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Soft Parade
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2007
It's always been a BIG mystery to me why so many people are convinced the Soft Parade is the weakest of the six classic Jim Morrison Doors albums. To me, the songwriting is *just* as good as it has always been. I can't figure out what the problem is with all the negative opinions. A very solid and enjoyable Doors album.

"Tell All the People" has a melody very similar to "Touch Me", and it boggles the mind why "Touch Me" continues to receive all the classic rock radio play when it's not even the best song on the album. Sure, the horns are great, and the vocal melody is really beautiful, but it's NOT the best song on the album.

"Shaman's Blues" might be the very best song on the album. It's a blues song with a special mystical-like atmosphere. Plus it's just an exciting song. I love it. "Do It" has a chorus for a vocal melody and a guitar riff repeating for only a couple minutes. "Wild Child" has a chugging blues riff. It's a highly memorable track as well. You know, the whole album feels really good because it's so exciting and electric and mystical. Great stuff.

What would a Doors album be without a spooky chilling Jim Morrison vocal melody? That's what "Wishful Sinful" is for!

You won't hear rock music like this anymore. Oh, and the title song is over eight minutes of jamming, and not much atmosphere (which is what separates it from stuff like "The End" and "When the Music's Over"). It's more musically focused in comparison. Overall, a very solid effort.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2007
I don't quite know what to think about this remix/remaster. On one hand, there is greater clarity and detail, the recording breathes, and the instruments are well defined in their own space. On the other hand, it lacks fullness and warmth due to being lower-midrange deficient, and it is slightly bass-shy. How many times are they going to sell this to me before they finally get it right?

The remix is another issue: I have nothing against remixing classic titles when they try to duplicate the original mix in an effort to improve the overall sound quality. I also don't have a problem when they remix to deliberately alter the music, but I'm not sure if they don't belong in a box set or as bonus tracks. In this case, the only significant alteration occurs on the title track, and I don't care for it. Unfortunately it's not presented as a bonus track, but as a part of the original album.

This smells like another attempt to simply sell us the same title again. All I want is an identical remix, remastered to sound as good as possible - but if they did that, I wouldn't have to buy it again!

Edit 9-26-10: Audio Fidelity recently released an audiophile version of this, and it sounds quite good. There have been problems with their releases, and this one is no exception, but overall, it is definitely the one to buy.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
In August of 1969 Rolling Stone wrote, "The Soft Parade is worse than infuriating, it's sad. It's sad because one of the most potentially moving forces in rock has allowed itself to degenerate. A trite word, but true." Well I don't know about all that, what I do know is that Rolling Stone Magazine seemed to be embracing other soft breezes of the time, but for some reason felt it necessary to unhinge The Doors for the path they were taking.

August of 1969 saw the unfolding of Woodstock, it also saw me folding as much as I could stuff into an olive drab footlocker, stenciling my name across the top, and shipping it out ahead of me ... destination, Vietnam. Like Morrison, I seem to have stepped off the planet as well, though with a stack of musical rags under my arm. Let me sort through some of these issues and clippings and tell you what filtered though my head that hot August in the summer of 1969, and attempt to show you why The Doors had no choice but to release this album.

-Morrison moves full throttle from the loveliness of psychedelics, to the bottomless pit of booze ...
-Morrison even more than before doubts the quality of his voice, even though The Village Voice credits him as the vocalist of the year ...
-Morrison moves from Elvis Presley as his favorite singer to Frank Sinatra and the seamy underbelly of Las Vegas ... truly the town that never sleeps ...
-Morrison is no longer just the music, Morrison has become a spectacle, he's unwinding and loosing himself ...
-Morrison is going crazy, no longer is he able to separate himself from the stage, the studio, or on the street, he's become a reflection that's colliding with the mirror, and shattering ...
-Ray Manzarek and Morrison publish individual songwriting credits ...
-The Soft Parade takes nearly a year to finish, with the band doing literally hundreds of takes, butting headlong with Rothchild's incessant need for perfection, seamlessness, and a smooth bright quality that Fleetwood Mac would soon embrace, but due to equipment limitations just out of reach, The Soft Parade was never able to find that full bodied, fill the room sound ...

So when people tell you that The Doors have lost their edge on The Soft Parade, creating an album that's too clean, too filtered, and lacks direction ... to them I'd say, that with the circumstances of the times, The Doors created an exceptional body of work that may not come to be appreciated for many years yet, though when it is, there will be lots jumping on board to save face. The biggest thing to come out of The Soft Parade, was the one hundred and eighty degree turn the band did on Waiting For The Sun, and more than returning to their edgy roots.

