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The Doors The Soft Parade album cover
2.83 | 272 ratings | 25 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tell All The People (3:21)
2. Touch Me (3:12)
3. Shaman's Blues (4:48)
4. Do It (3:09)
5. Easy Ride (2:43)
6. Wild Child (2:36)
7. Runnin' Blue (2:27)
8. Wishful Sinful (2:58)
9. Soft Parade (8:36)

Total time 33:50

Bonus tracks on 2007 remaster/remix:
10. Who Scared You (3:58)
11. Whiskey, Mystics And Men (Version 1) (2:28)
12. Whiskey, Mystics And Men (Version 2) (3:04)
13. Push Push (6:05)
14. Touch Me (Dialogue) (0:28)
15. Touch Me (Take 3) (3:40)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Morrison / vocals, maracas, tambourine
- Ray Manzarek / Gibson G101 organ, piano, Hammond (4,6,9), RMI Electra (3,9), harpsichord (2,9)
- Robby Krieger / guitar, backing vocals (7)
- John Densmore / drums

- Paul Harris / orchestral arrangements (1,2,7,8,10)
- Curtis Amy / saxophone solo (2)
- Champ Webb / English horn solo (8)
- George Bohanon / trombone
- Jimmy Buchanan / fiddle (7)
- Jesse McReynolds / mandolin
- Harvey Brooks / bass (1-4,7-9)
- Douglas Lubahn / bass (5,6,8)
- Reinol Andino / congas

Releases information

Artwork: William S. Harvey with Joel Brodsky (photo)

LP Elektra - EKS-75005 (1969, US)

CD Elektra - 975 005-2 (1989, US) Remastered by Paul A. Rothchild and Bruce Botnick
CD Elektra - 62434-2D (1999, US) Remastered by Bernie Grundman and Bruce Botnick
CD Elektra - R2 101187 (2007, US) Remixed & remastered by Bruce Botnick with 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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THE DOORS The Soft Parade ratings distribution

(272 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

THE DOORS The Soft Parade reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Generally considered as the weakest studio album by THE DOORS, "The Soft Parade" is really unessential. Major change in production style and introduction of orchestral and brass arrangements did not help the album's success. Although it did contain two mega hits, "Touch Me" and "Wild Child", this album is largely dismissed even by die-hard Doors fans. However, there are two highlights: Morrison's lyrical obsession with shamanism paired with wonderful Krieger's slide guitar licks in "Shaman's Blues"; and prog-oriented lengthy multi-part jam "The Soft Parade" which is a must listen for prog fans. Those familiar with an obsure German-based American hippie band SWEET SMOKE (present on PA :-) will notice that a part of this title track was sampled on the first album "Just a Poke" of these India-inspired psychedelic jazz rockers. Now, from the Doors collector's point of view I would give this album only 2 stars, but since it contains a strong "proto-prog" reference, add another half and round it to ***.
Review by Guillermo
3 stars I don`t know who had the idea to include brass and orchestral arrangements in this album. Like YES`"Time and a Word" album, these arrangements tended to dominate the bands` sound. If these arrangements were mixed lower both albums should have been better.

This album has been criticized a lot since it was released. Considered by many as a "sell- out" commercial album, it still has good quality, it still has some good songs.

"Tell All the People" is a ballad full of brass arrangements which sounds very mellow and commercial, but still it`s good.

"Touch Me" is a very good ballad, sung very well by Morrison, with very good keyboards and drums. In the case of this song the orchestral arrangements and the sax solo worked very well. This is one of my favourite songs from this band. The band appeared on TV to "play" this song. Only Morrison`s vocals were actually sung live.

"Shaman`s Blues" is a good song . It has good riffs and good vocals by Morrison.

"Do It" doesn`t have extra musicians and it also sounds good, but is not one of their best songs.

"Easy Ride" is a Pop song without extra musicians, too. Not one of my favourites.

"Wild Child" is maybe the best song in this album, one of my favourites, also without extra musicians, with very good arrangements, particularly in the guitars.

"Runnin`Blue" is a country style song, with violin, plus some vocals by Krieger. It is maybe the worst song in this album.

"Wishful Sinful": a song without keyboards (!). It is a very good ballad, one of the best from this album. The orchestral arrangements in this song are very good.

"The Soft Parade": it has very good arrangements at the start of the song. Later, it has some Latin music influences.

In conclusion, as a whole the album is not as good as their 3 first albums. Some of the songs are not very good in comparison to their other albums.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is good, not bad at all!

I began with that phrase, because iīve notice is several sites and with people, that for them this album is the worst and weakest in their discography (Jim era), surely it is not their best, not even in their Top 3, but i personally think that this is not the worst, and even the worst is not such a bad album as people point out.

It is notable the change in the sound and even the produccion, but it doesnīt make it a bad record,for the first time we can found an orchestral sound. It is so difficult for a band, to continue with the succes of their best albums, thereīs always a high point when they can stay a year maybe a couple, but there are always highs and lows, despite, i repeat, this is not a badalbum at all, thisprobably marked a fall of the band, obviously this hadnīt the success as the previous releases, in fact there are no hits on here, besides "Touch me" which is a nice song, but not so memorable as other ones.

This time they put 9 songs in the album, being the album with less songs so far, but the time lenght is the averages. "The Soft Parade" released in 1969 (the same year as the first Crimson masterpiece was). It starts with "Tell all the People", since this song we can notice a remeakable change in their music, this is so soft and a bit poppier, the road of the album will be alike than this song, "Touch Me" was the main single of this album, it didnīt become a true hit in the charts, though it was recognized in several TV and Radio programs, a good song, again with a pop sound, but with the always good keys of Manzarek. Next to it, is probably the straight part of the album, the part that may people say that is bad and weak, "Shamanīs Blues", "Do It" and "Easy Ride" are 3 songs which dont offer anything new to the Doorsīlistener, the song or me arenīt bad, but the magical sound of the band is lost in this bunch. "Wild Child" is a short but encouraged song, probably besides Touch Me the better known of this album, nice Dooresque tunes. "Running Blue" returns again to the weak moments, this time you can hear a violin sound, but it doesnīt make it better. "Wishful Sinful" is another poppish song, a soft and calm passage, but probably one of the best songs here. The album closes with the title track, "The Soft Parade" which is for sure the best song here by far, the again decided to end an album with an epic, a long song, this time it offers us 9 minutes of great music, great arrangements, weird lyrics and an excellent performance of Jim, this song is very progressive, so any of you could enjoy it, it also contains their clasic psychedelic style.

