Stoned Immaculate: The Music Of The Doors
REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/22/2006
It's difficult to obtain a solid tribute album. At least half of the artists turn in lifeless or carbon copies of the original songs, and only occasionally does a cover come to life. The tribute to Led Zeppelin, Encomium, showcases this well .
So I had low expectations going into Stoned Immaculate, which brings together several modern rock artists, a couple of classic rockers, the remaining Doors and even Jim Morrison on a generous 17-track collection. The beauty of the collection is that it shows how much influence the Doors had on modern music. The downfall is that the Doors were never as good as everyone says they were.
The collection starts off promisingly enough. STP turns in an STP-ized version of “Break on Through,” and I'm ashamed to say that I prefer Creed's rock version of “Riders On The Storm” to the original, likely because Mark Tremonti turns on the guitar heat about halfway through. And Smashmouth's version of “Peace Frog” is almost as good as the original, albeit a little more pop.
Days of the New turn in a solid, short rewrite of “L.A. Woman,” while Aerosmith does to “Love Me Two Times” what they did to “Come Together.” The Cult's performance of “Wild Child” far surpasses the original, although it's still not a great song, and John Lee Hooker teams up with the original vocals for “Roadhouse Blues,” but what should have been a great song is subdued and annoying, save for the brief harmonica solo.
Some of the songs try for a different approach and fall flat, like Oleander's take on “Hello, I Love You” and Train's inexplicable reggae-pop version of “Light My Fire,” surely the worst remake of a classic I've heard since, well, Aerosmith's version of “Come Together.” Ian Astbury lengthens “Touch Me” but only leaves the listener clamoring for the original, while Bo Diddley remakes “Love Her Madly” to decent results.
Now, like any Doors album, there is weirdness to be found. For some reason, the compilers thought it would be a good idea to put Morrison's spoken poetry to Doors backing tracks, evidenced on “Under Waterfall” and “The Cosmic Movie.” Sadly, Morrison's poetry makes no sense, and the songs chosen would have been better as covers (I would have loved to hear “Five To One” done by one of these rock bands, for example). These tracks completely slow the momentum down, as does the Morrison/Burroughs pairing “Is Everybody In?” that is neither entertaining nor worth listening to even once.
Finally, Days of the New reappear to turn in “The End,” and since I never liked this song to begin with, a 13-minute remake does not appeal. To their credit, the band keeps it interesting for a while, laying down a solid foundation, but they have nothing to build on and the song falls apart.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Doors. I happen to like several of their songs and I can understand their cultural impact in their day. But I don't think many of their songs are all worthy pieces of art that deserve to be held up as classics. For that matter, I never saw Morrison as a spokesman or hero -– just a literate druggie who only made sense to other literate druggies, and who pushed the envelope simply because he could.
The album pays tribute to most of the good Doors songs, and offers a few fresh takes on some old classics. But the project as a whole, while paying tribute to the Doors' legacy, is too uneven to be recommended except to fans and the curious.