This is third third installment of my journey through The Doors’ catalog, going through their records released as part of The Doors Vinyl Box in sequential order. My first two posts can be found HERE and HERE, and I’ll skip a lot of the stuff I already covered in those posts. Just know that I was a “greatest hits” kind of Doors fan, so while there are a lot of Doors songs that still get airplay on the radio, if it hasn’t been on the radio on any kind of a consistent basis, I probably haven’t heard it.
Waiting for the Sun opens with a couple of Doors classics, “Hello I Love You” and “Love Street,” the latter of which has always been one of my faves and one of the sweeter Doors songs. After those two, however, I move quickly into uncharted territory, only knowing three of the last nine songs (“The Unknown Soldier,” “Spanish Caravan,” and “Five to One”). My three “unknowns” on side A are pretty different from one another. “Not to Touch the Earth” strikes me as disjointed and intense, with Manzarek’s organ driving the pace and creating an uncomfortable vibe with it’s weird sound and insistence. That’s followed by “Summer’s Almost Gone,” which is more a return to from and reminiscent of “Love Street,” a softer song that brings Morrison’s voice to the forefront as the music floats around in the background. “Wintertime Love” is almost martial music, very formal, structured, and paced, with Densmore’s drums controlling much of the early direction and even Morrison’s vocals bouncing up and down and up and down. Manzarek’s organ playing actually reminds me of something out of the movie Amadeus. The side closes with “The Unknown Soldier,” a song particularly disturbing for it’s portrayal of a man being killed by a firing squad right in the middle of it.
Krieger gets his moment in the spotlight on the start of side B, playing some impressive Spanish guitar on “Spanish Caravan.” While the general public focused all their attention on Morrison, The Doors were consistently a “band first” kind of group who believed it very important for everyone to contribute and have an opportunity to shine, and this is a perfect example. Waiting for the Sun takes another odd turn with “My Wild Love,” which has a tribal, shamanistic sound to both the music and Morrison’s cadence. The next few songs didn’t do much for me at all, but the record closes out with the intense “Five to One,” the song that gives us the famous “No one here gets out alive” lyric.
The further I get through The Doors’ catalog, the more I see how incredibly varied and complex their output was. I haven’t run across a song I hadn’t known before that I feel was an overlooked gem per se, but I’ve been hit between the eyes a few times by the emotional intensity and quality of some of the deeper cuts, once again being reminded why it’s so important to listen to a band’s albums, and not just their songs.