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Lester Bangs

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 212

[Thirteen is] a total, A-1 rock 'n' roll album, worthy of a place of honor in anybody's collection….

One heretofore somewhat clouded point brought out by the release of this set in an era when the Hit has given way to the gnawingly personal statement, is that the Doors at their best laid down tracks that were absolutely clear, architecturally impeccable, with no part missing and no dross left in. Ah, weren't those the days, when songs like "Hello, I Love You" and "Light My Fire" hit the radio, as catchy as regular AM pap but far more gutsy and infused with the rather wry sense of humor (it shows up best in some of their most "serious" songs) that too few have given the Doors credit for.

Take that and add some of their best LP tracks, near-perfectly chosen (the only conspicuously absent greats are "Break On Through" and "Five to One"), like "Roadhouse Blues" and "Moonlight Drive," and you have the supreme statement from an uneven, occasionally brilliant band with enough unfulfilled promise to make me think they could have been an American Rolling Stones had they sustained themselves.

Lester Bangs, "Records: 'Thirteen'," in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1971; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Issue 74, January 7, 1971, p. 52.

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