Jim Morrison Patricia Kennely - Essay

Patricia Kennely

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Run, do not walk—nay, teleport yourself—to the nearest record store and take this record home with you, 'cause the Doors can still do it and we all ought to be glad and I hope it shuts up the bad-rappers for good and all.

The Soft Parade: none of it is bad; most of it is very superior music and some of it is absolutely glorious. (p. 40)

[The] real beauty of The Soft Parade (album) lies in Shaman's Blues and The Soft Parade (song)—and, to a lesser extent, Runnin' Blue. None of these songs sounds like anything the Doors have done before: they are all technically sophisticated, well-balanced, and definitely positive in statement, and I hope like hell that they are indicative of the new direction the Doors appear to be taking: because if that is the case, gonna be a lot of doomsayers standin' round with their faces hanging out, and that would please me mightily. On that hypothesis, I will proceed.

Shaman's Blues, then, is a Morrison-composed, scatty-sounding amalgam of jazz and blues…. There's some obscure recitative at the end: all in all, a surprisingly beautiful song and to my mind one of the Doors' very best….

The song [The Soft Parade] is built on tidal shifts of music and kinetics, declamatory poem trips: sections strung together like contrasting beads of melody and surreality. (p. 41)

Patricia Kennely, "Record Reviews: 'The Soft Parade'," in Jazz & Pop (© 1969 by Jazz Press Inc.; reprinted by permission of the author), Vol. 8, No. 10, October, 1969, pp. 40-1.

[Jim Morrison] gambols through indulgent "Bitter grazing in sick pastures" [in The Lords and the New Creatures]. His characteristic fascination with incest, decay, death and dismemberment is all there; man retreats from reality into image, religion, alchemy, cinema…. Provoking protest, subtle as a grenade, Morrison is equally sure of violent dislike or allegiance. When he's good, he can transform even the unrecognizable into the commonplace.

"Non-Fiction: 'The Lords and the New Creatures'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1970 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVIII, No. 5, March 1, 1970, p. 304.