61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"Strange Days" was The Doors' sophomore effort, the attempt at bringing back for another round the kind of feverish, poetic magic attained in their classic debut. Few follow-ups have achieved the kind of artistic, sonic accomplishments The Doors got here which is why many consider "Strange Days" their best effort, second only to their first album. Now in light of the 40th anniversary of the band's introduction to the world, Doors engineer Bruce Botnick has taken all their albums and remixed them from the original master tapes, what he achieves here, as with the remastered debut, is a complete resurrection of a classic recording. The album now breathes and screams with fierce energy and detail. The opening title track is now a true gothic opus as the effect of the first synthesizers is better appreciated in Jim Morrison's menacing delivery of a world gone insane. John Densmore's drums are heavy and intense while Ray Manzarek's organ is more defined. "Love Me Two Times" is a ferocious blues rocker with a killer bass now more audible while the creepiness of "Horse Latitudes," a spoken-word piece Morrison wrote in high school, is more striking this time as many of the layered effects are clearer. "Moonlight Drive" has better piano/organ parts. Some purists have been scoffing at the remixing, claiming these are not the same albums. This is a wrong analysis, what Botnick has done is create a more clear, defined piece considering the older recordings suffered from the original technological setbacks of the 60s and in the case of the first album even the speed was off. Solos and instrumentals are easier to hear now and the sound quality is superior to anything previously released. This is the same debate that was sparked in 2002 when "Elvis: 30 #1 Hits" was released and was also bashed for taking the original masters and remixing them. These are the same songs, same vocals, same instrumentals, simply put back together to sound as they were originally intended to sound. "My Eyes Have Seen You For Example" has a sharper bass and piano section. Morrison's voice never plowed under, it is even more ferocious in this mix. The great epic "When The Music's Over" is a glorious powerhouse of musical expression and poetics mixed with rock. Morrison's frantic screams are brought up and Robby Krieger's masterful solo is also more detailed here. The song is a timeless work that is fitting for our current, uncertain times. In it Morrison speaks for a world caught in a war and a youth culture waiting to explode. If only he had known that in the Bush/Iraq era, his words would still be perfect for the times. "Strange Days" itself was originally released in 1968, right when Vietnam was starting to heat-up and more and more young Americans were returning in bodybags as others took to the streets. And yet what sets The Doors apart from other bands of the era is that their music is fitting for all times, all moods, because darkness is an ever present reality. Morrison was ahead of his time, this is more clear now than ever. His black leather-clad image of a wild, poetic frontman has been emulated countless times over, even his stage attitude was a precedent for Iggy Pop and Punk, listen to "Horse Latitudes" and you can see where Patti Smith was spawned. "Strange Days" is one of those great rock n' roll albums that will live on as long as there is music in the world, Jim Morrison will remain an icon for generations of rebels and the sound the Doors produced is set in stone. Now remixed and remastered, this album lives again, more potent, more dangerous than ever.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This release is worth the money-if you have a SACD player. I closed my eyes and listened and I seemed to be in a small room listening to a live band, The sound was open and clean. The surround mix was amazing even startling at times. This and the first album are my two most favorite Doors releases. I also listened to it on my computer speakers (Logitech THX 2.1 Channel) and the sound in stereo was excellent, also. I find myself wishing I could play the multichannel in my car as well-maybe someday if SACD goes mainstream. I also bought the first album, Morrison Hotel and LA Woman over a 2-3 week period. I tried "The Doors" first and that convinced me to get this one -and my wife-after listening to the first two, wanted Morrison Hotel, after which I went for LA Woman. I am not disappointed with any of them.
85 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Strange why you would mess with a classic.
This is NOT the original recording. It has been remixed. Bad idea. I don't understand why the Doors albums were remastered in 1999, but only released in the US in that box set. The '99 remasters sounded great. But remixed?? I think even the average listener would be able to tell that something just doesn't sound right here. It isn't the same classic recordings you're used to hearing.
Now, why am I against the remixes? Well, for one, it opens the door to reinterpretation. I mean, why not get a whole host of remixers for the project? You could have today's top DJs remixing classic albums from every era. You could buy the Scissors Sisters version of People Are Strange for when you want that combination of Jim Morrison and super sexy deep club beats. Why not just put the raw tracks on DVD audio and let the listener "remix" for themselves? Maybe you could get some guest musicians to add tracks to the original recordings. I mean, maybe what LA Woman really needs is a Slash guitar solo. Or how about getting Linkin Park to add some crunchy heaviness and rapping to When The Music's Over?
