25. The Doors, The Soft Parade (1969)
The Soft Parade is generally viewed as the Doors’ worst album; conventional wisdom holds that its use of brass and strings ruined the band’s sound, its tendency toward experimentation was a pretentious failure and lead singer Jim Morrison was too drunk to contribute much of value. Rolling Stone reviewed it as such: “Alternate suggested titles for The Soft Parade would be The Worst of the Doors, Kick Out the Doors, or best, The Soft Touch."
The Soft Parade is worse than infuriating, it’s sad.” To fans of ‘60s strangeness, this is sacrilege; it’s first eight tracks are a solid slab of pop psychedelia, all just a prelude to the title track—the best thing the band ever recorded.
Over eight-and-a-half minutes long, “The Soft Parade” takes the listener down a rabbit hole, first informing us “You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!” before embarking on a series of musical passages. Baroque classical into cheesy lounge pop into Brady Bunch-like incidental music before finally settling into a characteristic blues jam (declared to be “the best part of the trip”) that grows in intensity before finally declaring, “When all else fails we can whip the horse’s eyes and make them sleep and cry.” If any Doors song is time-capsule worthy, it’s this one.