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Baker's Dozen

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music: Benjamin Myers’ Favourite Music
The Quietus , September 29th, 2021 09:41

Music journalist-turned-novelist Benjamin Myers shares the music that made him a writer from The Slits to Slipknot – and why almost all of it is impossible to write to…


The Doors – The Very Best of The Doors

I’d like to think there are only two types of people in the world: those who publicly declare their love for The Doors, and those keep their love private. Closet cases, basically.

Well, I’d like to think that anyway. To the multitude of very vocal haters who still seem angered by The Doors I’d like to ask: what were we listening to at fourteen years old that made them so unimpeachably cool?

I got into them after seeing the trailer for the Oliver Stone film – not even the film itself, but the trailer-cum-promo video for ‘Break on Through’. I thought Val Kilmer gave a commendable account in portraying Jim Morrison as the utterly absurd figure that he was, but then aren’t all rock stars absurd figures?

The most common complaint is that he wrote “sixth-form poetry” but to me most rock lyrics are “GCSE poetry”, which is exactly what I was studying when I discovered them. The musicianship of the band is something that’s overshadowed by the many cliches that the film indulged in, and which badly dented the band’s reputation. But Jim Morrison could really sing. He was a bit Satanic, a bit seductive-sounding, the psychedelic Sinatra when he wasn’t leathered, although that actually made him sound even better. The beauty is in the bum notes (see also Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Lydon).

It’s a bit too convenient and lazy to readily dismiss The Doors’ music today, without first considering the context of the era. Songs like ‘Five to One’ and ‘Not to Touch the Earth’ sound like battle cries from a time when bands could be thrown in the cells of some redneck town. Also, they released six good albums in just four years.

My own phase of getting offensively drunk and declaring “Let’s start a religion!” is, however, unforgiveable, and I apologise to anyone who witnessed that, most probably in the beer garden of The Angel in Durham City. Rest assured, I’ve cancelled myself.

As a side-note, I should add that I mainly only listen to Best Of compilations. My favourite record shops are also petrol stations. Life is just too short to suffer filler.