Now this is a frustrating release. Up to now, all releases of this album has been a bit too slow and this CD thankfully corrects that. The band sounds more youthful and charged while plowing through their seminal debut.
But there's a catch; this is not the original mix either. The surviving Doors and engineer/producer Bruce Botnick have taken it upon themselves to completely remix the album. It's more like a modern mix now, and the sound is clearer and punchier. Unfortunately, this also does away with the creepy, compressed atmosphere that was a trademark of the original mixes. The balance has swung away from the psychedelic into more typical classic rock territory.
As is common with more modern mixes, the drums are also more front and center. It's fun to hear John Densmore's creative and musical drumming clearly, but it obscures the rest of the band more than I'd like.
After hearing this, I have trouble listening to the original mix's slightly flat sound, but I miss the original's atmosphere with the new mix. I guess the best thing to do is never listen to this, and grab a copy of the still fine 1999 remaster (which also includes the infamous lost vocals on "Break On Through" and "The End"). If you're new to the Doors, this new disc may serve it's purpose, I feel it's missing the aural mystery and majesty of the original.
on June 30, 2007
This remixed debut album is supposedly the correct speed after decades of being mastered at a slower speed. Apparently, only the 45 RPM single of Light My Fire was the only record off this album cut at the correct speed, but every subsequent release has actually been a little too slow. Inside the 1st album remixed CD there is be an explanation by Bruce Botnick stating why this is so. That really piqued my curiosity.
I have also previously owned most of the Gold CDs, 1988 releases, and 1999 remasters. I have listened to the 1999 remasters and compared them to the 1988 remasters. The 1988 releases were tinny and flat sounding, while the 1999 version of this album was rich and full. I have also compared both of them with this 2007 remix. Clearly, this remix is the way to go. I CANNOT SAY THE SAME FOR THE DOORS REMIX ALBUMS AFTER STRANGE DAYS. After that, they sound waaaaay different which is not what I am pursuing. Some of you probably want a different sound and that's fine. The bottom line: the 2007 remix of the 1st album is "brighter" and "crispier" than the 1999 remasters and the 1988 CD release. I believe the 1999 release might sound a bit "fuller" than this 2007 remix, but I will definitely listen to this version from now on hopefully. Jim's voice is a tad more distant on some of the songs on the "2007" remix. It's plain as day to hear that. I think the instruments are turned up a bit higher and his voice level remains the same as before. The stereo separation is about the same as the 1999 and 1988 CD release, but the cymbals really come crashing through a lot louder and are more crisp and the drum are punchy. Any way you slice it, the remix gives your tweeters more work to do, but the organ and cymbals do tend to drown Jim out somewhat (but not too bad). This remix, in my opinion stays very close to the way everyone remembers The Doors' first album, only accentuating and embellishing it a bit. I was always disappointed at the tinny and flat sounding 1988 CDs, the 1985 Greatest Hits CD and the DCC 24 Karat Gold CDs as well even though they were a slight improvement.
By the way, just like the 1999 release added some lyrics, those lyrics appear here as well. On Break on Through, Jim says "She gets high" and on The End a particular expletive appears at the end of the song just as it appears in Apocalypse Now.
This speed issue with "Light My Fire" is an even bigger difference than The Police's 1978 original album "Outlandos d' Amour" that features "Roxanne" which suffered from being mastered at too slow a speed since its first CD release in the late 80's, and it was interesting to hear it on the 2003 remaster at the correct speed. I played "Light My Fire" to a friend and he picked out the difference immediately.
The speed discrepancy was brought to Bruce Botnick's attention by a Brigham Young University professor who stated that all the video and audio live performances of The Doors performing Light My Fire, as well as the sheet music show the song being in a key almost a full half step higher than the LP release. That should make sense because when I have seen the Doors perform live on their concert videos they plays the song faster. Also, the verse chords should alternate between A minor and F sharp minor in the song- but instead on the LP and CD versions they are an A Flat minor and an F minor. This explains why on CD releases "Light My Fire" claims to run 6:50, but in all reality runs around 7:05. Finally, this remixed CD runs at the proper speed. Light my Fire is 6:50 here.
Moonlight Drive Version 1 and 2 are nice to have, along with an alternate Indian Summer, but my main purpose in buying this was to compare/contrast the differences in speed and sound quality and have "Light My Fire" at the correct speed.
on March 24, 2008
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 now they're 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 Timbaland version of Light My Fire 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 Napalm Death to add some crunchy heaviness to Roadhouse Blues?