Now, I've had this argument before, and at this point, what the other person says here is, "But Jenell, Soft Parade is limited to a mere three great tracks ... Touch Me, Shaman's Blues, and Wild Child." And I'm supposed to argue with that? No way, I'll agree with that and then ask them to show me other albums that have three killer songs like those, along with the brilliant [so called] fluff of Touch Me, Wishful Sinful, or Tell All The People. The Soft Parade was an unparalleled success, it may not have been what the fans, who only want more of what they already know, wanted ... but never the less, it's a hands down masterpiece that deserves its place in musical history.

The album charted at number 6 in the US, and did almost nothing in Europe, though if one considers that The Doors themselves did little to support the release, that's a home run in anyone's book. Are there albums from The Doors that I'd suggest people listen to before The Soft Parade? Of course, and there are albums by The Beatles I'd suggest people listen to before Sgt. Pepper. Add to all of this the fact that The Doors so flawlessly meshed what they'd developed here, using it to resounding acclaim on L.A. Woman, and I think there are a lot of folks who sadly just want to downplay this period in the history of The Doors. So, while The Doors may not have blown a 50-amp fuse here on The Soft Parade, I certainly got what I needed.

Review by Jenell Kesler
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2007
I don't have much of an opinion about the remastering, other than to note that it sounds clear and I really enjoy the music. I consider the original a 3-star album. If you like The Doors, you'll like the original. My particular favorites include Shaman's Blues, Wild Child and the title track.

The Rhino remix includes several additional tracks including Who Scared You and 2 versions of Whisky, Mystics and Men. These tracks are hard to find elsewhere, very strong, and bump this version of the CD up to 4 stars.
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61 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2004
"The Soft Parade", The Doors' fourth album, struggles to be musically inventive. What made the first two albums so wonderfully successful is their very unique sound, and that sound encapsulated the growing, revolutionary thought processes that were spreading throughout America's youth at the time of the 1960s. The Doors were both original and very much of their time, although those first two records never feel dated. Then The Doors released "Waiting for the Sun", which has several good songs, but only approaches the quality of the first two records in isolated moments. After the wake of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and all the psychedelic music that was coming out at the time, The Doors decided to do their own version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". By this, I mean they decided to totally reinvent their sound and style and popular music in general, giving the world a radical look how high rock and roll can really climb on the artistic ladder. Unfortunately, The Doors were never as consistently good as The Beatles, and instead of turning in an amazing LP, we end up with the weakest set of songs The Doors ever put to tape.

To understand the state of "The Soft Parade", it helps to look at the album before that, "Waitng for the Sun". The Doors seem to operate in twos, with their first two records brilliant, their middle two rather mediocre, their last two good blues albums, and then there's the two (out of print) records The Doors made after Morrison's death ("Other Voices" and ""Full Circle"). "Waiting for the Sun" was little more than a holding action, product put out because they had to, although there are some great songs on it. At least on "The Soft Parade" they were trying to do something different, even though it ends up being just as mediocre an album as its predecessor.

The Doors talk about the `third album syndrome' effecting "Waiting for the Sun". They had handpicked their best material for their debut, then the rest went onto "Strange Days". At the third album, they were in a quandry, because all their best material had already been issued. The Doors found it difficult to write compelling, commercial songs, and so turned in their rather lackluster third album. What really hurt "Waiting for the Sun" was the decision to cut "Celebration of the Lizard," which would have been a very long opus taking up the majority of the second side of the song. So when it came time to record "The Soft Parade", The Doors wanted to strike out in a different direction.

While not wholly a failure, "The Soft Parade" turns out to be, along with "Waiting for the Sun", The Doors' weakest album. By this time, Morrison was so out of control Kreiger wrote half the tracks on the album, and it shows. (Also, Morrison didn't want to be credited with calling people to get their guns on the first track). Because the third album didn't have a real tangible identity as far as sound goes, The Doors wisely decided to reinvent themselves and broaden their musical horizons.

While we must admire them for this ambition, the end results are very mixed. Taking over eight months to record, the album proved a difficult record to make. In the end, Morrison described the album the band trying to do something new but that it got bogged down. How true.

