fences and dragged her down

Ditto the risible call to arms implored by a singer who cared as little for music as the hippies he pretends to cajole into collectivist action here:

I hear a very gentle sound, With your ear down to the ground We want the world and we want it...We want the world and we want it...Now!

This empty rhetoric was rife throughout the so-called counter culture and we could be forgiven for having shed-loads more grudging respect for the unpalatable agendas of the Baader Meinhof Gang or Black Panthers than those unheeded ceasefires declared by the unarmed. We are advised by Jimbo scholars that such was the latent threat he posed to conventional morality, the CIA kept a file on the Lizard King and monitored his every utterance and activity very closely. Gawd, what a dreary, thankless and futile assignment that must have been. A reconnaissance report from around this time might have resembled the following:

Day One - He's awake, he's sober, he's getting drunk, he is drunk, he's collapsed in the gutter, everyone in LA now ignores this pariah so his 24/7 bodyguard is carrying him to his apartment. Over.

Day Two - He's awake, he's sober, he's getting drunk etc

Poetry plus lederhosen = zero sales. Morrison's abiding ambition for the Doors was to mount the jewel represented by his own poetry onto the handsome ring provided by his colleagues more experimental and challenging music. Notwithstanding An American Prayer where the excellent music by the remaining Doors almost rescues the wretched poetry, the example of Horse Latitudes provided here is all the proof needed that if they had embarked on such a career path, you would not be reading this now.

Strange Days - The female as 'siren' metaphor is bloated with interpretations, none of which would qualify the author as Cosmo Man of 1967 - does the feminine corollary to the patriarch delight in the destruction of the male? Morrison's 'significant others' were principally Pamela Courson, a dippy smackhead with a habit that would have floored a (wall mounted) Rhino and Patricia Kennealy, a Rock journalist with an abiding interest in Celtic Pagan traditions. The latter continues to appropriate the late singer's name today as his wife on the basis of an occult hand-fasting ceremony that consummated their union witnessed by precisely no-one. Perhaps both these opportunistic little starf*ckers may have soured Morrison's view of the fair sex to be less than equitable?

Strange eyes fill strange rooms, Voices will signal their tired end The hostess is grinning, Her guests sleep from sinning Hear me talk of sin, And you know this is it

Although the spectral delay effect ladled onto Jim's vocal provides an attractive and suitably hallucinogenic timbre, it robs his range of any bottom end and could perhaps have been used a tad more sparingly. Strong musical ideas abound however and the song contains some subtle synth shenanigans in the background of which many cite Morrison as being the source. Listen out also for several of those very delightful lurches in tonality via some unconventional chord choices. Densmore's drumming is always a treat irrespective of the material and his interaction with session man Doug Lubahn's bass on the latter's double time ascending scalar runs towards the conclusion is reminiscent of the exhilarating synergy of Hendrix and Mitchell on Hey Joe

Anecdotal evidence suggests Jimbo didn't care much about the Lizard King persona, but it was good for sales, gave his family and lovers an estate to fight over, and when intoxicated, he was more than happy to confirm anyone's worst confirmation bias. I genuinely think his real ambition was to pursue poetry but like his hero Rimbaud, the muse had abandoned her vehicle long before the engine stalled. The surviving Doors get scant recognition these days for being a very fine and accomplished band shorn of their meal ticket and doubters should check out the music on An American Prayer and the unjustly neglected Doors w/out Jim albums for abiding proof of their talent.

Perhaps Strange Days represented storm clouds looming for the summer of love, but with every passing year, the reality of those halcyon days becomes increasing difficult to disentangle from the hype, cant and obfuscation provided by some very unreliable weathermen and weather girls in our midst. It's certainly the most overtly psychedelic album in the group's output but why some people think this a litmus test of quality or originality escapes me. Much of Paul Rothchild's production merely serves to date the contents to their detriment and document yet another victim laid low by the debilitating 'pepper' spray at around this time. The uncanny brilliance of People Are Strange, You're Lost Little Girl and Love Me Two Times keeps 'well dodgy' company with inconsequential trippy candy like I Can't See Your Face in My Mind and Unhappy Girl plus the strangled rabid yelp that is the execrable but mercifully brief My Eyes Have Seen You (My ears have heard you) A similar failing blights Moonlight Drive which starts as a brilliant ensemble arrangement of fairly modest musical ideas until it just has nowhere else to go but more of the same albeit louder, heavier and with a screamed desperation that will never camouflage a paucity of developmental ideas.

Robert Fripp's phrase 'benign anarchy' to describe a phenomenon that inhabited the common mind for a few very fleeting months during the late 60's is the only anecdotal source I care to trust. Let's not confuse a nostalgia for something that never really happened in the first place with a revolution in the head.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#817028)
Posted Saturday, September 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
rogerthat
COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Has there been a more knockout opening to an album than the title track of Strange Days? There may well be, but I might be able to count them all, at least the ones I know of, on my fingers. I may be biased here on account of how much I love this track. But I find it utterly hypnotic in ways I find hard to put into words. It changed my views about Doors for good and 'converted' me.

My previous experiences of Doors were restricted to Morrison Hotel and some other tracks from across their discography. I did not find these particularly exciting and could not relate to (what I thought of as) all the hype around the band. But Strange Days revealed to me a band that could hold its own and then some with the very best of the 60s.

