The music industry has a tendency to label works as “classics,” and then move on from the particular work, forgetting about its power, significance, influence, and prowess in preference to the word “classic” instead. In remembering the Doors, their breakout 1967 album The Doors must be remembered, and not for its “classic” status, but rather, for its innovation, uniquity, and contribution to multiple genres.
The Doors approaches psychedelia far different than any album before its release. Taking on an intense, dark, hard-rock stance, their psychedelic rock focuses on the pressing questions of human nature and perception, steering away from the light, flowing nature of previous psychedelic rock and the psychedelic scene of the 60s in general. Experimentation is certainly present, but takes form as undulating, hypnotic rhythms. Dark melodies lure in the ear with almost seductive appeal. On top of that, the fusion of jazz and blues elements underscores the album with strings of spindly variation.
That being said, not every song is equal. Some tracks, usually the most popular in the Door’s discography, such as “Light My Fire,” take a romantic angle, and stand as the most pop-influenced tracks. On the other hand, more characteristically dark songs like “Alabama Song” and the 11 minute “The End” paint the album’s true character with organ-heavy and toned down instrumentation.
Thematically, The Doors can be explored through its name. Based off of Aldous Huxley’s essay “The Doors of Perception,” the tracks each explore deeply entrenched philosophies and mysteries, primarily brought by band frontman Jim Morrison. The pondering and almost poetic quality of lyrics by Morrison form the exploratory nature of the band, whether those explorations delve into perception, mankind, existence, or just love.
Rather than be labeled as dad rock or just common classic rock, the Doors and The Doors deserve to be recognized for what they truly are: explorations, enigmas, and true innovations.