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.
on July 15, 1999
Unquestionably one of the four or five great American rock albums of the '60s, the Doors first album is a total stunner in this gold CD version. I have heard this music in almost all formats, from the first Elektra pressings through open reel to the audiophile Mobile Fidelity LP to the various CD incarnations. In the late 70s, I also attended a press preview of "Apocalypse Now" at a 70mm six-track stereo installation in New York City where Coppola had personally checked the sound just before the showing. "The End" sounds almost a good here at it did that night. I haven't been crazy about all Steve Hoffman's audiophile LP and CD remasterings at DCC, but this one is simply terrific. The sound has a presence and depth you don't hear on the aluminum version, and Morrison's vocals are just lacerating! Highly recommended, and the DCC version of "L.A. Woman," the other Doors album that really matters, is damn near as good!
on July 15, 2000
This is the one that introduced The Doors, and the gifted poet/singer/songwriter Jim Morrison, their enigmatic lead singer, to the world. At the time, it was like nothing anybody had ever heard, and to this day their sound remains unique. There have been many imitators over the years, but none have come close to achieving that special quality of sound that began here, with "The Doors." The album begins with "Break On Through (To The Other Side)," and includes their monster hit (which took them to the top of the charts, usurping the Beatles and Stones as the number one band in America) "Light My Fire," featuring dynamic solos by guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek. This debut album also features one of their most controversial (and best) songs ever, "The End," into which Morrison interjects his (and rock n' roll's only) version of Sophocles' play, "Oedipus the King," through dialogue spoken over the music; it is ethereal and hypnotic, with Morrison delivering the words from an almost trance-like state of being. The final cut on the album, it underscores the fact that there is much more to The Doors than hard-edged rock. Also worthy of note is that it was used (and very effectively) by director Francis Ford Coppola during the opening credits of his film, "Apocalypse Now." Never before or since has anyone fused hard rock with poetry and mixed it with the blues to create such aural and mental images as these, and it's all delivered with an energy and intensity that can set you free. The lyrics are sometimes cryptic ("Take the highway to the end of the night/take a journey to the bright midnight") and steeped in metaphor and allegory; while the songs themselves run an emotional gamut, from the wistfulness of "The Crystal Ship," to the primal scream of "Back Door Man." This is the first of the seven albums made by The Doors (six studio, one live), during their all too brief career, which began in the summer of 1965 and ended on July 3, 1971 with the death of Jim Morrison. If you've never experienced The Doors, it's time to start; do it with this album. To the casual fan, I suggest you take a step back and really listen this time, you may have missed something the first time around. The music of The Doors is timeless, and once it grabs hold of you, it's never going to let you go.
on April 21, 2007
I always thought the studio version of "Light My Fire" (my favorite song of all time) would sound a little bit better IF ONLY the speed was a little faster, like many of the great live versions (Live at the Hollywood Bowl CD, Alive She Cried CD, Live at the London Roundhouse, etc.). I was totally unaware that the song actually WAS mixed slower on the original album. This explains why I thought the song sounded even better when it was played back slightly faster, such as on a variable speed record player.
Fast forward to March, 2007. I receive an e-mail from Amazon.com, telling me I can purchase The Doors separately from "Perception" (the box set). I also found out that the CD was re-mixed at its proper speed, thanks to a university professor of music, who notified Bruck Botnick (long-time Doors' engineer and sound mixer) regarding the speed of the original recording.
Since I have almost all The Doors studio and live albums, my main interest was in listening to their debut album at the proper speed, as well as the new remastering (using new computer technology).
I am very, very impressed with the album's sound quality. It sounds incredibly crisp and clear for a 1966 recording. "Light My Fire" definitely sounds better at the proper speed, and Jim's vocal is very crisp and hypnotic. It sounds particularly clear and passionate on this version of Light My Fire, and throughout the album. The CD sounds best when driving in your car at night, and having the sound turned up. I haven't even played it on my home sound system yet, but I am looking forward to it.
The rest of the CD sounds great, too. I highly recommend this CD to all Doors fans, both old and new. This new CD has only strengthened my appreciation of a band that I love so much.
The Doors still makes various lists as one of the most important albums of the rock era, and certainly as one of the best debut albums of the era. The album itself has been reviewed extensively, as have the various CD reissues; therefore, I will limit this review to the download version of it. Since I own the vinyl release of The Doors and wanted to have it available for my iPod without all the crackles and sputters of converting the LP to digital format and didn't feel the need to own the physical CD, I opted for buying Amazon.com's MP3 download. Each of the tracks clearly states "LP Version" in the listing for the download; however, Amazon has inexplicably included only the ineptly truncated single version of "Light My Fire." I feel that this is a complete misrepresentation of the album. Afterall, this is perhaps the best-known song on The Doors. Also, note that unlike the remixed CD that Amazon includes in the same listing as their MP3 version, here you won't find the "missing" lyrics of "Break on Through" and "The End." It is almost as though they have taken the original versions of the songs -- save the single version of "Light My Fire" -- and constructed a semi-remixed MP3 album. The MP3 album's sound quality, though, generally is pretty good, and the songs do seem to have a punchier sound, certainly than on the original vinyl release. Just be warned, the MP3 "album" DOES NOT include all the material from the original album -- the missing 4 minutes of "Light My Fire," is perhaps the best part of the song, especially Ray Manzarek's organ solo and his comping behind Robbie Krieger's guitar solo. I guess that I should have spent the extra dollar and purchased The Doors on iTunes. Be forewarned and don't make the same mistake I made... By the way, be aware that most of the reviews of this album that are included under the heading of MP3 downloads are actually of the CD release. I believe that this may be the only review that specifies the deficiencies in the MP3 version.