Being this their 4th album, it was also their 4th best album, but sadly (a personal opinio) they made a worse one, my final grade for this, is 3 stars, because it is good, but non essential!

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Generally seen as their weakest album, TSP is effectively not their best, but I find no worse than the preceding WFTS and the following Morrison's Hotel. The one thing that is widely reproached to TSP is that it is loaded in strings and brass arrangements, but funnily enough the same critics was never heard for their cross-town rivals love and personally I find that on such a "masterpiece" as Forever Change, those very same arrangements are simply drowning out the music. Back to TSP though, which is graced by a superb inner fold that offsets a rather bland outer gatefold, this album is again very popish and if it was not for the closing title track, would sink below the waterline.

Of course you will find the usual commercial track (Touch me The few tracks that hold a bit of interest are the ones that are not overloaded with those string and brass arrangements such as the great (but a bit tame) Shaman's Blues, the much wilder Wild Child (the group unleashes its angers on this one) and the gut-wrenching The Soft Parade, where Morrison unleashes onto the establishment while the rest of the group is wailing away (after a very prog entrance) gliding, sliding on Jim's protesting lyrics: listen to Densmore's demented drumming, Manzarek's many KB works while Krieger's ever discreet guitar shines. One of the best and proggiest Doors track.

Certainly not essential, this album is best heard in a compilation with the album surrounding it as it is about the same strength as those two. But obviously after the deceiving WFTS (and its missed attempt at more challenging music being denied), The Doors were now obviously a bit lost and even drowned themselves in over-production. Only a few brilliant spots in a rather grey sky, but shinning like stars.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars The Doors performed on PBS in 1969 and played a great version of the then unreleased "Soft Parade" that made me anxiously await their new album. I was hoping for an improvement over the disappointing "Waiting for the Sun" but, after getting it home and on the turntable, I soon realized that something was definitely going sour in Doorsland. Starting with the forgettable "Tell All the People" in which Jim asks us to blindly "follow him down" it was apparent that his once-intriguing and thought-provoking lyrical prowess was being reduced to inane rhymes that meant nothing and silly song-ending statements like "Stronger than dirt" and "Do you remember when we were in Africa?" Being weird for weird's sake is not art. "Touch Me," however, did show the rest of the band was willing to take some chances and explore other musical ideas with horns and orchestration and the song works well on many levels. Jim's voice is confident and relaxed throughout the tune. But then we are subjected to a series of songs that are flat and uninspired to say the least. It isn't until "Wild Child" that we are treated to the kind of boldness the band excelled at. Morrison's voice is wonderfully sarcastic and snarling (at least until the unforgivable ending). "Wishful Sinful" is another interesting track that gave fans hope that they might yet pull out of their mediocre slump and start giving us new and innovative tunes again. But maybe they had already moved too far away from their roots by then and spending too much time dealing with their fame. In this song Jim sings "I know where I would like to be, right back where I came" and we can hear sincere longing in his voice. Unfortunately, the title track doesn't deliver in the same striking way that their aforementioned TV performance did for me. Yet it is still better than the majority of the rest of the album and may be one of their most progressive compositions ever (It keeps this album from falling to 2 stars). But by now it was becoming apparent to us "Doornuts" that the once-cocky and charismatic leader of the band was starting to succumb to his many demons when he asks "Can you find me soft asylum? I can't make it anymore." We were starting to believe him.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "When I was back there in the seminary school ..."

This evening, after so long time, I've taken my The Soft Parade cd from the shelf and I started to listen.

Little by little memory came to comfort me. This is when Jim's voice comes deeper and warm. This is where The Doors start the second half of their career. All in all I always looked at it as the most "eclectic" of their records, the unconventional one. It shows a more popish tendency. Ok, but it also demonstrates the band's big effort to get over the ususal psychedelic formula that appeared a little bit weak in Waiting for the Sun despite still some excellent tunes as Spanish Caravan, Not to Touch the Earth and The Unknown Soldier.

On the other side The Soft Parade is more pompous and sweet, less acid and self- referential. It also offers some of the most adventurous tracks as "The Soft Parade" itself and "The Shaman's Blues". The first one in particular is a true gem starting with recitative and spoken poem, then glides into a quasi-baroque interlude with hapsichord sound and then, unespectedly, into a quasi-jazzy central theme that, again, changes to become a strong bluesy atmosphere where Jim Morrison can really say "everything must be this way..."! Their most eclectic tune for sure!

It's not possible to forget tribal and strong "Wild Child" along with the fantastic country- sounding "Running Blue" and it's memorable..."poor Otis (Redding of course) dead and gone left me here to sing his song...". What a pleasure of song! Brass section is so elegant and I prefer this one rather than the first two big-sellers "Tell All the People" and "Touch Me".

The "symphonic" "Wishful Sinful" closes the parade here. What a longing and catching song! The deep vocals of Jim are the icing on the cake!

Yes, their most eclectic album. Did they really petition the Lord with prayer?

3.5 stars

Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars I must confess I bought this album years ago purely because of the song "Touch Me" a song that pushes all the right buttons for me. Released in 1969 this was a record where THE DOORS decided to change things up a bit adding brass and string arrangments to their sound.

Things get started with "Tell All The People" and talk about brass galore, as in too much brass. The piano, vocals and drums are good though. "Touch Me" is a song that has an amazing contrast between the uptempo beat of the verses and the smooth and creamy chorus. Great song ! "Shaman's Blues" features some reserved organ and guitar play that I really like. The song ends with some good sax.

"Do It" and "Easy Ride" are mediocre songs at best. "Wild Child" opens with guitar and is really a bluesy sounding tune with some good guitar and drums. "Runnin' Blue" has a country sounding chorus with Robbie Krieger singing. There is some brass and the organ and sax are good. "Wishful Sinful" is a good song with strings and brass. "The Soft Parade" has a brutal intro but the percussion is great in this the longest song on the record.

