uReview: The Doors “Soft Parade”

12345678910 (37 votes, average: 6.78 out of 10)

The Doors… overplayed or overlooked? What’s your call on this oft-maligned LP?

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“Tell All The People”

:D CD Reissue | 2007 | Rhino | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1969 | Vogue | search ebay ]
;) MP3 Album |  download at amazon ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

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  • dk

    Neither overplayed nor overlooked, this is the lone* piece of junk in The Doors’ catalog. Most wise music fans prudently skip over it in favor of the self-titled debut, Waiting For The Sun, L.A. Woman, or basically anything else, including some dubious live albums. Someone will undoubtedly site ‘Touch Me’ or ‘Shaman’s Blues’ as a reason to reconsider The Soft Parade, but don’t believe it – this album stinks like a dirty diaper.

    *[I’m not including the awful album (Other Voices) that the band released post-Morrison, mainly because I’d rather pretend it didn’t happen. Please indulge me on this…]

  • JEFF

    True this is the worst LP in a catalog of GREAT records. Time has not been kind to this album and it’s over the top arrangements. The only tunes that work are the “gritty” jams like “Shaman’s Blues” or “Wild Child” and even they sound kinda trite. The best track from this period, “Wishful Sinful,” was left off the album so it is easy to look back and say things were not well with the band. I still like the cheese of “Touch Me,” but it isn’t that good and the extremely dumb title track fails where all their other epics succeed. So all in all, listen to MORRISON HOTEL.

  • Deiter

    I don’t agree with the assessments above.

    This album does have some of the band’s weakest material of their canon–agreed–but the otherwise quality of the material is not only worthy of The Doors, it’s classic material from a classic era. The problem with the material–I don’t know what was going on with the band personally at the time–seems to be the waning of Morrison’s writing. Into the breech went Krieger, writing more of the lyrics and not very good ones at that. But the tunes still shred. Granted, there were few of the cultural and era defining lyrical moments (e.g. The End, When the Music Is Over) as had gone on with the previous albums and that may be much of the problem. When the material really shined though, say like on Wishful Sinful, Krieger’s lyrics don’t matter much. On weaker fare, like Runnin’ Blue and Touch Me, it did. Still, the band’s playing was still stellar and the orchestral stuff even works well even if a little uncharacteristic. Cut ’em some slack: It was an experiment. Okay, Sgt Pepper it ain’t–okay, it ain’t even By Their Satanic Majesties Request, but it was an interesting detour.

    On the other hand, Shaman’s Blues, Wild Child, The Soft Parade: Awesome! (Ever hear Merry Clayton’s version of Tell All the People? It gives you new respect for the song.) When a band’s weakest material is on the level of Touch Me or Easy Ride there can’t be much shame.

    I mean, c’mon people, what equivalent material from the 80’s and 90’s do we have that’s worthy to compare? This music–The Doors–even at its nadir, is uncomparable.

  • Neil Cake

    sigh… I disagree with you all, and agree with Lester Bangs’ assessment of the Doors as drunks masquerading as poets. They had their moments, but on the whole I consider The Doors to be lame, and not nearly as intellectual as they and their supporters would have you believe.

    Moving on to the point in question: I think The Soft Parade is actually one of their better albums – certainly better than Waiting For the Sun, Morrison Hotel and LA Woman. I rarely listen to The Doors these days, but when I do, “The Soft Parade” is the one I usually select.

  • “what equivalent material from the 80’s and 90’s do we have that’s worthy to compare? ”

    uh, really? I can name about 400 albums from that period better than The Soft Parade, as I bet can many other readers.

    I do have a soft spot for “Runnin’ Blue,”dreadful as it is. And have always thought they should have given “Touch Me” to Englebert Humberdink or Tom Jones, who would’ve had fun with it…

  • SeattleSaint

    I still get a kick out of the title cut.
    The rest is parody.
    Most notable because the Osmonds lifted the keyborad intro to Touch Me for “C’mon Marianne”

  • satisfied75

    while not their strongest, it has some great tracks

  • satisfied75

    just re-visited this one (thanks rising storm!) and was totally enjoyable

  • i’d put this at the bottom of their elektra studio output, but it’s still better than most of their live releases. no, the songwriting isn’t there; yes, there are some velveeta moments; but you have to give them props for branching out…that’s what separates the musical wheat from the chaff. it’s better to take a risk and fail than to fail by never taking a risk (which explains entirely too much contemporary music). and who’s to say there could’ve ever been a morrison hotel if there hadn’t have been a soft parade first?

    it’s called evolution: the beatles were masters at it. so what if the doors weren’t.

  • Chris

    Interesting failure. Most of it is weak, but the horns and strings kind of tie it together. It has a stronger sense of purpose than “Waiting For the Sun,” which to my ears is their worst album, just a casserole of slight ideas executed in a hurry (with a couple of key exceptions, of course). Touch Me, Shaman’s Blues, Wishful Sinful and about two-thirds of the title track are very nearly as good as their best stuff. I’ve got an hilariously square cover of Touch Me by something/someone called Bill Deal and the Rhondels. I almost prefer it to the Doors’ version.
    Just want to say, it’s nice to see some comments in favor of the Doors. I was afraid I was going to have to play defender/apologist yet again.

  • Doug

    It’s all blatantly subjective, but I think The Soft Parade is on par with the balance of Doors work. The Rolling Stone review from 1969, at the time of the album’s release, was over the top. There was nothing very informative about the review, just a strong opinion. I think the writer was misguided. Jim’s decline into alcoholism was probably obvious, and it would have been easy to jump to the wrong associated conclusion that The Doors music was in decline. This album features the same blues driven rock as before; it contains some real gems; and it exudes the same wide range of influences with the masterful introduction of horns, which I think added a potent dimension without departing from the core energy of their music.

  • I’ve never understood all the whining and moaning about this album. I like it just fine. Like all six studio releases by this line up. The Doors themselves were not fond of this album and Paul Rothchild may have pushed for much of the form it took. But you know folks,a lot of bands used to try different things in those days. Not every album is a life changing event. And who ever said The Doors posed as intellectuals? I never heard that one. If anything,they explored a pagan,impulsive approach to thought and existence. But really,you know what? They were a band. that’s it. An interesting band that we’re apparently STILL talking about. Jim did this,Jim did that. Jim’s been DEAD a long time and he’s not saying shit at this point. You give a young person anything they want and wonder why they go overboard? I have no problem with The Soft Parade personally. It’s there to be taken or ignored.

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