The Doors
An American Prayer


3.5
great

Review

by e210013 USER (181 Reviews)
November 29th, 2021 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The last work of a legendary band. A great homage to Jim.

“An American Prayer” is the ninth studio album of The Doors and was released in 1978. It was released seven years after their front man Jim Morrison died and five years after the remaining members of the band broke up. Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore reunited and recorded backing tracks over Jim Morrison’s poetry, originally recorded in 1969 and 1970. Other music pieces and spoken words recorded by The Doors with Jim Morrison were also used in the audio collage, such as a dialogue from a Morrison’s film and snippets from several studio jam sessions.

This is a very strange album, which is still considered very unusual even in our days, because is more a Jim Morrison’s album than an album of The Doors. So, due to that, I think it’s necessary to write a few lines about Jim Morrison, in order to understand better his very strong and complex personality and why he is often regarded as one of the most iconic, charismatic and pioneer front man in the rock history. This always was and still is a very fascinating thing to me.

Due to Jim’s poetic lyrics, distinctive voice, wild personality, performances, and the dramatic circumstances that surrounded his life and early death, he is regarded as one of the most iconic and influential artists in the rock history. Since his death, his fame has endured as one of the most popular culture’s rebellious and oft-displayed icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture. The disturbing, image and rich poeticism of Jim’s lyrics, supported by the Doors’ music, have assured him a continuing icon status, having influenced a countless of imitators.

Jim Morrison began writing in earnest during his adolescence. He was strongly inspired by the writings of philosophers and poets. He was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views of aesthetic and morality would appear in his poetry and songs. He read the works of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose literary style would latter, influenced the form of Jim Morrison’s poems. He was also influenced by the authors Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Baudelaire, Moliere, Franz Kafka, Honoré de Balzac and Jean Cocteau, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers.

Jim Morrison recorded his own poetry in a professional sound studio on two separate occasions. The first was in March 1969 in Los Angeles and the second was on December 1970. The later recording session was attended by Jim Morrison’s personal friends and included a variety of sketch pieces. Some of the segments from the 1969 session were issued on the bootleg album “The Lost Paris Tapes” and were later used as part on this album, “An American Prayer”.

“An American Prayer” is definitely an acquired taste and for many it’s a taste that is very difficult to swallow. Whatever one’s feelings about the album, it does remain an interesting and unique look into the mind and poetry of Jim Morrison. The album was a commercial success at the time of its release. It may have only reached number 54 on the American album charts but it did sell a million copies and receive a platinum sales award. The poetry is typical of Jim Morrison. He had a way with words and was able to create images that mesmerized. These words and images were not always clear or understandable but they always had a weird and very depth sense. The music tends to fit the words well. While the band revisited some psychedelic sounds from their past, they were able to fit the music to the individual poems. Rock, classical, and even some smooth-jazz tones provide a nice background to the album and add a positive effect to Jim Morrison’s spoken words. I really like they have included a live “Roadhouse Blues” as well. It really prepares us for the rest. Despite it does not fit in with the rest of the material, it’s so good that it makes you wish for more of the same.

Jim Morrison died in Paris in 3 of July of 1971, at the age of 27, and was buried in Paris at the Père Lachaise cemetery, alongside his literary heroes such as Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine. Paris was an ideal world for Morrison, a world that was as equally ideal as his notion of the poetry. It was, perhaps, the right place to be a poet. However, it was also a place that would make him feel isolated, depressed, and ultimately, suicidal, which was reflected in his poems. As Morrison found out, he unfortunately couldn’t escape the inevitable consequence of his idealism.


Conclusion: “An American Prayer” is a very difficult album to rate, because it’s probably a unique album in the history of rock music. It can be rated with different ratings. It can be rated with with 2.0 or 2.5 because it’s a very intimate album and probably only appreciated by great fans, especially Jim Morrison’s fans. It can be rated with 4.0 because it has a great quality, especially its beautiful and touchy lyrics. It can be rated with 3.0 or 3.5 if you consider, like me, that “An American Prayer” is more than an album to collectors and fans only, because it can be considered a very good album, but not an essential album. So, “An American Prayer” is a very special album for everybody who wants to know better the personality of Jim Morrison and how he became so important, even today. RIP in peace, Jim. We’ll never forget you.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (199)
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
November 29th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was very surprised when I saw this is an album without any review on Sput till today, in spite of have almost 200 ratings. Actually, it's the only studio album of them without one.