Do you get the point? If you start rearranging the past, where do you stop? And now these remixed CDs are taking the place of the original catalog, so new listeners will be hearing something totally different than what we originally heard and fell in love with. Classics are classics for a reason. Remastering for higher fidelity is one thing, but remixing, rearranging, and reinterpreting are quite another.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The strangeness of this album is indicated not merely by the title, but also by the obscure photography source.'Alabama Song', from the first album, is a compostion by a strange musician from early century Germany named Kurt Weill, and was originally sung by his wife, the gritty songstress Lotte Lenya.This street on the cover, is where Weill and Lenya were prominently photographed.The Doors were obviously quite taken by this unusual looking place.The characters spookily and humourously gracing this street here on "Strange Days", further enhance the European sentiments of this album.The Doors are of course, an American rock group.But the underlaying mood is here is most definitely not of Americam typicality.The cynicism of the Berlin cabaret scene, of which 'Alabama Song' is an infamous part, runs steadily through almost every song on "Strange Days".A cynicism, which is in contrast to the slick pizazz of the Broadway cabaret culture of the Doors' countrymen.
The man with the fingers(Manzarek) must have dislodged the sound mechanism from some showground carousel to produce his contribution.It's a very different treatment to the upfront, clear and unreverbed sound of the first album's organ.This pretty musicality though, is set-off by excedingly dark lyrics, sung with the utmost gloom.The slide guitaring by Krieger sums up this contradictory sentiment with perfection.I often don't know whether to smile or to fear.Add to this Densmore's odd-ball choice of rhythms, and suddenly the carousel organ doesn't seem so pretty anymore.With the Doors, it's never really darkness by obvious means.They incorporate niceties, then display the perverted relationships that can exist with such things.
'Strange Days', organly chord-grinds its album name-sake onto the scene, true to its word.'You're Lost Little Girl', with an easily detectable bass-line, recieves delicate treatment from Krieger's guitar and Morrison's voice.I find this album's ballads to contain his career's most pleasant singing.'Love Me Two Times' is perhaps the only track which steps outside of this album's induction of emotional confusion.I've always loved the song's well-executed rhythmic interuptions.
Ray 'the Man' zarek, swirls throughout 'Unhappy Girl' like a Dutch organ-grinder with tulips painted on every of the instruments panels.And Krieger has no shame in bending the same note at the end of nearly every single phrase of the song.Semi-playfully, yet eerily aswell.
Next onboard, are broken pianos rollocking on a pirate's ship.A woman ghost,(maybe named Mary Celeste?) wearing a white laced dress flayling in the wind, and shipmates are screaming as the ship goes down, beneath the psychotic waves.Pain.This is 'Horse Latitudes'.(Actually a sea-fearing expression, perhaps likening the sea's power to that of a horse).It can't possibly mean anything.It's merely a dream.No melody to be found, it is a poetry reading atop sound tapestry.'Moonlight Drive' is quite American, but hangs onto the album's vague experimental theme due to excessive guitar-neck slithery, like a hyper-active child insisting on expressing every impulse simultaneously.
'People Are Strange', has arguably Morrison's best, most coherent lyrics.They're even cited in psychology text-books to describe inner symptoms of the global illness which is depression.City life lends itself to feelings of isolation.People are too rushed and enslaved to afford reassuring glances with each other as they're passing by.So, it's easy to feel alone and uncared for.'People Are Strange' is the soundtrack I have playing in my head in such circumstances, just as those confidently strutting down the city street would have 'Stayin Alive' by the Bee Gees as their soundtrack.(Cheesy, I know.But lets face it... if you're STRUTTING, you're already in a cheesy mood anyway).
'My Eyes Have Seen You' rocks itself into the perimeter of passible normalcy.But, bizarre traces just adhere it to this albums rule; The days must remain strange.'I Can't See Your Face In My Mind' introduces a marimba(Central American) with slightly Japanese inclinations.A soft brushing keeps rhythm with this gentille, musical snail.'When The Music's Over' retains the first album's screatchy organ, and the ocean-deep bass-line is well worthy of the song's extenuous length.Its primal creepiness, drags the album home... clawing and screaming!
