Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Doors - Love Her Madly

(Elektra, 1971)

Listening to the Doors always gives me ample reason to cringe, because, like any lame-brained teenager of the last couple decades, there were a few middle-school years there where I eagerly immersed myself in the embarrassing, pseudo-intellectual mythology that draws young morons everywhere to the band (and remember that just as guilty as Morrison for all of that silliness is long-winded necrophiliac Ray Manzarek, who has been shamelessly flogging the horse since 1971). Yes, I even owned and dug ol’ Jim’s two volumes of, ahem, “poetry,” within which I pretended to perceive and receive some real Heavy Truths. But even then, thick as I was, I was clued-in enough to realize that Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman were both horseshit, the self-parodic work of a washed-up group desperately grasping for bluesy authenticity after its one true attempt at stretching out – the bizarre lounge act of Soft Parade, which happens to be my favorite Doors LP – nearly got it laughed out of the big leagues. The upbeat “Love Her Madly,” however, is a rare bright spot on L.A. Woman, begging as it does for chart action and pop recognition while dropping most of the dreary pretensions that had consumed the band. The dumb-dumb lyrics (“Don’t you love her madly / Want to meet her daddy”) and cheery tack piano are a welcome return to the relative frivolity of earlier material like “Hello I Love You,” though Morrison’s deep vocal is distractingly hammy. It’s amusing to note that while the song is already concise on the album, here the label chops another 30 seconds off for the single release – shame Bruce Botnik couldn’t get anyone to take that same ax to the endless “Riders on the Storm” or the LP’s title track. As for the sub-bar-band, Manzarek-sung Willie Dixon cover on the B-side – “(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further” – let’s just say that it serves as a depressingly accurate preview for the two dire post-Morrison records to come.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

Ok, gotta part company here. Soft Parade your favorite? That's the one that lets the other members sing in the first place! Granted your penchant for the most embarrassing moments of rock, I can see why you'd love "SP," but defining moment of The Doors it ain't (though I love the title track). "L.A. Woman" drivel? Well, what can I say... you'll never hear '70s rock w/out the '80s intervening, so... just have to grin and bear it, amigo. In fact, as one who has been hearing this band's output since the shortened single version of "Riders" made family car rides spooky (that's saying something!) on AM radio, I have to say that "L.A. Woman" might be my favorite album of theirs. I remember an elder at the time offering much the same "self-parody" Rolling Stone-mag-like reading as yours, but I say thee nay. "C'mon people don't you look so down / you know the rain man's comin' to town / he'll change your weather, change your luck / and then he'll teach you how to fffff--find yourself."