Sinister and tender, hard hitting and beguiling, twisted and infectious, these are some contrasting adjectives that I could use to describe this album without much exaggeration. As a demonstration of the band's range and width, the first two tracks of the album would suffice by themselves.

The eponymous opener, astonishingly, sounds like Krautrock a bit before Krautrock. And it achieves this without losing accessibility. The main hook is too exotic to sound generic even after all these years and yet, it is so catchy that it's almost danceable. It is when Morrison's ominous voice comes in that parallels to Krautrock are really evident. The riffs that follow the last line of each verse (or a chorus, if you would rather call it one) must have also been very influential for Krautrock and, once again, they possess hypnotic power.

Preceded by this menacing slab of psychedelia as it is, You're Lost Little Girl feels even more beguiling for it. This talented bunch of musicians almost seem to transform for this song and Krieger in particular plays a beautiful solo. A band that can write and perform either of these tracks would already have to be a talented one, but how do you beat a band that can come up with both, back to back and make the transition seamlessly? Once again, the immediate parallel is with the Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd. But...I would argue Doors are even more effective at this stage. Their madness is much more channeled and focused. For all their success with Barrett, Pink Floyd were a bit all over the place at that stage while Doors on Strange Days is a band at the top of their game. And it shows.

Because there's still more, lots more to this album. My other absolute favourite from this album is the aptly titled closer, When The Music's Over. I would have more time for psychedelic jams if they were all as effective as this fabulous track. Doors create a powerful context that makes the jam engaging in the first place. It is improv, but not improv that simply sets a mood but improv that will compel you to listen to with full attention, every note of it. Improv that will transport you to a place that you will find thrilling and frightening at the same time. This music is simply not meant to be analysed but to be experienced to the hilt. I am not a huge fan of Morrison's singing but I do love his performance on this track and would have to consider it crucial to the power of the music.

There are some goodies amongst the rest of the tracks too. They are relatively simple and basic in terms of structure, but structure is not where it's at as far as this album goes. This is a bunch of compositions that cannot be easily emulated for sheer staying power. I particularly like Unhappy Girl, My Eyes Have Seen You and I Can't See Your Face in My Mind. I don't often listen to the rest but it's not like there's anything, other than Horse Latitudes, to avoid here.

To conclude, certainly an album that can rival the likes of Revolver, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Let It Bleed, Bringing it all Back Home as one of the shining lights of the 60s. Morrison may not quite be a match for the Zimmerman as a wordsmith and the musicians may not boast the eclecticism of the Beatles but none of these albums I mentioned are so purely mesmerising and, well, scary as Strange Days. Where this album shines is not so much in terms of its influence or its profundity but simply its ability to tap the power of aural sensation to make an indelible impression on the mind. This, I would argue, is much closer to the heart of music. In that sense, it rocks like few rock albums ever made.

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Send comments to rogerthat (BETA) | Report this review (#826145)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars As its title may suggest, The Doors' second LP (and second of 1967) is a stranger and odder beast than its already psychedelic predecessor. Sadly, it's also a less accomplished offering, with the batch of songs on offer primarily made up of left-over material from The Doors sessions. But call it a cash-in on the mega success of their debut album at peril, because Strange Days, despite a few hold-ups, remains a highly enjoyable and artistically successful record, even if it didn't take the band anywhere new or to further popularity.

The bluesy undercurrent that flows under virtually all The Doors cuts is watered down more so than on their previous effort, with psychedelica arriving as it's more prominent replacement. It doesn't feel forced at all, thankfully, and gives the album a rather neat and united vibe, at the expense of little less variation perhaps. Opening with the squirrely Manzarek organs of 'Strange Days', one gains a picture of what to expect ? a slightly eerie, psychedelic rock exploration of alienation and feeling a little, ahem, 'spaced out', shall we say (it doesn't require much research to learn of Morrison's dabbling in LSD ? it was the summer of love after all). The melodic floatiness of 'You're Lost Little Girl', the catchy and tormented 'People Are Strange' and the bizarre, poetic interlude of 'Horse Latitudes' further the creepy, psych vibe to an equally exciting level.

The album isn't all tripped out paranoia, as the jaunty pop delights of single 'Love Me Two Times' and the almost funk of 'Moonlight Drive' point out so refreshingly. The remainder of the tracks aren't all that weak either ? 'Unhappy Girl' features a jumpy, rising and falling melody; 'My Eyes Have Seen You' isn't particularly spectacular but is still far from skip-worthy, and 'I Can't See Your Face in My Mind' is a crawling, ghostly little ditty.

The only song that oversteps the mark more than a little (by about 6 minutes if you require an exact label) is closer, 'When the Music's Over'. While the track was a well suited live set piece of The Doors' energetic and theatrical performance, plonked on the end of this fine LP it becomes a drag towards the end and just doesn't have enough interesting qualities to justify an entire 1/3rd of the disc's length. But with that slight snag aside, Strange Days shapes up as a quality release by a band that were riding higher than most contemporary artists could hope to, not to mention the fact that they could put out something as unique and challenging as this piece can sometimes be, just months after their legendary debut - further testament to its worth if any were needed.

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Send comments to lukatherfan (BETA) | Report this review (#933607)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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