Thursday, January 29, 2009
THE SOFT PARADE
Produced over months of arduous sessions, this was the band's $100,000 wet dream. Jim Morrison would step into the shoes of Frank Sinatra, at times, while adding his voice to their most adventurous music to date. Almost universally panned back in '69, I think it's an incredibly creative step from one of that decade's finest groups.
Robbie Kreiger took up the bulk of the writing duties, though Morrison's distinct fingerprints are clearly visible on certain tracks. Notable for elaborate orchestration, "Tell All the People" leads off with epic fanfare. While solid in structure, the scattershot wordplay that featured in the bulk of the previous three records is missing. (Kreiger's lyrics were more conventional) Filmed performing live for a PBS documentary, they offer a stripped down version here.
Engaging melodies and inventive arrangements are what you'll find when you unwrap this. Don't believe for a second that this is The Doors buried in "101 strings", either. The main engine of the band is never sublimated by the layers, with "Touch Me" being the most successful integration of the two worlds. "Shaman's Blues" and "Wild Child" are classic Doors, while "Easy Ride" is fun and almost reminiscent of Elvis. (!)
Not enough mention is made of the tasteful instrumental contributions made by Manzarek, Kreiger and Densmore. They sounded like no one else of that time period, with no nods to British psychedelia or the West Coast bands that had a decidedly multi-colored vibe.
Stylistically diverse, this collection probably threw off listeners looking for some revelation or profundity that Morrison must have hidden within the grooves somewhere.
"YOU CANNOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!!!!"
Though you can return to this highly enjoyable record time and again and never tire of it.