Trading in their psychedelic sound they so successfully displayed on their first two records, we get a big band sound instead. The reason they turned from this sound was by the third album the well was clearly running dry. On several of the songs this new sound works, especially the first three tracks. If the rest of the songwriting had been as strong as it was on the first three, then "The Soft Parade" would stand proudly among The Doors' best work. Unfortunately, this is not the case. "The Soft Parade", quite simply, boasts the weakest set of the original six albums. "Do It," "Easy Ride," and "Running Blue," simply don't gel, though "Running Blue" is a very funny song. The title track I really like for about the first four minutes. I find the last (and longest) musical section gets rather monotonous as the song [goes on for over eight minutes] [ploughs onward,] lurches toward its closing eight minute running time. And where is "Who Scared You?" Had "Do It" been deleted and that included in the running order, the album would be much stronger. "Shaman's Blues" is a masterpiece, and "Wild Child" harkens back to that dark, careening undercurrent of their first two albums. Very good song. "Wishful Sinful" is nice as well.

By this point in their career, The Doors were rather falling apart artistically, no thanks to Morrison's increasingly difficult behaviour. After turning in two rather lackluster LPs after two great albums, The Doors seemed headed on a downward spiral. Fortunately, The Doors went into the blues after this album, producing two good albums (even though they couldn't touch the first two's quality) before Morrison died.

Overall, I admire The Doors for their ambition in trying to come up with a highly artistic, progressive record. I just wish they had done a better job at it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
First I have to admit that this was never my favorite Doors album. The writing is inconsistent. The band though decided along with their producer to tackle something they'd never done before--create an album with elaborate orchestral arrangements. On songs like "Touch Me" and the opening track the orchestra adds nice color to the band's music. Guitarist Robby Kreiger provides most of the tunes here and while he isn't the best lyricist, the music more than makes up for his shortcomings in that area. "Shaman's Blues" and "Wild Child" are two other highlights that contrast nicely with the experimentation of using a full orchestra and the rambling but fascinating title track.

Steve Hoffman completes his remastering of The Doors catalog with this album and "Morrison Hotel" (which is a strong album than this but isn't quite as varied). "The Soft Parade" has never sounded so good on CD. Hoffman does a nice job with the album and provides us with two bonus tracks for comparison--the remixed versions of "The Soft Parade", "Touch Me" from the recently remixed/remastered effort by original engineer Bruce Botnick. It's nice to compare the two and while the remixes sound really good, I prefer the original analog two track masters as presented here to the remixes. They have a bit more punch and character.

Interestingly, if you look at the sound waves there does appear to be some peak limiting on the track "Touch Me" but unless you listen for it very carefully you might not hear it (you'd have to listen to it on exceptional equipment). Nevertheless, "The Soft Parade" sounds exceptionally good. I haven' heard an explanation as to WHY it appears that some peak limiting appears to be going on when the packaging mentions that no peak limiting has been used.

