A change of pace for this, the third studio album by The Doors. Gone is the dark brooding of old, gone is the rock blues jazz mix. Well, everything gone for the most part, but all of these aspects do reappear in places. They’d used up their backlog of songs of course and a couple of tracks here do sound like definite filler. Open your eyes and ears however, go through with repeated listening and ‘Summers Almost Gone’ almost becomes your whole universe. The difference between this and previous Doors recordings is emphasized simply by the feel of this song. Imagine a sunset, sitting alone looking out of a window as the world flows by. Summers almost gone, and where will you be? What have you done? Jim sounds in fine voice and the music is dreamily relaxed. The musical mix is enhanced by piano, especially during the middle of the song. Didn’t I tell you The Doors always do great breaks in songs? Ha! This is no exception. This is still The Doors we know and love! This isn’t exactly Rock n Roll and not too many people out there appear to love this song in preferance to say ‘You’re Lost Little Girl’ but really, this is just beautiful and haunting. The opening ‘pop’ ‘Hello I Love You’ borrows its melody from The Kinks ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ and really isn’t too great. It sounds tired, sounds under pressure to provide a commercial moment on demand. They were under strain and pressure to produce this set of songs as they largely had nothing prepared. ‘Love Street’ is funny! Again, like ‘Summers Almost Gone’ this is an evocative song musically and Jim once again sounds in fine voice. Another relaxed and mellow song full of hooks. The hooks are there!
Jim wanted a 12 minute plus song called ‘Celebration Of The Lizard’ to be included on the record. None of the other Doors did so instead they took out a section from that song and turned it into ‘Not To Touch The Earth’. Now, the old Doors sound fully returns – the pounding organ swirls, Jim sounding demonic and mystical as the track winds itself up and up further and further as it progressives. It ends up sounding dark as hell and very enjoyable! As the piece finishes Jim claims the title of ‘Lizard King’ and off we go into ‘Summers Almost Gone’. Fabulous stuff! Not everything is fabulous of course. I’d already hinted at that earlier hadn’t I? Yes! And? Well ‘Wintertime Love’ is lightweight for sure but again, its just so very entertaining. You can’t exactly take this short silly thing seriously but it does raise a smile when you realise this is The Doors doing this! This happy, jaunty little thing! ‘The Unknown Soldier’ I certainly don’t care for. I don’t like the tone of the lyrics and the music seems uninspired and repeating previous themes. ‘My Wild Love’ is hard to describe or explain. Some sort of chanting appears to be going on. Really, I just don’t understand what’s going on! It is actually unsettling though which may have been the point but all that’s really acheived is a desire in the listener to skip to the next track.
The album carries on through an unusual path. ‘We Could Be So Good Together’ again appears to be a lightweight composition by past Doors standards but it does sport decent melodies throughout. ‘Yes, The River Knows’ is the closest we come to Doors as easy listening here, something previously unimaginable. Yes, whilst the likes of ‘Summers Almost Gone’ created an atmosphere with a marriage of lyrics and appropriate music here the lyrics don’t entirely appear suited to the music at all. Nice piano though. And! After all of that we have some old style Doors music done very well with ‘Five To One’. The keyboard and bass pounds, the guitar is dramatic and Jim sounds on the edge. A good way to close something that remains an inconsistant listen, certainly when compared to the first two Doors records – but does have enough moments sprinkled throughout to ensure an enjoyable listen. The very fact that some songs here are so different sounding to previous Doors material is actually a good thing. The lack of a ‘Light My Fire’ or a ‘When The Musics Over’ is of course noticeable but if taken on its own terms, then yeah, this is certainly a good album.