Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 418
Alternate suggested titles for The Soft Parade would be The Worst of the Doors, Kick Out the Doors, or best, The Soft Touch.
The Soft Parade is worse than infuriating, it's sad. It's sad because one of the most potentially moving forces in rock has allowed itself to degenerate. A trite word, but true.
The Soft Parade represents a clear and present decline in musicianship…. [The] Doors are a rock group, and at heart a rock group must produce vital, listenable, interesting music, or the rest is just so many limp wicks waving in the Miami breeze….
And this gorgeous-looking album is not vital, not very listenable and is certainly not interesting. It sounds for all the world like the stuff they had the good sense to leave off their first albums….
While the Doors' reductio-ad-absurdum poetry could usually be disguised by invigorating (if not very convincing) emotion, ["Touch Me" and "Follow Me Down"] stick that idiocy right up front and surround it with the most cliche-ridden sounds this side of the 101 Strings.
The remainder of the songs sound like the Doors alright, but they're pale shadows of their earlier works….
"Running Blue" is a superb example [of the excess of The Soft Parade]. It's hard to imagine Doors' poetry getting more excessive than it's been, but listen to this:
Poor Otis dead and gone
Left me here to sing his song
Pretty little girl with the red dress on
Poor Otis dead and gone.
And if, as Morrison himself says, the words don't count and the mood created is the important facet of the Doors' rock, then they've really bummed out on this one. The mood they've created is loud, dull boredom. There are some good images, some good musical licks, but it just isn't worth shuffling through the rest of this scree to find the few semi-precious stones.
What little good there is on the album is mostly in the title cut, "The Soft Parade." But the thing is so mangled, so jammed together and frequently so silly that it's kind of hard to listen all through its 8:40 for the good….
In any case, with this album, the Doors appear to be in the final stages of musical constipation. Morrison admits that they haven't done any new material in three years, and unless something drastic happens, the next album ought to be an epitaph.
Alec Dubro, "Records: 'Soft Parade'," in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1969; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Issue 40, August 23, 1969, p. 35.
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