Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., Dec. 8, 2006
Perception (Rhino)The Doors' catalog has already been reissued more times than Kramer has apologized, but nowadays the Stones, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Springsteen, and, for God's sakes, even Rush and Journey get more classic-rock love than Jim Morrison's UCLA film crew. Public favor waxes and wanes with every mouse click, so it's easy to forget what made the SoCal quartet so compelling when debut The Doors arrived in January 1967: their British Invasion-baiting blues, the filthiest yet played by an American rock band; their effortless seduction of Europeans, for exactly that reason; and Morrison's alternately shamanistic and solipsistic visions, which guided listeners either into new realms of chemically assisted consciousness or a ditch. Not even 41Ú2 years elapsed between their debut and Morrison's April 1971 swan song L.A. Woman, but Perception their first six studio albums, again spells out eternity for these four changelings: the stunning symphonic imagination of The Doors; alternately thrilling and tedious middle period of Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun, and The Soft Parade; and the double-barreled creative renaissance, cut short by Morrison's July 1971 overdose, of Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman. Rhino's latest repackaging has all the usual 21st-century bells and whistles 5.1 mixes, photo galleries and various TV appearances on DVD, umpteen alternate takes of "Roadhouse Blues" polishing the same old Sixties signifiers: sex, death, blues, drugs, reptiles. A pristine-sounding walk down the nostalgia aisle for some, a potentially life-changing lesson in indulgence and restraint for their kids. Or, realistically, grandkids.