We get a booklet with the original lyrics included as part of the package as well. This is available in a limited numbered edition so if you are a big Doors fan you'll probably want to snatch this up as soon as possible. While it might seem redundant in the wake of the remixed/remastered catalog reissued last year, these are the best sounding versions of the original mixes I've heard.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2004
This album has receive in the past and still to this day a lot of negative feedback. I realize that everyone has the right to voice their own opinion but I actually like this album.The Doors were experimenting with a lot of new and different sounds on THE SOFT PARADE and is clear that they were trying to perhaps confuse their listeners and they succeeded I believe but this album has a strong dosage of blues, rock and even a little funk but overall is a very well crafted album and the songs are very original and they are all very different. This album is perhaps the strangest that band had recorded up to that point but that doesn't diminish the great quality of the music contained herein. TELL ALL THE PEOPLE, is perhaps my favorite track on the album and I really like Jim Morrison's voice on this one, it is very clear and direct. TOUCH ME, was ofcourse the album's big hit and a great song to listen to this one is definately a Doors classic. WISHFUL SINFUL is another great song in which Jim's voice is really good as is the rest of the band. EASY RIDE, I think is really funny, I laugh sometimes when I listen to it and it is not out of disrepect to The Doors by any means but that is my take on the song, it is fast and has a strong country feel to it. RUNNIN BLUE, is another good one and a bit funny as well but still a good song. The album title song THE SOFT PARADE, is a real trip to listen to like Jim says in the beginning "this is the best part of the trip, the part I really like, proud to be a part of this number". Is a cool and long song to listen to. Finally I would just like to add that this may not have been The Doors best selling album or their greatest masterpiece but with all the negative reviews that it has receive in the past, THE SOFT PARADE still stands as one of The Doors most original and eloquentely conceived recordings. A must for any Doors fan.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2000
This fourth album by The Doors, "The Soft Parade," is probably their most ambitious album (though not necessarily their best). For this one they brought in a full orchestra to add strings and horns to their already definitive sound. The highlight of this one is the title cut, "The Soft Parade," a four-part offering that begins with an almost wistful feeling and escalates into blood-pumping, straight out rousing rock, played over Jim Morrison's cryptic and enigmatic lyrics (Catacombs/ nursery bones/ winter women growing stones/ carrying babies to the river). Also included is the poetic "Wishful Sinful," a song somehow benignly disturbing when you consider the darkness of the message that emerges from such a lilting melody: "Wishful, sinful/ wicked blue/ water covers you/ wishful, sinful/ wicked you/ can't escape the blue." There's a promise of freedom (but at a cost) in the anthem-like "Tell All The People (Can't you see me growing/ get your guns/ the time has come/ to follow me down)." The most well known cut from this album is "Touch Me," with lyrics by Robby Krieger and an interpretation by Morrison that is open to speculation. More equivocal lyrics accentuate "Shaman's Blues (Did you stop to consider/ how it will feel/ cold grinding grizzly bear jaws/ hot on your heels), during which another Morrison persona emerges, one apparently close to his heart and in being with his connection to the earth. A call to the youth of the world to step forward and take charge of their destiny is the subtle message of "Do It," while the eternal quest for freedom of mind and soul come to the fore in "Wild Child," which ends with the cryptic "You remember when we were in Africa?" which helps to fuel the myth that Morrison "pulled a Rimbaud" and actually disappeared into the Dark Continent in 1971. Rounding out "The Soft Parade" are "Easy Ride," and "Runnin' Blue." Listening now to this album from the distance of years, Morrison's insights and attitudes seem every bit as powerful now as they did then. When all is said and done, this was a guy who had a lot to say, and he is much more than the voice of a generation gone by; the songs here are further proof that The Doors were, and are, a force to be reckoned with, and their impact on society and a world diminishing in size and resources daily is still being felt. There are those who would dismiss rock n' roll out-of-hand, and it's time, perhaps, for them to listen to The Doors; for the words and music here can put a whole new spin on things. After all, it's all a matter of perspective. And great music, which is what this album provides.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I don't care if it sounds "pop." I don't care if it has strings. I don't care who thinks the album is a "sell out." I've even heard the mighty Jim Morrison didn't much like it, but I don't care, I just don't care.

I love it.

Sure, "Morrison Hotel" and "LA Woman" ARE funkier. "The Doors" is the record that set THE standard for this kind of music (the boys didn't make "Strange Days" for me, so I won't comment about it).

Regardless, this is a solid, meaty record that I have enjoyed on a regular basis since the day it dropped, and I'm as serious a Doors fan as anyone who will read this. What really matters is that the record is fun (yes, it is, and it's okay to be fun), it's cool, and it is the Doors, for pity's sake. What more do you want?

When I hear people quibble about this album, I'm always reminded of the people who claim that there are too many songs on the Beatles' "White album." No there weren't, and there's nothing at all wrong with this record either.

The song, "Soft Parade" has always been a favorite of mine, and I can dance to "Touch Me" without beer. What else do you need?

No qualifications. This is a great record. Try it out.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2002
Let me just say that it cracks me up when people claim the Doors we're turning into a teen band by the time this album came out.. IT's CALLED TRYING SOMETHING NEW PEOPLE! This Album was an album the Doors wanted to do to try something different... it contains some of the greatest poet-rock lyrics out there and anyone that bashes the album clearly Isn't a TRUE fan... Runnin Blue is possibly one of the great good time songs ever recorded and a great tribute to otis redding... Also The Soft Parade song is MAYBE the most innovative songs of the 60's and it paved the way for alot of the electronic music out there today... Of Course for the fans who only have like pure top 10 hits, this ISN'T THE ALBUM for you... But For True Doors Fans who want to hear the Doors at there Artistic peak, this is the album for you! THE SOFT PARADE HAS NOW BEGUN!and once you pop it in you're stereo, YOU'LL NEVER WANT IT TO END!
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