The Doors: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (1972)

If there's one thing pretty much all rock fans can agree on, it's that nobody can agree on The Doors.  For every diehard fan, there's someone else who insists they represent the absolute dregs of the classic rock canon.

Me, I'm somewhere in the middle, though I like them a lot more than I'm told I should.  I do find that a little of Morrison's often pretentious poetry and Manzarek's at-times grating keyboards can go a long way; but I also find many of their songs, if heard in the right state of mind, to be absolute stunners.  The dramatic inconsistency between each of their records' soaring highs and unsatisfying lows makes it hard for me to endorse any particular album (the 1967 self-titled debut and 1971 swan song L.A. Woman are probably the ones I enjoy most), which is why I'm wimping out and going with a posthumous compilation here.

Weird Scenes was the first (and for a long time only) Doors album I owned, picking it up at the used records store way back in high school.  The double album package does a surprisingly remarkable job of cherry picking not just some (but not all, i.e. thankfully no "Light My Fire") of the obvious singles, but many of their best deep album tracks, with non-chronological sequencing that flows together better than most of the original albums.  So you've got "The End," the powerful epic from the debut, mixed in with killer non-hits like "Peace Frog" and "The WASP"; the even longer epic "When The Music's Over" contrasted with the brief, spooky "End Of The Night."  When I burned myself a single-CD Doors compilation, pretty much all the Doors I really need, almost all of it could be found on this package. 

For all their faults, they were a surprisingly great live band (when Morrison wasn't fucking around too much), with some entrancing jams from Manzarek and guitarist Robbie Krieger, and even Morrison's more challenging tangents ("Celebration of the Lizard," anyone?) sound vibrant.  They've issued a number of shows in recent years, which sport surprisingly stellar sound quality for their age (many of them stream on Spotify; check out the fantastic Live in New York, a jam band treat); I listen to those far more than the studio work.  But if I had to hold onto one official studio release, Weird Scenes would be it.

Here's a video for "The End" set to clips from Apocalypse Now (which utilized the song to great effect):
Here's a video for "Peace Frog":


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