I can only recommend this to die hard fans of THE DOORS as there just isn't enough here for prog fans to enjoy.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The Doors has released a strong third album. Not as psychedelic as their fist ones but with lots of greats songs. The "soft Parade" will be rather different "thanks" to the addition of lots of guest musicians (trombone, sax and horn).

I do not know who decided to place "Tell All the People" as the opening track. It must be a joke ! I have a developped sense of humour, but frankly this song is really miserable.

One of the very few great song is obviously "Touch Me". Even it is not too invading during the first part, I wonder why such background orchestration was needed. The four of them would have been more than enough to preform this brilliant song. These arrangements are really useless and almost ruin this very good melody. The "finale" especially is rather wasted. What a pity !

"Shaman's Blues" is more a classic Doors song. Hypnotic rhythm and nice background guitar work from Krieger. A definite blues number, but one of the best song from this album (there won't be a lot, unfortunately). "Do It" is another one : a good rock number. Not a classic, but in this ocean of weak songs, it almost stands out as a great track.

"Easy Ride", although not flooded with the awful "orchestration" is rather weak. A country and western song. This is not at all my preferred music genre. Whether The Doors play it or not : it doesn't matter. Absolutely useless.

My fave so far is inevitably "Wild Child". Why inevitably ? It sounds more as a classic Doors song. Good slide guitar work, hypnotic keyboard riff, solid drumming and a great Morrison (not too tortured). Unfortunately, it is too short. This isolated good moment is followed by the crappiest song you can imagine : "Runnin' Blue". Absolutely awful. Country at times, jazzy for most of it, it really stinks. At this point of time, I wonder if this album was not a complete joke.

The "joke" goes on with "Wishful Sinful". Violin and horn are dominating. It is really hard to believe that the same band produced tracks like "The End", "Break on Through" or "Light My Fire" only two years before. Disgusting.

The intro of "The Soft Parade" will be a part of their live apperances ("You Cannot Petition The Lord With Prayer"). The whole song as such being almost forgotten from their concerts (although I do have one unofficial version it on an album called "Essential Rarities" which sounds a lot better). The part which Jim introduces as "this is the best part of the trip. I really like it" is effectively the best part of this track. This song is really a weird and complex one. "One Night In Paris" (10 CC) is maybe a good comparison for its grotesque side.

Like many Doors fan, I really do not like this album. They must have been either completely out of inspiration, fully loaded, or in a damned hurry to fulfil their contractual obligations to produce such a poor album. Probably all of this together. This album is a complete mess. Do not buy it. Never listen to it. Those are my best advices. Two stars for the four good tracks I have mentioned.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Time has come to review The Doors' fourth album, and, just like with the first two, I will do it based on the 2007 remastered version published by Rhino Records. (I couldn't do the same with WAITING FOR THE SUN as I had already written a review for it months ago, before getting the new editions.)

As with every band that has walked this earth, The Doors were capable of both delivering outstanding, amazing music but also of recording uninspired, weak, BAD songs. After a fantastic debut, an outstanding masterpiece of a second album, and a very good third one, maybe it was too much to ask from such a problematic band to give us another record of the same quality. We have to keep in mind that, at this point in the band's career, the actual recording process was already quite an ordeal to live through, with Morrison always in need of multiple takes and, worst of all, multiple days due to his stormy lifestyle. Not only that but the group as a whole had lost the inspiration and the innate will to create songs that helped them come with such great tunes as those found in the first albums. Whereas in THE DOORS or STRANGE DAYS Morrison, Krieger and Manzarek already had a lot of melodies (even whole songs) in their heads to work with, in THE SOFT PARADE, with tours (the disastrous Miami tour one of them), photo-sessions and publicity obligations, the time to write new material had been reduced to almost zero, the band being forced to do what many other bands do regularly: compose the tracks in the studio. While this may be normal for others, for The Doors, and specially for Morrison, was not what music was meant up to be, and thus the commitment for making as good an album as possible was nowhere to be found. And it shows, as, for the first and only time, we have individual credits for the songs, with Morrison and Krieger sharing about half of the tracks each.

The music is, overall, awful. The psychedelia, the acid-suggestions, the dark, colorful passages of earlier albums was left aside in favor of cheesy strings and brass. I don't dislike the use of such instruments per se, but it depends on how effective the results are, and in this case the results are, well, quite poor. Even Morrison seems to have lost any desire to write good (or, better said, interesting, as one never knows if his lyrics are really good or really bad) lyrics. And we have a couple of tracks that border on the atrocious, something unthinkable of in the first albums.

The 2007 remixes are, as always, fantastic in the sharpness of the sound. Never before has Morrison sounded so in-your-ear, you can practically hear his breathing, smell his alcohol-poisoned breath. There are a lot of passages where I discovered new guitar chords or keyboard figures that I had never heard before. The re-mix is a success, and I may say that, up to this point (I've still have to listen to MORRISON HOTEL and LA WOMAN), this is the best of the new editions in terms of clarity. The extra tracks are "Who Scared You" (an incredibly boring bluesy song), 2 versions of "Whiskey, Mystics and Wine" (more of a curiosity than good songs) , the previously unreleased "Push Push" (which should've remained unreleased, as it's utterly ridiculous and out of touch even with THIS album, the main music sounds like a version of "Guantanamera" mixed with Mexican-like screams a la Ranchera and nothing else, this is too bad, even for THIS album. I'm ready to give this the award for worst bonus-track ever, and that's saying something. ), and Take 3 of "Touch Me".

Tell all the People (3/10) And so the journey begins, with brass instruments and Morrison and Co. sounding almost like The Carpenters, but without the cuteness and the melody. This is not even a sell-out, as I don't know what commercial super-success could they achieve with such a catastrophic song, and usually, when bands sell-out, at least they manage to ACTUALLY SELL. Awful.