on April 9, 2007
Taken from last year's "Perception" box set,the groundbreaking debut album from Jim Morrison and company is yet again remastered/remixed,but this time its done at the correct speed-the previous LP/CD versions ran at a slower pace,thus its pitch was different than it was intended until now.In addition,the mix is clearer,punchier and more directness(especially the vocals and guitars) than even the fine 1999 remaster had.Plus there's a colorful,informative booklet featuring lyrics,rare photos,notes from Doors engineer Bruce Botnick and an essay from famed rock writer Ben Fong-Torres.Since there is no dispute of the quality of the music contained here(honor roll:"Break On Through","Light My Fire","Soul Kitchen","Crystal Ship"and the 11-minute epic "The End"),this is simply a piece of music history no rock fan should be without.And this is the end of my review.
on September 10, 1999
To put it bluntly, this album is magical. From start to finish, it is rock-solid. It contains classic rock, a beautiful ballad, a cover of a German opera song, a blues number, a surfer-type number, an eleven-minute epic and more. Yet despite the wide range of music types, make no mistake about it; these songs are done in true "Doors-ian" fashion. The sharp organ, the slide guitar, the fascinating, improvisational drumming and Jim's unmistakable baritone voice all converge to make this a masterful debut album, by any standards. Jim could sing a gentle ballad just as well as he could sing a harder-rocking number. Commercial favourites: "Break on Through" and "Light My Fire", but check out that powerful ballad "The Crystal Ship" as well. Honourable mention: The haunting, mysterious "End of the Night", and the rockin' "Take it as it Comes". The echo effect is used to perfection on the album as well. The music and themes of this LP are universal and thus will last forever, and the emotions that these eleven songs elicit can be applied to any listener's own life. A timeless album that I will always love, and listen to. A classic.
on April 4, 2007
Purists will no doubt scoff at the idea of remixing the classic debut album by The Doors, as many did when "Elvis: 30 #1 Hits" was released, but one comes away from this new remastering convinced that this should indeed be the definitive version available. According to engineer Bruce Botnick in the liner notes, this new edition of "The Doors" has been remixed from the original tapes and it shows. Songs like "Break On Through" and the immortal "Light My Fire" breathe with a new life and crisp, powerful sound. Previous releases are left in the dust as even background vocals are rediscovered and Robby Krieger's guitar comes alive as well as Ray Manzarek's driving organ. Jim Morrison's vocal power comes through and John Densmore's expressionistic, detailed drumming comes across as a revelation. Their cover of Willie Dixon's "Backdoor Man" snarls and grinds louder and better. Previous attempts at remixing classic albums have resulted with some accepting the result and others finding it unbearable as was the case when Iggy Pop remixed "Raw Power," but according to Botnick there were more pressing reasons for giving The Doors' albums an overhaul, apparently the previous releases were not running at the correct, intended speed. Though some may not notice at first, the speed has been put back into it's correct place. But the real joy of the new remastered "The Doors" is how every instrument and sound comes across loud and clear here, there is scarcely a trace of this being a 40-year old recording. Drum and guitar parts that were plowed under before come alive now. And of course, it's worth listening to for the fact that's simply great rock n' roll. Jim Morrison remains the star with his Dionysian character and his brilliant use of words and poetry. Songs like "Break On Through" retain a ferocious energy while "End Of The Night" and "The Crystal Ship" are beautiful pools of sound and images, made more effective by this remix where Ray Manzarek's elegant piano/organ parts shine. Fans will be interested in the bonus tracks featured here including two different versions of "Moonlight Drive" that reveal how apart the original arrangements were compared to the famous version from the "Strange Days" album. There is an alternate "Indian Summer" which apparently has a new vocal but there's little difference to the original version in the "Waiting For The Sun" release. The Doors remain one of the most influential of all rock bands, with their imprint found in genres such as Punk, Goth and Electronica, and the artists who have been influenced are countless including Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Stone Temple Pilots, U2, The Cure, The Cult, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Billy Idol, INXS, Echo And The Bunnymen, Aerosmith, Soundgarden and many, many more. 2007 marks the fourtieth anniversary of the Doors' debut, and this is a fitting release to introduce a new generation to the immortal sound of the band and the poetic, sometimes apocalyptic visions Jim Morrison produced, especially in the epic "The End" which remains a timeless, hypnotic work of art. "The Doors" is pure rock n' roll, one of the ages.