I always liked this album. This is a very special, strange and unique album in The Doors discography. This is a unique album in the history of music. This is a very beautiful album, very intimate and personal with the voice of Jim singing or declaiming poetry, supported by his bandmates in the back. Probabbly some may think this is an album with the intention of exploit the image of Jim expecting to make some easy money, but I prefer to think this is an honest work, an homage to Jim and an offer to his fans. It may not be an essential album in The Doors discography, but still is a remarkable work.

I decideed to write my review a bit different from the usual. It's more biographical in order to frame the personality and the literary influences of Jim in his personal life. It's also much personal, expressing my point of view and feelings about him. A special review to a special work.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 29th 2021


12379 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really glad to see this one reviewed. As you write, this is indeed very intimate and personal. Been too long since I jammed it, so I need to change that.

e210013
November 29th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, do that man. Sometimes I need to revisit it. It make me feel good and calm. It's a kind of therapy to me, as strange as it can seems.

Thanks manosg.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 29th 2021


12379 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not strange at all, man. There are definitely a few albums that are therapeutic for me as well, and the also change from time to time.

e210013
November 29th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, its' true. But, in this case, that is probably more evident to me. Besides, I always had a very strong feelings about The Doors and particularly about Jim Morrison.

For instance, I'm going to tell you one episode. When, some years ago, I visited Paris, I think 10 years ago, I insisted to visit Père Lachaise cemetery, especially to go to Jim's tomb. And I can assure you that it was a very special experience. It's really amazing that with so many years that have passed after his dead, people keep going to visit Jim's tomb. I can assure you that were about 20 or 30 persons at the moment. Some, probabbly, were born after his dead. And this is a continuos thing. There are always people visiting his tomb. And what is even more strange and impressive is that the biggest names of the French culture that are buried there, don't have the same number of visitors.

So, it was very impressive. People are going spontaneously or individually visit his tomb. I can assure you that is a very strong experience, despite the simplicity of his tomb.

Cheers my friend. It's always a pleasur to talk with you.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 29th 2021


12379 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pleasure is all mine, bud.



You know, when I visited Paris, I stayed really close to Jim Morrison's grave, but for some reason I totally forgot to visit it and only remembered after I had left France. To this day I regret it, but it was probably a subconscious thing me forgetting to visit the grave, because how can you forget such a thing? The Doors are easily one of my favorite bands.

e210013
November 29th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, nice story and strange too. As we both said, our relation with The Doors is indeed very intimate and personal.

TheIntruder
November 30th 2021


578 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I always was very curious about this album. I remember my father loved the band and liked this album too. I think he has an old vinyl copy. I am going to visit him soon and I am going to listen to it then. At the same time I am going to read the review.

e210013
November 30th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice. I would like to have a vinyl copy too, but unfortunately I only own a CD copy.

Ok. Probably is a nice experience to read the review and listen the album at the same time. I hope you like both.

Cheers, man.

Jethro42
November 30th 2021


16871 Comments


What a powerful voice Morrison has for a drunkard, drugged man. Some members of the band even swear Morrison was possessed.

I love me some Doors. I might try this album. I guess it is full of spoken poetry. If this case, it wouldn't be my thing.

Good review. I read it fast, so I'll redo my reading soon.

e210013
November 30th 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Jethro. This is an album full of poetry, but with some beautiful music in the back. This isn't an album for everyone and this isn't an album for all moments. Still, I really think it has its charm, especially in some cool and calm moments, some special moments. But, this is only me.

Thanks for the pos my friend.

ReturnToRock
December 1st 2021


4482 Comments


My first contact with the Doors. I hardly ever spin it anymore, but happy to see it here nonetheless.

e210013
December 1st 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for share your thoughts, Return.

TheIntruder
December 3rd 2021


578 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You was right. This is a very special album of the band and of the rock in genearl. But, it does not appeal to everyone. We need to be in the right mood to full appreciate it. It is not a album to revisit everyday and in every moment. But I liked it. Probably the influence of my father had some effect on it.

Nice review. I like the way you put it intimate and personal. It became clear The Doors is one of your favourite bands and was a pleasure to you revisit them through this album. It also became clear to me why people of the previous generation love so much The Doors. Pos.

e210013
December 3rd 2021


3783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm very glad that you liked, both the album and the review.

It's true. People of loves rock of my generation love The Doors strongly. In my case, it was also one of first bands I checked. So, it always ahd a very strong influence on me. They were one of the bands that made my musical taste.

And thanks for the pos, dude.



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