Touch Me (7.5/10) Again, brasses and strings, but at least this song has energy, is catchy, is somewhat interesting. It may be that any song sounds like Genesis' "Firth of Fifth" after hearing "tell all the People", but, honestly, this is enjoyable. Nothing really fantastic but at least enjoyable. Near the end the continuous crescendo actually manages to make this a good song.

Shaman's Blues (6.5/10) A jazzy 6/8 rhythm announces good music at last. It starts well enough, but then it loses interest, Morrison really sounds like he didn't have any pleasure while recording it. What sounded like a good song waiting to happen gets lost in poor singing and repetitive music. It's TOO long (even for The Doors' standards) Not awful, but not really good. Just a hair above average.

Do It (0/10) Finally, The Doors have managed to outdo themselves with probably the worst song they ever recorded (at least in albums, as we don't know what creatures may be lurking in the un-released caverns). This pales even in comparison with "Tell all the People". One of the worst songs I've ever heard, it hurts me when I think is by the same band that gave me "Strange Days" or "When The Music's over". I don't know but this track is made even worse by Morrison's awful repetitive meaningless lyrics. Atrocious.

Easy Ride (2/10) The last song was so bad that everything sounds well in comparison. But this track is so weak that it barely does that. The rhythm is so ridiculous, I don't know what did they pretend with this. Krieger ultimately ruins this beyond belief with his cheesy high, country-bluegrass-whatever-like notes here and there. Morrison's wrong here: hearing this album is NOT an Easy ride.

Wild Child (6/10) At least the weird march-like rhythm sounds more like The Doors, as does the guitar riff, which reeks of alcohol and cigarette-smell in a dirty bar. The song is too long for its own sake (and it only lasts 2:38!), but, incredibly enough, comes as a relief after the two preceding tracks. Is mediocre, but mediocre in THE SOFT PARADE is really a compliment. Near the end it sounds like a poor-man's version of "Five To One".

Runnin' Blue (4/10) Krieger is at it again, which means we're back in the land of brass and cheese. The main verse is not so bad but then we have a section of someone (I don't know if it's Morrison, I think it's actually Krieger) singing in joking, deep-country style (with violins and everything). That manages to make the song an awful experience.

Wishful Sinful (5/10) Krieger shouldn't be left alone ever again. At least this one is not so bad, but it's another "soft-rock" number of those which we never knew The Doors were capable of. And after hearing this album, we know they WEREN'T, as none of this songs managed to be hits. If you want to record cheesy, mellow tracks, leave it to those that know how to do it.

The Soft Parade (8/10) In this re-mix, we have a couple more lines of Morrison's reciting something even before the "When I was back there in seminary school" line. We had to wait for the last track in the album to get something resembling a good song. Actually, analyzed as a rock song, is not that good, as is more of a pastiche of un-related parts than a smoothly-going song. But Morrison sounds like he CARES, and the music itself is decent, and at times even good. After the first acoustic section (with good melody) we have a psychedelic, almost disco-like section followed by a more peaceful, flowery, cute-and-happy part which finally gives way to the final section, the longest, most rhythmically-interesting and more Doors-like of the lot. It overstays it's welcome by a minute or more, but it accomplishes the impossible: it makes you end your THE SOFT PARADE experience with something else than a headache.

My final words: an awful album, not even good. It barely skips the 1-star rating because of two things: one, the last track; two, the fact that collectors and fans should have this disaster in their The Doors' collection, if only to be able to prove that they are actually true fans (not that that matters musically, of course. The album is still a debacle).

Recommended for: The rating says it all: "Collectors, fans only" .

Not recommended for: Whoever doesn't fit in the recommendation above.

.unless you are doing a research about the effects of lack of inspiration and motivation in music. Then, it doesn't get much better than this.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album is in my opinion a terrible letdown after the three masterpieces by the band! I can't blame the orchestrations, as I like some well orchestrated stuff, but simply the power and emotions which are present in the early albums of this band have died out here. Though the band had used elements of different popular music style and created innovative tunes with that method, the starter hit songs like "Touch Me" and "Tell All The People" sound weak and directed to elderly couples sitting in the champagne café. Also the other tracks like "Wild Child" and "Shaman Blues" lack something, which would had made this album a pleasant listeining experience to me. The albums done after this are little better, but not near the first three studio gems of this band. I'll stick to them, and leave the rest for other to enjoy!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The soft option

By the time of their fourth album, released in 1969, Jim Morrison's erratic behaviour was beginning to seriously affect his role in the band. This is reflected not only in his limited song-writing contribution, but in the overall quality of the product.

The brass and orchestral arrangements which appear throughout "The soft parade" could, if one was being cynical, be there to disguise the shortcomings of the material. It is not that this is a bad album though. The opening Robbie Kreiger songs "Tell all the people" and "Touch me" have strong melodies and decent performances. They are however much more in the mould of Blood Sweat and Tears than the Doors previous albums, with a strong pop/jazz rock feel.

There are a couple of reasons why this album is relevant to the proto-prog connotation the band have acquired here. "Shaman's blues" is more typical of the band's previous albums, with some fine guitar backing a more characteristic vocal performance by Morrison. The closing 8+ minute title track may not have the appeal of "When the music's over" or "The end", but it is nevertheless the feature track. Morrison's opening spoken declaration sounds like Meat Loaf has taken a step back in time, the mock anger inadvertently raising a smirk. The track then works is way through a succession of themes, a bit like Buffalo Springfield's "Broken arrow", Morrison unusually multi-tracking his vocals. There's a generally loose feel to the song, which to be honest sounds like it is long only for the sake of being long.

Elsewhere, we have orthodox pop based songs with West Coast lyrics and atmospheres, things reaching a low point on "Easy Ride" with its jaunty, country pie feel. The bluesy "Wild child", a sort of roughed up and dirty "Riders on the storm", laid the foundations for any number of similar songs which followed. On "Runnin' blue", we find a rare vocal by Krieger, but since this coincides with a return to the unfortunate country sounds, the less said the better.

It is easy to be hard on "The soft parade"; when it is assessed in the context of The Doors early albums, it struggles to stand alongside them. We must remember though that The Doors were a unique and remarkable band. Taken is isolation, this is a decent if unremarkable album, which had it been the first release by a new band in 1969, would now be recognised as something of a lost gem.

