It’s crazy that my favorite band of all time was at its prime decades before I was born. Not only do I get a lot of puzzled looks when I tell people I love The Doors, I get questioned on the why and how all the dang time.
Though I’ve never been able to give an exact reason as to why someone as young as me relates to the music of The Doors so easily, I’ve been confident in detailing how they’ve affected me. Their music makes me feel free and wild; deep in my feelings but not powerless to them. Escaping in their intricate and vibey melodies distracted me from the whirlwind of chaos I was experiencing as a teenager, and relying on their music like a drug allowed me to be very self-reflective and insightful in regards to what I wanted out of life.
A poet first — that’s how I always think of Jim Morrison. His poems were his lyrics, and the ones that comprise Morrison Hotel are some of his most profound. Fifty years ago in 1970, Morrison Hotel was released — just one year before Jim’s death. It’s very sad to me how it all ended so abruptly after the recording of their next album, L.A. Woman. I truly wish the band could have had more time together with Jim at the forefront. I feel that he especially had a lot more to say.
It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite Doors album or song, but Morrison Hotel homes some of my favorites. The first song on the album, Roadhouse Blues, is one I love to sing. One time I dared to sing it on karaoke on our first KQ Morning Show trip to Punta Cana. For some reason the lyrics never showed up on the screen so I had to free-ball it. Luckily I knew most of the words, but Jim’s bluesy scant midway through was a little tricky after a few beers!
The Doors really know how to slow things down when they want to. Indian Summer is a sweet little lullaby that best shows Jim’s vulnerability. Land Ho! expresses an out-of-realm twangy feeling, but is a fun one none the less. I really love the songs Waiting for the Sun and Peace Frog for their squirrely intensities. They both exhibit a sort of dreamy flow with the occasional Morrison freak out. They provide more of a well-rounded experience rather than something that’s just nice to listen to.If I had to pick a favorite song off Morrison Hotel, it would have to be The Spy — Jim’s stalker ode of affection to the love of his life, Pamela Courson. It’s a lovely arranged nod to the theme of today’s social media obsessed world. (You’re lying if you never creeped on your crush’s Facebook!)
Unlike its jazz-influenced predecessor The Soft Parade, Morrison Hotel embraced the true blues-rock roots of The Doors like no other album had before it. I like how the band revisited that affection on this album, especially in songs like Maggie M’Gill and You Make Me Real. Their expertise in that musical style definitely becomes most prevalent in their next album: L.A. Woman.
I obviously never knew Jim Morrison and I don’t claim to know the things he was dealing with or how his state of mind was at the time this album was recorded. But what I do know for certain is that none of that ever mattered to me. The negative assumptions people had of him don’t really resonate with me because I was able to find inspiration in his words. They pushed me to be more creative in my own writing, and to be more in tune with my own thoughts and feelings. Most of all, Jim’s poetry has trained me to be more up front with myself about what I’m going through, which has helped me sort out my life immensely.
Morrison Hotel is a very good introductory album if you have never really listened to The Doors before. Even though it isn’t their first release, you get a little taste of every stage the band went through. I’m curious to know what Jim Morrison thought about this album as a whole, because out of all the Doors’ albums, this one feels most like him. I feel trapped in his head throughout the course of this album, and prior to contrary belief, it really is a thrilling and meditative place to be.