Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Doors 3: Waiting For The Sun

Most of the music on the first two Doors albums had been in the band’s repertoire for a couple of years, so when it came time to record their third, they were tasked with coming up with new material. Consequently, Waiting For The Sun is stuck between pop and the experimental, with varying results.
They did save one ringer from the old days, and despite its similarity to any number of Kinks songs, “Hello I Love You” was an obvious hit. “Love Street” is a lazy, poppy stroll through Laurel Canyon, and something of a red herring for what comes next. Having included an eleven-minute epic on each of the previous albums, Jim Morrison’s next feat was to be the sidelong “Celebration Of The Lizard” suite of poems, as illustrated by the libretto on the inner gatefold. At the time, however, only the section called “Not To Touch The Earth” was completed for the album. The track, which wasn’t worth the trouble, fights against the loopy slide and buzzing organ up until the final declaration, “I am the lizard king”, which is why people talk about it today. “Summer’s Almost Gone” restores the pop sensibility, having been written years before and probably left aside due to its similarity to “The Crystal Ship”. “Wintertime Love” sounds really out of place, and should have been arranged slower and without a harpsichord. While the big epic didn’t happen, “The Unknown Soldier” is a mostly successful attempt at a sound picture, though you’d think they could’ve found a better sound to approximate a gunshot.
Robbie Krieger steps up with a flamenco flourish to begin “Spanish Caravan”, and the rest of the song follows a respectful pace, with a nice fuzzy inversion of the opening theme. “My Wild Love” is a chant destined to try anybody’s patience, making “We Could Be So Good Together” seem an improvement. (Maybe nobody told Robbie his fuzz tone sounded like a kazoo.) “Yes, The River Knows” begins like a lounge ballad, but Jim actually puts some emotion into it. “Five To One” redeems the side, and the album proper; here the dynamics of their lengthy epics are reduced to under five minutes, and shows a respect for economy. Plus, it’s loaded with some of Jim’s better one-liners.
Waiting For The Sun doesn’t have the legs of its predecessors, but they weren’t completely running on fumes yet. (The title track would have to wait to be hatched.) As a hint at what might have been, the expanded CD includes some early stabs at “Not To Touch The Earth”, and two tracks siphoned from various compilations. “Albinoni’s Adagio In G Minor” is a surprisingly faithful interpretation of the baroque piece, while a “work in progress” mix of “Celebration Of The Lizard” runs for 17 minutes, and gives an idea of the music the band concocted for the poems. If anything, Jim’s delivery illustrates why he’s either adored or despised. None of these were included on the so-called 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, which merely added a second disc of nine of the album’s tracks in rough mix state, plus five songs from a 1968 Copenhagen concert in questionable sound quality. The early version of “The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)” is historically interesting, however.

The Doors Waiting For The Sun (1968)—3
2007 40th Anniversary Edition: same as 1968, plus 5 extra tracks
2018 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition: same as 1968, plus 14 extra tracks

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