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars Here is an album by Jim Morrison and The Doors that really seems to divide the fans - the inclusion of Brass arrangements is a one-off with the band and perhaps a failed experiment in many's eyes. Some of the song-writing isn't the highest of quality, but there's surely some essential pieces on this, thankfully short-ish offering. Again, it's Manzarek's keyboards that (almost) never fails to impress me - 'Shaman's Blues' is a song I've enjoyed from the first time I heard it in 1987, the melody and the organ playing. 'Wild Child' is a brief bit of biting acid-rock, and a kick-butt track at that, Krieger's guitaring is really in-your-face and the organ sound is 'big'. Jim sings really passionately on this one. Finally, the title composition 'The Soft Parade' (8.40) is more like a medley of ideas locking together to form quite the 'epic' - some of the parts themselves are innovative and fresh sounding ; we have poetry, some beautiful Harpsichord, a way-ahead-of-schedule disco sounding section which actually is quite amazing (given that it was 1969), a bouncy, twee section with some light melodies and inspired poetry, and the heavy end section with occasional twists. The award for most annoying tune goes for 'Do It', and I don't really go for country music - 'Easy Ride' and 'Runnin Blue'. The remaining 3 songs fall in the middle - neat little songs with catchy hooks and a commercial flavour, with their 'feet' placed firmly in the realms of 'Pop', top song here being the hit 'Touch Me'. 3 stars.
Review by The Whistler
3 stars (Can you find me 3.5?)

So Jimbo woke up out of his drug induced stupor one fine day (perhaps, perhaps not), and said to himself, "Wait a second man, the Doors aren't some sissy pop band! We're, uh..."

And then Robbie Krieger whispered, "A symphonic pop band!"

And Jim said, "A symphonic rock band!"

"Close enough." True story.

Well, history books aside, this is perhaps the most hated product of the Doors' fine catalogue. And that's just not right. There's plenty of stuff to laud about this record. Of course, like any underrated product, there's also a reason to loath. It is not, however, that there are horns and such; a lot of people defend The Doors while hatin' the Strange Days because "the sound is fuller" on the debut. Well, the sound's full here too! No, the problem lies with material. See, for every dark classic that Jim wrote, Robbie wrote two "nu-Doors pop" songs. Let's tread the results.

"Tell All the People" is probably the worst Doors opener ever. The melody isn't offensive, but it is stupid, and far too simple for Jim (although he does give it his best go vocally). Not to mention happy. Yuck! The hit "Touch Me" IS somewhat better though. The tune is more interesting, and the orchestra actually tries to contribute to the dark menace in the coda. Just ignore the goofy sax solo and focus on the build.

"Shaman Blues" ushers in Jim's numbers (devoid of orchestration, no less). Anyway, it's not really blues, sorry. It's a waltz of all things. It's solid lyrically, the drumming is interesting, the keyboards are interesting, and the guitar is practically gorgeous. No complaints.

Well, the last two numbers seem like we're on an upswing, but don't worry. "Do It" is certainly the worst thing here. The melody is beyond stupid, and the lyrics are mindless. Jim is practically singing them for laughs; bet he knew how dumb they were. "Easy Ride" is not much better; I can't remember a thing about it, other than it sounds largely like the stupid pop songs off the debut (hey, lovers of the debut, again this is YOUR album!).

"Wild Child," Jim's second effort, I'm just a bit iffy about it. It's catchy, the jungle boogie riff is cool, and I dig the martial drumming, so why am I complaining? Dunno. Don't skip it though, and stick around for the ending too. Great stuff.

Now, I realize that every other intelligent reviewer HATES "Runnin' Blue," but I kinda like it. I mean, it's not a classic or anything, but at least Robbie is trying to achieve an air of menace, and he almost pulls it off. The dark, heavier Jim sung parts (nicely augmented by orchestra) are contrasted by the goofy bluegrass Robbie sung parts. It is kinda annoying, but it's also kinda catchy. Finally from Robbie, the ballad "Wishful Sinning" is pleasant, pretty even...but something about it rubs me wrong, and it ends up passing me by most of the time. Maybe the orchestration? The lyrics? Who can say.

Ah, but then Jimbo strikes one final time, and gods, it's good. I almost feel like giving the album a solid four just for this number. It's probably the band's most artistically mature epic ever. We open with "Petition the Lord With Prayer," some poetry shouted by Jim (catches me off guard every time), and then we cut to the ballad-ish "Can You Give Me Sanctuary," which actually is one of the prettiest things the band ever recorded, and there's something really resonant about Jim pleading "Can you find me soft asylum? I can't make it anymore."

This bleeds into the brilliant bouncy-then-dainty hippie send up "Peppermints, Miniskirts," which is so darkly humorous it makes me laugh whenever I hear it ("Carrying babies to the river?" You're sick Jim). But, with a cry of, "This is the best part of the trip," Jimbo takes on his old carnival showman guise again, and the meat of the track starts. This is the grim march, "The Soft Parade" itself. The build is just about flawless (keyboard, guitar, whatever is making that tuba noise...oh, drums. Dig those drums, they're great), and the lyrics match it note for note, until you hear a dozen Jims, each screaming some snatch of lyric, and then it all falls away (with just a spot of horse poetry). Fantastic.

Not only that, but it's a "being a musician sucks" song! And I ADORE it! Do you know how rare that is? It's probably the best of its kind; I love the lyrical imagery (favorite spots include Jim moaning "We need someone or something new, something else to get us through," the cry of the whiney fan; oh, and, Jim shouting ala a producer, "WE'RE DOING GREAT!"). Yeah, the lyrics have meaning. The Doors are always in it for the art.

What disgusts me most is some reviewer I read on this very site who said that the Doors were treading the same ole ground while King Crimson was inventing a new genre; well, first and foremost, of course Inna Court is a stronger album than this. I'm not stupid. But it's not like the Doors stopped experimenting. In fact, if anything, this album shows that they were always ready to continue experimentation; the title track alone is proof of that, and stuff like "Shaman's Blues" paved the way for the wet and swampy, but still dark and mystical, art blues of "Maggie M'Gill."

