The Best of the Doors [1985]

by: The Doors

Ideally, one would avoid compilations of the Doors' work, except perhaps for the hit singles and moments when one wanted very light listening. This was a band that took itself very seriously, almost to the point of self-parody at times, and their music ought to be discovered in the setting and context in which it was intended, but assuming that one needs a Doors anthology, this 18-track collection (19 on CD) is the place to start. It started life during the quadrophonic era as a single LP of the same title, with programming intended to combine the concepts behind two earlier compilations, 13 and Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine, under one cover. In 1985, the two-LP version, the fourth compilation of the group's work, and the most comprehensive, was released, providing a good overview to the most obvious different sides of the group's output, and in 1991 this was remastered for CD with improved sound and an extra track. Good as it is, the compilation misleads somewhat by removing the material from its original context and also shuffling the order, so that songs off of The Soft Parade bump up against tracks from L.A. Woman. The hits can stand on their own, but overall the music lacks the broader impact that it was intended to have when heard juxtaposed with the other tracks on their respective original albums. The 1996 Greatest Hits CD, with its remastered sound, and the remastering of their individual albums that began in the year 2000, also renders this collection somewhat less attractive than it was on its initial release. ~ Bruce Eder

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