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Doors, the - The Doors
Review: The Doors upheld their integrity in an age of flower child music by linking their spacious, eloquent sound with a moral ambiguity that disabled them from ever fully being assimilated by the positivist impetus of the time. Although built on a solid foundation of British pop, the first album from this foundational LA act features an entirely different approach to rhythm and harmony that highlights the integral correspondence between lyrical concept and melody of vocalist Jim Morrison. (True, there are notorious exceptions in the album's unabashedly pop and in retrospect, irritating, tracks.)
Keyboard playing dominates the songs in a style undoubtedly influenced by the use of a second unit to produce a bass track, with undulating lead patterns defining the space accented more than timekept by jazz-influenced drums which, re-applying a technique learned from the needs of that genre absent in the new format, fill space with suspense instead of clearly defined patterns. The drums hang in time and let the keyboards set pace and tone while vocals narrate, with guitar playing providing the harmonic variation one would normally expect from keyboards and commenting internally on vocals and drums in a style that might be called "petit leitmotif" for its Wagnerian tendencies to foreshadow and allude throughout the course of the more intricate songs.
Morrison's vocals give credit to his Irish heritage by capturing much of what makes the music of that ill-starred isle so enduring, namely the tendency to sing in manly, full vocals without hiding the unabashedly sensitive melody inside the roguish roadhouse style. Lyrics in iambic pentameter use a range of language never before (or since) seen in rock music, complementing in imagery the lead figures and rhythms used, while giving the songs a focus without becoming a repetitive attention whore of excessively contrived personality.
Unique for their apocalyptic vision which translates into amoral music, the Doors were unfit for an age of political and social protest music, and it is what kept them clean while the rest descended into the filth of paradoxical goals. Morality does not make excellent poetry, and the Doors in realizing this, created the sublime while others digested in the bile of a generational trend. The tendency to romanticize experience instead of whining in moral protest, much like the tendency to repurpose rock as apocalyptic backstreet opera, grants this band a place not only in a past time of vast change but in the vanguard of a similar attitude today.