On Second Thought
The Doors - Waiting for the Sun






for better or worse, we here at Stylus, in all of our autocratic consumer-crit greed, are slaves to timeliness. A record over six months old is often discarded, deemed too old for publication, a relic in the internet age. That's why each week at Stylus, one writer takes a look at an album with the benefit of time. Whether it has been unjustly ignored, unfairly lauded, or misunderstood in some fundamental way, we aim with On Second Thought to provide a fresh look at albums that need it.

Her name, for our purposes, was Shelly. She wasn’t the most beautiful girl in school, by any means. But by eight grade I already had obtained a very select radar for the types of girls that I wanted to date. They weren’t hot, necessarily, but always had an air of cuteness- and of course, they made me feel like an inferior intellect. These were the ground rules: dressed in a non-standard way, hung out in the lunch room instead of going out to recess, and remained completely aloof of me. It was like an expressway right to my growing lust for the opposite sex. And Shelly? She fit the bill on all accounts. Each time she saw me in the hallway and I received a “hi” back in return from my greeting to her felt like I had (insert cliché here) and that it was only a matter of time before we could discuss greater issues in depth- you know, eighth grade, greater issues.

The crush started, approximately, in November and the soundtrack to each night, in my room, all alone doing homework and watching television was The Doors’ “Wintertime Love”. I listened to that track approximately five times a day. The worst, as I remember it was a night of four hours listening obsessively to the song- half listening, always dreaming of what it would be like to talk to her in that room.

Fast forward crush four months. We were still saying “hi”, but I was- any day now- just waiting to make my move. I told my small group of friends each day, “Today is the day, it’s time” and they had begun to tire of it. Enter the Valentine’s Day dance. Each student in the school filled out a compatibility survey. It was the goal of the dance to hand these surveys out and see who you were most compatible with- and to perhaps laugh at the results. The first name on my list of compatibility was, of course, Shelly.

Fast forward to the final dance of the night. The DJ/Math Teacher actually says this, “Hey, guys and girls! Why don’t you go find that girl or guy you had number one on your little compatibility survey and have that last dance...Who knows what might happen?!?!” I, of course, heeded the siren call. It was so obvious, so perfect, so scripted.

On the way, I spied one of my two best friends dancing with her and kissing her passionately. Their relationship lasted four months. Or until they were both shipped off to separate “boot” camp for troubled teens.

Let me tell you, though, there are more reasons why this album is one of the worst, if not the worst, in The Doors’ career. Witness the aborted attempt at “The Celebration of the Lizard”; witness the filler of “Summertime Love”, “Love Street”, and “Wintertime Love” (ha!); witness the increased reliance on alternate instrumentation as opposed to the traditional guitar, keys, and drums of the previous albums.

Waiting For the Sun is more than a personal failure to me. It signals the end of Morrison’s honeymoon with fans (when it came out it was regarded as a huge disappointment and god knows The Soft Parade didn’t improve matters) and it signals the end of his innocence. You might scoff at the final line. At first glance I would too. But after the lyric book for The Doors and Strange Days was exhausted of all first rate material, Morrison scrambled for material up to par with his previous output. The loss of the innocence of writing a lyric, without a thought of it being published, read, or sung is an important one and this first occurred- in great degree- on Waiting for the Sun. As Waiting for the Sun was the loss of innocence for Morrison- does the band even matter that much? Judging by Manzarek’s increasingly crazed antics, I’d venture to say that the instrumental backing would have been nothing without Morrison’s personality- it was also the loss of innocence for me.


By: Todd Burns
Published on: 2003-09-01
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