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I've yet to hear a Doors album I didn't like. That said, I enjoy "Strange Days" above any other Doors work, including the multiple "Best Of" compilations that have been released throughout the years.
This is one of those rare works where both the music and the lyrics stay powerful from the first track to the last. We hear several wonderful pieces familiar to the casual Doors listener like "Love Me Two Times," and "Moonlight Drive."
But the rest of the album isn't just filler. This is one tight and clear selection of tunes that all had potential to be hits. "Horse Latitudes" is a brief but chilling narration by Jim Morrison, and "My Eyes Have Seen You" is --in my opinion-- the most overlooked songs in the Doors repetoire. This song has a surreal flowing beat and dreamy lyrics that gives that personifies that psychedelic flavor that The Doors are known for.
Many feel the songs on "Strange Days" are some of The Doors' darkest imagery. I can understand why they feel that way; but there is such a gentle flow to the music that I actually find soothing, with "Horse Latitudes" being the only pure haunting Guajardian piece on the album. This album is surreal in parts and sweet in others. This CD is one of the most complete albums I have ever heard.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
"Strange Days" is one of the great rock albums of all time. It is The Doors' second best album and fittingly, it was released right after their greatest LP of all time, their debut effort "The Doors." It features some of the band's most timeless music and a few of their most popular songs. If "The Doors" contained the exhilarating fever and emotion of the band as seen in songs like "Break On Through" and "Light My Fire," then "Strange Days" is a trip down the darker realms of poetry and melody that have made the band so enduring to this day. The opening song, "Strange Days," is visceral, hypnotic and contains some of Jim Morrison's darkest, strangest and disturbing lyrics and vocals. The echo effect and Ray Manzarek's organ give the song an atmospheric quality that makes this one of the band's all-time greatest tracks. This is also the record that contains "Moonlight Drive," the song Manzarek says Morrison first sang to him on a California beach and convinced him of their musical possibilities. It is a dreamy tune, with wonderful, poetic lyrics and Robby Krieger playing some of his trademark slide guitar. One of the gems here is undeniably "People Are Strange," it is one of The Doors' most popular songs and surely one of their best. It is wonderfully melodic and alluring and perfectly sets the mood for what it is about. Today, even more than in the 60s, it perfectly captures the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Recently Goth bands like Nosferatu and more alternative artists like Stina Nordenstam have recorded this song, but it is never more captivating or even disturbing than when Morrison is singing it. Another classic here is "Love Me Two Times." It is one of the band's best blues songs and one of their funnest jams with some of Robby Krieger's best lyrics and inventive guitar playing. Aerosmith has done a roaring cover but this is THE version of course. The masterpiece though, is "When The Music's Over." This song is a true rock epic, it expanded The Doors' experimentation with extended tracks as they did with "The End" and is just as captivating as that other classic. "When The Music's Over" is visceral and Morrison really comes off here in his poet, prophet, genius persona. Here we find the immortal yell: "We want the world and we want it...NOW!" "Strange Days" is an example of truly timeless modern music, it shows why The Doors transcend cultures and generations. It embodies why this band remains one of the most influential bands in not just rock but popular culture as a whole as well. It contains the melodies that have sprouted current movements like the Goth Rock groups and Industrial bands. Jim Morrison never lived to see the impact he left on rock music for all time, but he left us songs that are truly classical in that they will endure and keep touching people. Here is one of the masterpieces of theatric, artistic and visceral music.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
October 1967: The Doors' second album is released.
The first release by the Doors, their self-titled album that contained the increasingly famous "Light my Fire" and the increasingly infamous "The End", had become a bestseller in the few months that passed between the date it was issued and the date the second album, STRANGE DAYS, was first seen in record stores. However, it was a fine distance that existed between the songwriting quality and production on the first release and the quality and production on the second release. The band would never put forth an album like STRANGE DAYS again in their career; filled with ear-catching soundscapes, bizarre melodies, and complex arrangements, not one track on the 35-minute work is a waste of time.
