Monday, February 11, 2008

No. 362: L.A. Woman

Band: The Doors
Album: L.A. Woman
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Despite the three singles, the Doors' final album is more blues-oriented and raw. The album's nod towards Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon backs up Jim Morrison's voice well.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Much of the blues stuff is forgettable, as the band's real memorable moments are its most eclectic.
Best song: You know, "Love Her Madly" is simple, but great.
Worst song: "L'America" isn't terrible, but it's not good.
Is it awesome?: I'd say no.

I outlined my early teenage love for the Doors in an earlier piece but failed to mention that I had a big backlash against the band in high school, college and even until today.

What I said before still stands. Jim Morrison is a lyrical dope. "L.A. Woman" is an album full of strange political stuff ("L'America"), road songs ("Riders on the Storm" and the title track), blues cops ("Cars Hiss By My Window," "Been Sown So Long" and "Crawling King Snake") and even a requisite love song ("Love Her Madly").

Of course, the takeaway is Morrison's poem set to music that is "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)." The lyrics appear to be drug-induced nonsense ("Stoned Immaculate" comes from this song) while the title is a reference to old, high-powered Mexican stations whose signals carried into Texas during the dawn of rock and roll. The band rolls through a pretty nice rock and roll number (they'd hired a bassist by this point), but Morrison's lyrics are, well, stoner religion.


My favorite song on the record is the least-Doors sounding one on the record. "Love Her Madly" works around an easy major-key guitar jangle and a piano riff that surrounds Morrison's strikingly low-key voice. Morrison's instrument sounds best when he isn't letting all loose, but rather when he is restrained, as he is in "Love Her Madly" (also, "Light My Fire").


The Doors were hardly the world's greatest band. They had a famous singer and a good -- not great -- group of musicians. This album, the band's last, has its ups and its downs.

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