The Soft Parade was released about a year after Waiting For The Sun and it found a far different Doors. Jim Morrison was in an alcoholic daze much of the time and working on solo projects. Robbie Krieger would be the central character in the creation of this album. He added some brass and strings in places and created a more pop/rock album than their previous releases. I don’t know if it’s the weakest of their six main studio albums but it is very different.
The album was the first time individual writing credits were issued rather than the compositions being attributed to The Doors as a group. It seemed Jim Morrison was not happy with some of Krieger’s lyrics and wanted to make sure the public knew he was not involved with their creation.
Four Krieger compositions were released as singles with varying degrees of success. The biggest hit and one of the better songs in their catalogue was “Touch Me.” The sound was fuller than most of their material and Morrison’s vocal is classic. It would reach number three on the American charts. “Tell All The People” was a song Morrison disliked to the extreme. I have always liked the song but then I also like Blood, Sweat & Tears, who could have recorded it and not missed a beat. “Runnin’ Blue” was a brass laden track on which Krieger and Morrison shared the lead vocals. “Wishful Sinful” was closer to the classic Doors sound but it was the flip side of the original single that was the gem .”Who Scared You” was a rare non-album B side and an excellent song in its own right.
Jim Morrison did write a number of tracks that were very different from Krieger’s which gave the album a disjointed feel. “Wild Child” was urgent, hypnotic, sensual, and dark. “Shaman’s Blues” was threatening and stripped down as it looked ahead to the group’s future. The title track clocked in at over eight minutes. It began with Jim Morrison ranting like a possessed preacher. The line “petition the Lord with prayer” was a look into his mind. The song takes off from there with tempo changes and mood swings.
The Soft Parade was an ambitious affair in some ways. It was also uneven and for many fans of The Doors, an acquired taste. It remains an interesting part of The Doors journey.
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