The incredible set of songs present here include the piece-du-resistance, another 11-minute masterpiece entitled "When the Music's Over". While not as gripping as the previous lengthy centerpiece featured on the first work, "Music" is by far more entertaining, reaching climax after climax and driven by a persistant bassline, bluesy guitar, and the usually interesting Morrison-penned lyrics. Unlike "The End", I was able to listen to the entire composition without having to look at the timer on my stereo once. The shorter, more concise demonstrations of brilliance featured alongside the aforementioned work include the catchy, incredible "Love me Two Times", with lyrics by Robbie Kreiger that are forgivable because he's obviously TRYING to emulate classic blues verses. My personal favorite Doors song is the eerie, shimmeringly beautiful "You're Lost Little Girl", which may be the only tune by the group that features a pretty melody. The memorable "Moonlight Drive" is arranged here to the nth degree, but that makes the piece even more effective as the designated "party" song. The two throwaways "My Eyes have Seen You" and "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind" are actually better than the more-cabaret-than-Alabama-Song-but-still-more-convincing-mega-hit "People Are Strange", the latter for being an maddeningly psychedelic, enticing ballad, and the former for being the scariest (and probably most powerful) thing on the entire album. The introductory "Strange Days" lives up to its title, and is an ominous display of the new studio techniques the Doors would heavily employ throughout the record, and "Unhappy Girl" is the absolute pinnacle of entertainingly over-produced excercises. (By the way, they're both stellar tracks). Understandably, the worst track is "Horse Latitudes", but the Residents-esque "music" behind Jim's poetic readings succeeds in creating a grim effect, and daring, dramatic excursions like this are what made Jim Morrison famous--are they not?
All in all, this is by far the best Doors album; it is reccomended you purchase the first record before this, but don't expect to be truly blown away until you put on your headphones to enter the musical carnival of "Strange Days".
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Elektra has re-released all the Doors CD. They uploaded the master tapes to 24 bit/96khz (nearly SACD quality) and then remapped it back to regular CD format (16bit/44khz). The result is much more dynamic and accurate. If your copy doesn't say 24bit, throw it out and get the new ones. The biggest sonic improvement since the creation of the CD!
Rivals their self-titled album, "Strange Days" is one of the best Rock Albums of all time.
I remember it was if it were yesterday, Merriwether Post Pavilion summer, 1968. The rest of the Doors were on stage, tuning up, Morrison was more than a half hour late. The impatient audience stomped feet and chanted. Suddenly Morrison at the back, in leather pants and snakeskin boots, no shirt, ran down the thousand steps, reached the stage and fell flat on his face. He moaned. he moaned more. Band played "da da da da da Dah". A girl yelled "why doesn't someone help him??? Manzarek put a mike near him so we could hear the moans louder. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhh" Suddenly he shot up ten feet in the air. "AHH I'm a Back Door Man!" and the Doors launched into the Willie Dixon blues classic.
In '68 we thought Strange Days was their best. But the Doors got little airplay and were NOT Rock Gods in their time. Less popular than, say, "Canned Heat" or "Quicksilver Messenger Service"! Morrison and his dark Romantic, Wagernian Love-Death songs, like a 60's Baudelaire.
This CD contains their ultimate Love-Death statement, "Moonlight Drive" which Morrison penned before there was The Doors. "Come on, Baby, gonna drown tonight! Goin' down, down". The Music Concert "Horse Latitudes" which is about Spanish Conquestadors coming to America in ships and the captains ejecting horses when the ship gets becalmed. He wrote this for English class as a junior at George Washington HS, Alexandria, VA!
In "Lost Little Girl", Densmore and Mazarek laid down the drum and bass track, then played them back backwards before adding the vocal and guitar. "Love Me Two Times" may be their best boogie Blues song. Morrison loved the Blues and wrote more as time went on. "When the Music is Over" is a performance piece, not unlike "The End" but with ecology as the theme instead of Oedipus Rex. In '68, amid riots, LBJ and the VietNam war, we found "We want the World and we want it NOW" quite an appealing idea! Nixon hated him, put him on the Enemies List, made sure he was prosecuted. Depending on the story you believe, Morrison may well have killed himself with drugs or alcohol rather than go to prision on the trumped-up public indecency charges, after fighting the Nixon dominated courts for two years. And sometimes "People are Strange"! The sinister paranoia of "Looking at the city under Television Skies".
The musicianship, the precision from the whole group, the cohesion, is rarely found on any album before or since.
Let's clear up some nonsense, Morrison had some bad habits. He drank. He was a dark visionary, a poet, a shaman and a showman with a great sense of theater. He was not a satanist. He was lived a life more like Lord Byron than Anton Levay. I'm sure he would find the rumours of satanism quite amusing, were he still with us.
