This week’s entry in 1001 Albums I Heard While Alive is the third album by The Doors, Waiting For The Sun.
This is a particularly special entry for me as it marks the first time in this series that the CD case contains a magical sticker with the words ‘Beaumont Street Beat’ on it.
For the uninitiated (pretty much anyone outside of Newcastle), Beaumont Street Beat was a record store that operated in Hamilton and was my go to place for second hand CDs from 1997 on.
I spent many a day there spending burger wrapping money on CDs that I heard were either good, influential or that I just goddamn ‘needed’ to tick off a bands back catalogue. Waiting For The Sun likely fitted the latter category because if I recall correctly it was the last Doors album I bought.
I don’t really remember spending much time with this album. Both Waiting For The Sun and it’s immediate follow-up The Soft Parade never quite did it for me. Neither are as immediate as the band's first two records, The Doors & Strange Days or as bluesy as the bands last two albums Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman.
Each record usually gets a few spins before I write these blogs however this time I have spent quite a lot of time listening to Waiting For The Sun. I figured it was time I give this record it’s time in the sun (see what I did there!) and boy did I enjoy listening to it.
The album kicks off with perhaps it’s most well known song ‘Hello, I Love You’ and is followed by the bouncy plod-pop of ‘Love Street’. Both of these tracks could have easily fit on the first two Doors records although as a single I don’t think ‘Hello, I Love You’ quite stacks up against earlier works like ‘Break On Through’, ‘Light My Fire’ or ‘People Are Strange’.
Track three, ‘Not To Touch The Earth’ is perhaps the song most wrapped up in Doors lore. It’s an excerpt from a much longer piece in the same epic vein of ‘The End’ and ‘When The Music’s Over’ (from The Doors and Strange Days respectively) and is the birth of the all the Jim Morrison Lizard King references. It’s a cool track and it was likely a wise move not to include the full version.
The next couple of tracks ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’ and ‘Wintertime Love’ are not exactly revolutionary but certainly keep the album chugging along and keep it in good hands.
In hindsight, the album’s next track ‘The Unknown Soldier’ seems a strange choice for a single as there are stronger songs on the album. It is worth noting however that the band was a big part of the 60s counterculture and given the track is about the Vietnam War it should come as no surprise.
The second half of the record kicks off with ‘Spanish Caravan’ which showcases guitarist Robby Krieger’s flamenco guitar skills however I find it to be a bit of a downer and it is my least favourite song on the album. That’s a tough call given the next song ‘My Wild Love’ has plenty of it’s own detractors but at least the shaman like quality of the song keeps me psyched for the record’s home stretch.
The album picks back up towards the end with ‘We Could Be So Good Together’, ‘Yes, The River Knows’ and the classic final song ‘Five To One’.
How ‘Five To One’ wasn’t a single I don’t know. It is perhaps the heaviest song on the album and continues the counterculture/war theme started with ‘The Unknown Solider’. The more bluesy sound was definitely a sign of what was to come on Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman.
I really enjoyed going back and getting into this record. I highly recommend listening to it with a fresh sets of ears.
Pointy: Do you own/like this album?
Moose: I don't own it, and I've only heard the first two tracks I think.
Pointy: Do you think this record belongs on the actual 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die list?
Moose: I would have to hear more of it to make that judgement.
Pointy: Any particular thoughts about this record?
Moose: It says a lot about me, that when I think of the doors, I think of Val Kilmer, and when I think of Val Kilmer I think of Batman, then by that point of forgotten about the Doors. But I like the hits, so I could probably give them more of a go, but there's something about people who love the doors that put me off the band. I. Yet to figure out what that is... But when I get Love Street in my head, it's hard to get out.... Just like Meg Ryan in that movie..
Mrs Pointy’s pick for next week: The Raveonettes - Chain Gang Of Love.