The darkness is back, you just have to find it. Mostly in Jim's numbers, but Robbie does try from time to time. The orchestration CAN be dorky, but it can also be complimentary (besides, the titular tune is ample proof that the band can sound symphonic WITHOUT the orchestra). "The Soft Parade" though is where the Doors have been hiding since Strange Days, and it's one of my favorite spots in their catalogue (oh, and, the cover is the best they did after Days as well. Creepy man, what are they looking at?). Is the album, overall, not as strong as the earlier stuff? Yes. However, is it bad? No. Not at all. Any Doors fan should own this, and anyone who doesn't believe me...well, screw you. Yeah.

(Huzzah! Good Doors bonuses. Well, first off, the album has been revised expanded within and throughout (love the pretty poetic/mellotronic intro "Soft Parade" gets), but there's good bonus tracks too. How good? Well, even if I didn't quite have the heart to give the album four stars, this guarantees it, AND shows what the album could have been. "Who Scared You" is a nice, dark blues tune built out of a cool riff. And, it shows that the orchestra could work with the band to produce a sufficiently moody song. "Whiskey, Mystics and Men," holy crap, where'd THAT come from? Really cool song, pure American folk, with mandolins and crap, but still mantra and mystical ala Jimbo. Dig the pirate voices in the background. But if the first version isn't good enough for you, the second is the best of the bonuses; the actual band playing the song. A little thinner lyrically, but there's a much appreciated guitar solo, and that pause before the accordion starts up again? Creepy man. The only misstep is "Push It," a fun, but still too lengthy and lethargic, Mexican folk workout. No vocals, by the way. But the final bonus is great, a "Touch Me" outtake. There's still an orchestra, but listen to the coda again. Densmore plays EVERYTHING he can to build tension, even speeding up the tempo. He's awesome. Hell, I don't even mind the "I bumped the snare mike" intro; it's goofy! And it's good. Four stars for the remaster.)

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Soft Parade is the fourth studio album from American psych rock legends The Doors. The Soft Parade is the most controversial album The Doors ever made while Jim Morrison was alive. Many fans have an aversion against it because of the added brass arrangements on two songs and a string section on another. I represent the other camp who find the album to be highly enjoyable and not at all a let down. In fact I think The Doors really challenged their audience with The Soft Parade which is something bands today could learn from ( if the record companies were able to value artistic ideas and not only focus on making money. Itīs of course utopia, but I like the thought anyway).

The general style on The Soft Parade really isnīt much different from The Doors earlier efforts and itīs more in the lighter mood that we find the changes. The criticism that many reviewers have stated about the brass and string sections on the album is a bit exaggerated if you ask me. The album does start with two songs with brass arrangements but thatīs it. You wonīt find anymore brass on the album after listening to Tell All the People and Touch Me which by the way are both excellent songs IMO. The next four songs Shaman's Blues, Do It, Easy Ride and Wild Child are all in the more ordinary Doors tradition with strong blues rock influences as well as the omnipresent carnival organ lines from Ray Manzarek. Runninī Blue is a bit different as it incorporates some country like violin from Jim Buchanan into the Doors sound. A great humourous song. Wishful Sinful is soaked in strings and while some might find it way too cheesy I really enjoy this song and find it beautiful. The real gem here is the title track which closes the album. The first baroque like hapsichord part with the sombre vocals from Jim Morrison is one of the finest moments in The Doors career. It moves me. Then into a great funky section, a short happy section and then the ending jam with those great rythms. I love this great progressive song.

The musicianship is excellent. Iīve always found great inspiration in Robby Kriegerīs guitar playing which is very different from conventional guitar playing most of the time. The lighter mood is something that could have felt wrong for Jim Morrison but it seems that heīs enjoying himself here. The jazzy drumming from John Densmore is as intriguing as ever while Ray Manzarek is not as much in the forefront as usual. His organ playing is of course of high class as usual though.

The production is pretty different from any other release from the band as itīs by far the most polished sound they ever had. Iīm not sure this sound would fit songs from any other Doors album but it fits the songs on The Soft Parade just fine.

The Soft Parade is not my favorite Doors album, but that doesnīt mean that itīs not excellent in itīs own respect. I really think itīs a great album and a chance to hear something different from the band. It fully deserves 4 stars IMO.

Review by Bonnek
2 stars After the disappointing Waiting For The Sun, The Doors tried to find new sources of inspiration. The result just makes me scratch my head, where was there mind? I appreciate the intention to breach expectations but the weak song material and the choice 50's pop evergreen stylings makes this easily into the weakest Doors album.

Right from the start, the irritating brass arrangements of Tell All The People exceeds the worst expectations I had about this album. Even a good song like Touch Me is damaged by the same dated orchestration. Shaman's Blues and Wild Child are adequate blues tunes and the only songs that rise above averge. The tracks in between, Do It and Easy Ride are faceless pop tunes. Runnin' Blue is filler and Wishful Sinful is a decent tune that is brought down again by the kitschy string section. The title track has a some decent moments but lacks coherence and truly convincing melodies.

Generally this album misses the power, emotion and inspiration of the best Doors albums. Luckily the band realized this as well and would continue their career with 2 raw and powerful albums that didn't need any of the frills and flourishes that were added here to cover up the weakness of the song material. 1.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
2 stars An album split starkly between songs composed by Morrison and those by Krieger - reflecting internal tensions within the band - The Soft Parade's sound is horribly compromised by the inclusion of horn and string sections. Whilst that might have been a good opportunity to broaden and diversify and experiment with the band's sound, the chance is wasted; instead, the horns and strings are utilised a cheesy, derivative manner which seems calculated to make the Doors less threatening and give them more commercial appeal. This is a poor decision, given that it's precisely the threatening, brooding tone of the band which is central to their sound!

That said, the songwriting on offer doesn't help either; the band are going through the motions by this point and the album offers little that was not delivered to a far higher standard on their first three albums. A serious disappointment all round.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
2 stars Orchestra anyone??

