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The Doors - The Soft Parade CD (album) cover

THE SOFT PARADE

The Doors

 

Proto-Prog

2.91 | 309 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 421

"The Soft Parade" is the fourth studio album of The Doors and was released in 1969. It met some controversy among fans and critics due to the inclusion on this album of brass and string instrumental arrangements, as opposed to the more traditional sound of their earlier three previous studio albums. They also complained that it followed the same lyrical formula of their previous albums, and thus wasn't very innovative, and musically it had a sound too to much soft.

Another interesting and curious thing about "The Soft Parade", is that for the first time, all songs were credited to the individual members of the band. However, only Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger are credited on the album's sleeve.

"The Soft Parade" has nine tracks. The first track "Tell All The People" written by Robby Krieger was the third single taken from the album. It was released as an A side with "Easy Ride" as its B side. It's a soft ballad that sounds very mellow with full of brass arrangements. This is a good and pleasant song to hear. With this song we can clearly see that a change occurred on their style of music. It became more soft and pop. The second track "Touch Me" written by Robby Krieger was also released as a single. It's another notable song for the extensive use of brass and string instruments and also because the use of a saxophone solo by Curtis Amy. The orchestral arrangements work perfectly well and, in my humble opinion, they accent Jim Morrison's vocals. The third track "Shaman's Blues" written by Jim Morrison is also a good song, with good riffs and good vocals of Jim Morrison. It's a song clearly influenced by the blues but, unfortunately, it doesn't bring anything new. Definitely, it represents one of the Achilles' heels on the album. The fourth track "Do It" written by Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger was the only song written together. It was released as the B side of their single "Runnin' Blue" and it was also the last of the four singles released from this album. It's a good rock number that sounds nice and pleasant to hear, but like "Shaman's Blues" represents also one of the weakest musical moments on the album. The fifth track "Easy Ride" written by Jim Morrison was also one of the songs chosen to be released as a single. This time it was chosen to be the B side of their single "Tell All The People". It's a country and western song full of orchestration. Sincerely, this isn't one of my favourite music genres. This is, in my humble opinion, a very weak track, the weakest track on the all album. The sixth track "Wild Child" written by Jim Morrison was released as the B side of their single "Touch Me", preceding the release of the album in several months. This is a typical and classic The Doors' songs, a harder guitar driven song that sounds similar to many other great songs of them. It's a song with excellent musical arrangements, particularly on the guitars. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. The seventh track "Runnin' Blue" written by Robby Krieger was also a song chosen to be released as a single. Curiously, on this song Robby Krieger shares the vocal duties with Jim Morrison for the chorus, and this was one of the few songs where that happened, in their entire career. This is another country style song, with violin and the use of brass and string instruments. However and in my humble opinion, "Runnin' Blue" is fortunately a much better song than "Easy Ride" is. The eighth track "Wishful Sinful" written by Robby Krieger was another song taken from this album to be released as a single. The B side of the single, "Who Scared You?", is one of the few B side songs that never were released on any studio album of them. It's a very good and beautiful ballad, one of the best created by them, with fantastic orchestral arrangements. This song represents, without any doubt, one the highlights on the album. The ninth track is the title track "The Soft Parade". It was written by Jim Morrison. This is, without any doubt, the best and the only true progressive musical moment on the album. This song followed the good old tradition of the band, to close their albums with great epics, as had happened with "The End" on "The Doors" and "When The Music's Over" on "Strange Days". This song represents what they knew to make better. It's a great progressive music with great musical arrangements and strange lyrics and it has also an excellent and unforgettable vocal performance by Jim Morrison.

Conclusion: As I said before, "The Soft Parade" is in general considered as the weakest of all studio albums of The Doors. The great change in the production style didn't help the album's success, especially the addition of the brass and the string instrumental arrangements. So, "The Soft Parade" has been very criticized since it was released and it has even been considered as a sell out commercial album. Sincerely, I really don't think so. I really can't agree with most of the critics about this album. Personally, I can't see any kind of problem with the use of the brass and the string instruments and arrangements on the album. However, I completely agree with those who say that it's less good than their previous studio albums, especially their first two albums. Nevertheless, for me, it has a handful of good songs and quality enough to be considered still a good album. And I'm not pretty sure that "The Soft Parade" is the weakest album of The Doors. Sincerely, I'm not really very convinced that "The Soft Parade" is a weaker album than "Morrison Hotel".

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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