American Songwriter Loves The Doors 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Read the full review at American Songwriter.

The Doors
The Doors — 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

After 50 years of accolades, what more is there left to say about the Doors’ archetypal 1967 debut? At this stage, it’s not just ingrained as one of the great ’60s albums, but surely one of the finest first releases ever (it checked in at #34 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2013 countdown of Best Debut Albums of All Time) and usually turns up on the shortlist for most memorable rock classics.

The true test of longevity is just how fresh, exciting, eclectic and edgy this still sounds. From covers of Willie Dixon (has “Back Door Man” ever sounded more salacious?) and Brecht/Weill’s “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)” (what other rock band was daring enough to try?) to a timeless #1 hit (although an edited one with “Light My Fire”) and a nearly 12-minute creepy Oedipal freak-out on “The End” that still sends shivers, it’s the ultimate statement of where the group was coming from. Singer/poet Jim Morrison had yet to sink into his lizard king/flasher self-parody, the band was tight and hungry with a jazz influenced drummer, and who else was touring as a quartet without a bass player (nimble keyboardist Ray Manzarek handled that duty) in those days … or even today?

They could be dreamy/spooky as “End of the Night” and “The Crystal Ship” ballads prove or pop-oriented for the rocking “Take It as It Comes” and slyly humorous in the somewhat slight “20th Century Fox.” Even the spare production doesn’t sound dated, an anomaly for many relics of that fertile period. All of which makes the eponymously titled The Doors an essential addition to any music lover’s collection and an acknowledged rock and roll milestone that feels as vital, tense (and at times intense) now as it did five decades ago.