Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Doors 2: Strange Days

Less than nine months after the release of their debut, which still had legs, the second Doors album appeared. Strange Days follows the same formula as the first album, being instrumentally similar, and concluding with another lengthy, show-stopping epic. (The cover did try to make a departure, using a motley collection of street performers and freaks cavorting in an alley, while a tiny poster of the band with the album title is tucked in on the edge. Clever.)
The title track has enough “strangeness” to make it an effective and disorienting opener, setting a tone of darkness for the next 35 minutes. Robbie is credited with writing “You’re Lost Little Girl”, built as it is on his intricate guitar parts, and nothing special in the way of lyrics. “Love Me Two Times” is also credited to Robbie, as he likely came up with the riff; again, the lyrics aren’t much, but there’s a harpsichord in place of the organ for variety. “Unhappy Girl” is dominated by loopy slide and backwards effects, over before you know it. Jim was very proud of “Horse Latitudes”, a frightening piece of poetry backed by discordant sounds of the band, making the return of the loopy slide on “Moonlight Drive” something of a comfort.
“People Are Strange” is another catchy single despite its depressing message, and helped by the tricky ending. The insistent “My Eyes Have Seen You” is contradictorily followed by the moodier “I Can’t See Your Face In My Mind”, both fairly slight in comparison to “When The Music’s Over”. While not as pointedly provocative as “The End”, it still features many oft-repeated Morrison couplets and good dynamic contributions from the band, making it as much of a group performance as a showcase for Jim’s prose. And assuming you can stand the sound of the organ, a better song.
As with most sophomore albums following a classic debut, Strange Days had to catch up to a lot, but there are and were enough songs in their repertoire to keep it consistent. They were still able to concentrate on the music without the distractions that would soon take over their celebrity.

The Doors Strange Days (1967)—
2007 40th Anniversary Edition: same as 1967, plus 2 extra tracks

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