Sunday, June 12, 2016

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 12: A Song From A Band You Hate

I don't actually "hate" a lot of bands, mostly because I don't really listen to bands that I don't like long enough to log the emotional time it takes to generate real hatred. For today's 30 Day Song Challenge selection, I was going to pick a song by Creed... but then I figured everyone with any kind of musical taste at all hates Creed, so what's the point? So instead I'm picking a band that I've actually put some effort into disliking: The Doors.

Why it is exactly that I dislike The Doors so much, and Jim Morrison in particular, is kind of a mystery even to me. In general, I'm a fan of a lot of music that is very much like theirs. I like classic rock-n-roll and, when I'm listening with my most unbiased and sympathetic ears, I can hear in The Doors' sound a lot of what I like in some of my favorite bands. There's a little bit of The Who sound, a little bit of The Velvet Underground, a little bit of Cream, and I like all of those bands. So what is it that just turns me off to The Doors?

I suppose a lot of it has to do less with The Doors' sound than with the iconographic status of images like the one above, which have made Doors' front-man Jim Morrison into something like a latter-day saint. It may also be a generational thing. Oliver Stone's movie "The Doors" (starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison) came out in 1991. I was about at that age when it's very important to decide what you think is "cool" and what you think isn't, and it seemed to me at the time that everyone thought The Doors were the coolest. A lot of people I knew then fell face-forward into hippie nostalgia, despite the fact that we were all too young to know anything about the kind of heavily-drugged, hard-livin' that constituted Morrison's tragically truncated life. We weren't even old enough to understand nostalgia, for goodness sake. Still, the posters of Morrison and The Doors went up on everyone's wall... and I started to dislike them.

Here's Morrison and The Doors' "Touch Me" from their 1969 album The Soft Parade:

I can't really blame anyone for liking The Doors. They're not awful. Maybe it's not so much that I hate The Doors as I hate the way people love The Doors... because I don't think they love The Doors as much as they love the tragic story of Jim Morrison. A lot of the hardcore Doors fans that I've met harbor a not-so-secret Christ complex. They think of themselves as artistic geniuses, sent to rescue the rest of us from our mundane, suburban, bourgeois and sober ordinariness. They're "misunderstood." And they secretly pine for the inevitable tragedy that will befall them, after which we can bemoan their passing greatness at their graves.


The way I see it, almost everyone has some tragedy that he or she loves. For whatever reasons, Morrison's is just not a tragedy that moves me. And, unfortunately, The Doors catch the brunt of my irritation at everyone else's decision to drink the Kool-Aid.

Click here to return to the "anchor page" for #30DaySongChallenge2016 with the full list of this year's picks

1 comment:

Michael Norton said...

It's interesting that you see disliking the Doors as an exception, because I still like the Doors a lot and I thought I was the exception! I think there are a lot of people out there who share your dislike, probably for a lot of the same reasons you articulate. Music critics nowadays, anyway, don't miss an opportunity to pan them, even as they heap praise on bands that were clearly influenced by them.