And when asked in Crawdaddy magazine, he said his "favorite singer was Frank Sinatra". We thought it was a put-on. It wasn't. Listen carefully to his singing register and phrasing.
I have to add that I was a music critic for my college newspaper. I listened to a lot of junk, but this album and "Buffalo Springfield Again", received my highest rating a long time ago. Both are still all-time classics, and both have a special place in my heart.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
STRANGE DAYS, like the best music of the major bands of 1960s, encapsulates the disillusionment of the youth and a need for a radical reordering of society. In many ways, STRANGE DAYS is The Doors' best album. Dark, melodic, and richly poetic, nowhere else do they manage to create such a compelling portrait of the blossoming counterculture. Gone is the more poppy elements of their debut. Instead, The Doors fill STRANGE DAYS with songs about lost girls, isolation ("People Are Strange"), radically shifting cultural norms (title cut), and psychedelic epic poetry about wanting the world and wanting it right now ("When the Music's Over)". "Love Me Two Times," a song about a solider going away to Viet Nam and wanting to be with his lover, expresses the frustration that many felt at that senseless war. "Moonlight Drive," the song Jim sung to Manzarek when he wanted to start a band, is a love song, but one that turns musical convention on its head. "Horse Latitudes," a wonderfully odd, very disturbing recording of Morrison reading one of his poems, further contributes to the very dark, moody atmosphere that the band successfully maintains throughout the entire album. "When the Music's Over," a brooding masterpiece, deals with ecological issues, organized religion, and wanting the world right now. This is the true centrepiece of the album, and, as the Amazon review says, a rallying cry to the budding counterculture.
The cover art is one of the best and most appropriate covers I have ever seen for an album. The cover gives you a glimpse into what you will find on the album: a freakshow, a world where people are trying to find their own way and how the generation gap grew leaps and bounds in the 1960s. The cover art tells us we a long way from the staunch, McCarthy-driven 1950s, where the world made a lot more sense to people. Albums like this would never have been released during the 1940s and 1950s. Just by looking at the cover, you could tell this was a radical departure from the musical sensibilities of the preceeding decade. This definitely isn't your parent's music.
What makes STRANGE DAYS so revelatory is how undeniably dark this is. In many ways, this very dark undercurrent makes the music on STRANGE DAYS all the more radical. Released at the height of the "All you need is love" mentality embraced by much of the counterculture, The Doors offer this visionary music. Buy wedding dark, deeply apocalyptic lyrics and very moody, depressing music to very poppy elements and consistently stunning melodies, The Doors present a very different and much more dangerous picture of society. Much of the genius of STRANGE DAYS is, while it is very poppy, it totally reinvents the subject matter of pop, creating an aural snapshot of the fear, uncertainty, and growing social and political unrest that was rapidly spreading throughout the youth in the 1960s. While The Beatles were singing it's getting better, The Doors, much like T. S. Eliot, were expressing fear and isolation and confronting the dark undercurrents of their time.
All of these elements, along with The Doors' unique sound and undeniably powerful musical talents, make STRANGE DAYS one of rock's most essential albums. Although I prefer the debut to this for sentimental reasons, The Doors never equaled this masterpiece again. They simply could not maintain the densely rich, dark atmosphere, the genius song-writing, or the fantastic psychedelia. This, along with THE DOORS, stand tall among the very best that rock has to offer.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Seriously, do you need to hype up one of the legendary figureheads of the Classic Rock era? Jim Morrison's voice drove the 4 man crew to heights of superstardom few artists back then would acheive. This Doors release reminds me of why I really abhor greatest hits albums, as they omit a lot of the more unheralded songs of an artists catalog. Songs like "Unhappy Girl" and "I Can't See Your Face In My Mind", utterly fantastic songs, usually don't get a lot of mention when discussing the Door's music. A comparitively "mellower" album, "Strange Days", probably more than a lot of their other releases, highlights Jim Morrison's writing and poetic slant prominently. Outside of that, this album contains one of my top 3 Doors songs in "When The Music's Over". Please don't sleep on Kreiger, Manzarek, and Densmore's contributions to this album, as they reach an almost "Coltranish" synergy at times reminding me of the cohesiveness of the classic JC quartet with Garrison, Tyner, and Jones. Telling, since both released such a strong but limited amount of music. This is classic Doors in every sense.