What the heck happened to The Doors on this album? Whose idea was it to include orchestrated music, and where was the dark rebellious edge that made them so endearing? Well to be fair it was really housed in one song from this album that is a treasure. Of course I am talking about 'Shaman's Blues'. You perhaps have never even heard of it but this is an amazing track, with a cool blues groove that sounds relevant and hypnotic.

Most of the other songs here are soft rock and none really stand out. I must admit I am a fan of 'Touch Me' that I think grew on me over time after seeing the movie "The Doors". Morrison does sound rather peaceful here but I missed his anger and anti-authoritarian attitude that was heard on the debut and "Strange Days".

Jim Morrison was experiencing extreme depression and alcoholism, but he was intrigued more with poetry than music so Robby Krieger has a major influence on the album. Half of the compositions are attributed to him and he even shares vocals on 'Runnin' Blue'. To be honest it is a hodge podge album with very little to offer.

Review by ExittheLemming
2 stars ....When It's A Jar of Whiskey

Perhaps the most bipolar of all the Doors albums, given that Krieger's decent but undistinguished songs shuffle nervously beneath a dark awning cast by Morrison's iconic but now bloated silhouette. As to what competing influences brought about this discernible tension between the band and their anxious employers Elektra is of course the source of endless debate and lucrative careers for those cat flap pussies a.k.a. Exit Doors scholars. I've always suspected that Jimbo had become such a basket case hereabouts that his colleagues had to fashion material by themselves from scratch and coax their sodden meal ticket into actually singing for (their) supper. Robbie's tunes are buried beneath a thick layer of cloying horns and strings that conspire to smother the life out of what dying embers were left from a burnt out stump of an association. We can't blame a thwarted poet for lyrics he had no hand in shaping:

I'm gonna love you, till the heavens stop the rain I'm gonna love you, till the stars fall from the sky for you and I

The foregoing would be trite, hackneyed drivel even from the Osmonds so why couldn't the Lizard King have banished same to exile with one swish of his celebrated mighty tail? The inference should be transparent: maybe by this stage he really couldn't give a whistling squidgy one. I'm sure that with just a modicum of self respect, Jim Morrison would have consigned some of the chaff that sullies both the Soft Parade and Waiting for the Sun to where it belongs i.e. on a ruinously expensive out-takes compilation that only the aforementioned 'cat flap pussies' are gauche enough to buy. On the other hand, anecdotal accounts would support the view that Morrison abhorred the direction taken by the Doors on Soft Parade to the extent that individual writing credits were considered expedient if only to distance himself from culpability for the likes of this from Krieger's Tell All the People:

Come out and take me by my hand, gonna bury all our troubles in the sand, oh yeah Can't you see me growing, get your guns, the time has come, to follow me down

The call to arms re 'get your guns' seems particularly crass but perhaps the author had 'Annie' in mind. You are also advised that the harmonic progression used for this number would be exploited to brilliant and memorable effect on All Around the World by Oasis some 30 years later. John Updike was right: we contain chords others must strike (but don't expect any royalties)

It's also disappointing to report that the strongest musical ideas throughout this record are mostly sacrificed to those tracks where an arranger with delusions of becoming Acid Rock's Jimmy Webb wasn't punched into paralysis beforehand. However, amidst the twitching pile of lurid roadkill there survives some moments of genuine class and distinction. Curtis Amy's sax solo towards the end of the otherwise toe curlingly awful Touch Me is quite brilliant (why is it that some of the most sane, intelligent and perceptive people I know cite this song as their favorite Doors tune?) Would someone like those Scandinavian teenybop cuties 'Aha' attract the sort of scrutiny and lavishly illustrated box sets afforded to this MOR flotsam? Ray's keyboards even plagiarize the Four Seasons C'mon Maryann for pity's sake. (I'm at a loss) Morrison is reputed to have altered the original lyric from C'mon hit me babe, I am not afraid to C'mon touch me babe on the pretext that the former would make him vulnerable to physical assault at live shows. What's rather ironic is that he was so anesthetized from booze at this point, it's unlikely he would have felt a thing.

Wishful Sinful is simply beautiful from start to finish despite a rather ragged (read sh*t-faced) vocal from Jim that still cannot impinge on either the sumptuously haunting arrangement (for once) or the resilient elegance of the melody. Wild Child has a bit of welcome grunt about it but on closer inspection just comes across as either a really bad Kinks song or a proto metal dirge where the melody has no career aspirations above replicating the riff verbatim. Similarly, the energy and raw primacy of Shamen's Blues threatens to deliver a cathartic bounty but is never gonna survive this impenetrable candy coating:

You'll be dead and in hell, Before I'm born Sure thing, Brides maid, The only solution, Isn't it amazing?


I know I've used this before but 'pastiche' remains forever an anagram of it's cheap and there is no armistice for the likes of Runnin' Blue or Easy Ride. Prosecution rests. Take them down. Don't Do It Jim please, (Miami would have thanked you for keeping yer pants on)

The title track is often trumpeted as a portal for the sorts of expanded consciousness and kaleidoscopic imagery we are asked to believe practically defines the hallucinogenic imprint of the 60's on popular culture. Bollocks. By way of mitigation, it does start brilliantly with Mr Mojo Risin's uncanny appropriation of a southern preacher with the incriminating whiskey breath of fiery sedition in his belly:

When I was back there in seminary school, There was a person there who put forth the proposition, that you can petition the Lord with prayer, petition the Lord with prayer....You cannot petition the lord with prayer! (in short, no-one here gets out alive)

This is followed by a disarmingly angular and claustrophobic melody underpinned by Manzarak's penitent harpsichord that should have presaged a creation the Doors are celebrated for but seldom delivered: credible progressive intent albeit unwitting proto. Instead we often have to settle for undernourished experimental rock debris or the product of a broken Psyche forever stymied by a cold, distant and bullying authoritarian father?.

Can you give me sanctuary? I must find a place to hide A place for me to hide Can you find me soft asylum? I can't make it anymore The Man is at the door

There is more substance and rigour in these candid lines than the swathes of esoteric blather Morrison habitually used to plaster over the cracks in his own crumbling facade. During a headfirst dive towards a prematurely shallow end, we are witness to a bloodied and bruised muse that abandoned her host long before any coroner's report annulled the relationship. The autobiographical and historical elements combine here in a passage that intimates the singer's own private despair and references the final madness and hospitalization of his hero Nietzsche. I think the final lines re the horses eye's may also have been inspired by an incident in a Turin street that precipitated the philosopher's collapse.

