The Doors, The Soft Parade

Jim Morrison loved to sing the blues, and darn it, he'll sing the blues even if the blues are not provided him to sing. That's the chief issue with The Soft Parade, which I enjoy for its oddity, but furrow my brow over that same incongruity: it's really a proto-art rock album disguised as psychedelia, and yet there he is, still belting out the boogie. When the orchestral arrangements mesh and the vocals' roughness sharpens, this is the band's best work ("Touch Me" and "Wishful Sinful"), but quite a lot of it noodles aimlessly ("Shaman's Blues," "Wild Child") and I still have no idea what the heck to do with the title track. Still, when it works, it works, and I think the change in style might have been an important direction for the band had they worked out the glitches, but with their return to form in Morrison Hotel it's clear the band thought that particular depth had been overly plumbed. The reissue adds one worthwhile B-side, one less worthwhile unreleased jam and several tedious outtakes. (Content: no concerns.)