Review Summary: “Strange days have found us, and through their strange hours, we linger alone”
As its title may suggest, The Doors’ second LP (and second of 1967) is a stranger and odder beast than its already psychedelic predecessor. Sadly, it’s also a less accomplished offering, with the batch of songs on offer primarily made up of left-over material from The Doors
sessions. But call it a cash-in on the mega success of their debut album at peril, because Strange Days
, despite a few hold-ups, remains a highly enjoyable and artistically successful record, even if it didn’t take the band anywhere new or more popular.
The bluesy undercurrent that flows under virtually all The Doors cuts is watered down more so than on their previous effort, with psychedelica arriving as it’s more prominent replacement. It doesn’t feel forced at all, thankfully, and gives the album a rather neat and united vibe, at the expense of little less variation perhaps. Opening with the squirrely Manzarek organs of ‘Strange Days’, one gains a picture of what to expect – a slightly eerie, psychedelic rock exploration of alienation and feeling a little, ahem, ‘spaced out’, shall we say (it doesn’t require much research to learn of Morrison’s dabbling in LSD – it was the summer of love after all). The melodic floatiness of ‘You’re Lost Little Girl’, the catchy and tormented ‘People Are Strange’ and the bizarre, poetic interlude of ‘Horse Latitudes’ further the creepy, psych vibe to an equally exciting level.
The album isn’t all tripped out paranoia, as the jaunty pop delights of single ‘Love Me Two Times’ and the almost funk of ‘Moonlight Drive’ point out so refreshingly. The remainder of the tracks aren’t all that weak either – ‘Unhappy Girl’ features a jumpy, rising and falling melody; ‘My Eyes Have Seen You’ isn’t particularly spectacular but is still far from skip-worthy, and ‘I Can’t See Your Face in My Mind’ is a crawling, ghostly little ditty.
The only song that oversteps the mark more than a little (by about 6 minutes if you require an exact label) is closer, ‘When the Music’s Over’. While the track was a well suited live set piece of The Doors' energetic and theatrical performance, plonked on the end of this fine LP it becomes a drag towards the end and just doesn’t have enough interesting qualities to justify an entire 1/3rd of the disc’s length. But with that slight snag aside, Strange Days
shapes up as a quality release by a band that were riding higher than most contemporary artists could hope to, not to mention the fact that they could put out something as unique and challenging as this piece can sometimes be, just months after their legendary debut - further testament to its worth if any were needed.