The title track promises much but ultimately fails to save the day, despite some arresting changes of mood, texture and tempo during its ambitious eight and half minute duration. There is however, one truly spell binding moment remaining within re the refrain:

The Soft Parade has now begun, listen to the engines hum People out to have some fun, a cobra on my left, leopard on my right, yeah

Unfortunately what fun ensues rests upon a lumpen and lazy bass pivot over which Morrison very quickly runs out of ideas and resorts to regurgitating badly digested philosophical soundbites with volume in direct inverse relationship to coherence. There are other instances in the Door's output where he falls into this same trap e.g. Moonlight Drive, Five to One, My Wild Love, My Eyes Have Seen You

There is of course a danger that we end up appraising the Doors using criteria that is only applicable to the legion of artists that followed in their hugely influential wake. For all their prescience and innovation, the Doors were NEVER a Progressive Rock band and although Krieger, Densmore and Manzarak subsequently returned a timid nod in Prog's direction, Morrison would have been horrified at the idea and I'm now convinced he (covertly) despised the entire counter-culture as embodying Nietzsche's nemesis: the ressentiment of slave morality.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Much of this deeply flawed document flirts with a knowing self parody of psychedelic conceits, a disposable zeitgeist that artists of this calibre should not have wasted an ounce of creativity disseminating. The greatest art is timeless, the Soft Parade is what happens when you allow antique collectors to become speech writers for iconoclasts.

Review by Progfan97402
3 stars The Soft Parade is by far the least liked of the Morrison-era albums. It's because they took on a more blatantly commercial pop-oriented direction, and a grander production by including horns and strings. Is the album really that bad? This time around the album does state who actually wrote each song, where on previous albums it stated it was written and arranged by all four members, unless the song was a cover (like "Back Door Man"). Let's look at the opening cut, "Tell All the People". My jaw was in total disbelief on the song and the nature of it. What is this? Vegas lounge pop music? Were The Doors trying to be in the same league with Frank Sinatra? Jim Morrison croons this song like a Vegas singer, complete with cheesy horns straight out of Vegas. Looking at the songwriting credits, you notice it was Robbie Krieger. You know Jim Morrison would never write lyrics that seem straight out of Vegas. Next song, "Touch Me" was already released as a single at the end of 1968, and easily the most recognized song on the album. Again a bit on the Vegas side, but I'm used to this song having heard it on the radio plenty of times throughout my lifetime. Horns, strings, cheesy sax solo, at least Ray Manzerek gives his trademark organ playing to let everyone know this is the Doors. I bet you at the end of 1968 many Doors fans must have been horrified hearing "Touch Me", wondering if their next album will be like that. Once again Krieger was responsible for this. Luckily, for the rest of the album the rest of the songs Krieger are credited to aren't as so lounge-y, and the Morrison penned ones are more close to traditional Doors songs. Things really improve greatly with "Shaman's Blues", a great song with some nice harpsichord playing, more in tune with the older Doors sound, and it's a Morrison penned song. "Do It" is credited to both Morrison and Krieger, not nearly as good, due to the embarrassing lyrics, but not bad. "Easy Ride" and "Wild Child" are bit more bluesy, while "Wishful Sinful" has a bit of that lounge again, but not full-on "Tell All the People" territory. The title track is without a doubt the album's highlight. If there's a reason for the Doors being included here, this is the reason. It's more like a multimovement suite than a standard song, as it goes through several changes. Note how a bunch of Jewish guys from Brooklyn naming themselves Sweet Smoke and relocating to Germany had did a partial cover of this song off their 1970 debut album Just a Poke. This song is still not full-on prog, but proto-prog it is. Well, I have to say, this album isn't as bad as its frequently made out to be, to me "Tell All the People" is easily the worst thing on the album (my jaw dropped in that similar fashion I did seeing obviously rubber frog costumes seeing the 1987 movie Hell Comes to Frogtown starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, if MST3K could spoof music, "Tell All the People" would be a great one to spoof, if that was possible). The album does have its flaws, but still has enough worthy material to make it worthwhile, if you get beyond "Tell All the People" and perhaps "Touch Me".

Latest members reviews

2 stars "Touch Me" was getting a lot of airplay at the time and it was catchy. It was also the first time the Doors used horns on any song. I didn't really care about that aspect too much, as long as the songs sounded appealing. When I started playing the "Soft Parade" album, I was dejected. "Tell all ... (read more)

Report this review (#266928) | Posted by Keetian | Thursday, February 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am aware of being out from the pack, but I think this is one of the best albums of The Doors: surely is the most progressive one. Of course, there's nothing particularly innovative, but many of the songs are really beautiful: above all the wonderful Wishful Sinful, one of the best songs of all tim ... (read more)

Report this review (#184381) | Posted by prog61 | Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Here is a quick timeline of the Doors according to me. The first album is out on the edge and simply amazing. The second album is still excellent but not quite as edgy. The third album is still excellent but mellow and relatively simple. Then we come to this album (The Soft Parade) and The D ... (read more)

Report this review (#170262) | Posted by digdug | Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is almost a masterpiece - almost, because of one track (Easy Ride), which is totally bad. But the remainder, and especially Tell All The People, Wishful Sinful and The Soft Parade, is magnificent, though totally different from what The Doors previously released. The inclusion of horns is pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#164598) | Posted by Zardoz | Saturday, March 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Unfortunately, this album doesn't really have any substance. Where other bands can turn bare music into something transcending and beautiful, the Doors simply play notes and there is nothing extraordinary about it. This is really a dry, boring album, with very little originality. The special thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#118073) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The worst album of Jim and company. Half of the album are normal song with nothing special in it. Shaman's Blues, Wild Child, Runnin' Blue and The Soft Parade are the only strong tracks here. But the title track is only in half good. It starts with a very beautiful melody, then it becomes more fu ... (read more)

Report this review (#105654) | Posted by Deepslumber | Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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