VMP June 2021 Unboxing – The Doors ‘The Doors’
Good things come in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, VMP operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives! With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club, it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month … in their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (a 3-month membership will set you back about $119) and they send you one carefully selected album they feel is Essential to any record collection. Yes, it really is as easy as it sounds. You even get FREE SHIPPING. Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with killer extras like original artwork and informative listening companion booklet.
You’ll have membership privileges in the VMP store too, which means you can grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including their re-issue of Darkside’s chiller than chill 2013 debut Psychic – not to mention a slate of super-limited releases pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. The store is open, and Team VMP are dropping fresh new selections to their stock every single week. Do not miss out.
Word to the wise, while the store is open to the public, most of the more covet-worthy stock is only available to subscribers. Members are privy to reduced “Members Pricing” as well, so joining the club definitely has its rewards. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you’re not interested in for a past featured album from any track (including Essentials, Country, Classics, and Rap/Hip Hop). My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do yourself a favor and sign up today.
What’s in the box for June? The VMP crew is kicking Summer off with a stone-cold killer from the classic rock era in The Doors’ self-titled debut. Check it out.
For The Love Of Music, Please DO NOT BEND (or, how I learned to stop worrying and try to listen to The Doors with fresh ears)
This is one of the harder reviews I’ve done for a VMP unboxing to date, mostly because I’m certain most of you have very specific feelings about The Doors. That being the case, I’m betting that about 40% of you rolled your eyes when you saw Jim Morrison’s mug in that first picture. I’m just as sure the sight had about the same percentage giddily flashing back to warm Summer nights spent cruising the streets with windows down, and “Break On Through” blaring on the radio.
I’m not really here to try and sway the first faction because, well, I don’t entirely disagree with your general dislike for Mr. Morrison and the boys particular brand of ’60s psychedelia. And I’d be the first to admit there were several bands from era who were just doing it better (see: Jefferson Airplane, The Stooges, 13th Floor Elevators, among others). I’ve also always felt like it’s wholly irresponsible to just write The Doors off as wannabe purveyors of hyper-literate heavy psych, if only because they released so many great songs during their brief tenure.
Truth be told (and I’d lay even odds that this is also true for most of The Doors haters out there), there was a time in my life when I was a massive fan of the band. And yes, I can still sing along with a lot of their biggest hits with barely any prompting. A handful of those big hits were on hand for The Doors’ 1967 debut, which is undoubtedly part of why The Doors made the cut as a VMP Essentials pick. That tag is even easier to swallow given that one of those tracks, “Light My Fire,” was not just The Doors’ biggest hit, but one of the biggest rock & roll hits of the 1960s.
I’m happy to confirm that “Light My Fire” is still a psychedelic pop masterpiece more than five decades after it first hit the airwaves. Ditto for “Break On Through (To The Other Side),” which is as solid an album opener as any band delivered in the ’60s, ’70s, or really any decade since. Those two songs are the opener and closer on the first side of The Doors, by the way, and every song in-between rips just as hard. Even more so as this pressing of The Doors is taken from the original Mono master tapes. And I was actually a little surprised to find pressings of the Mono version are a little harder to come by these days.
Now, side 2 of The Doors is where things got a little interesting for me as there’s a couple of tracks there I’d never actually heard before (which can be chalked up to impressionable teenage me opting to buy a Greatest Hits album rather than the individual releases). Anyway, I can’t say I was particularly blown away by “I Looked At You,” “End of the Night,” or “Take It As It Comes,” all of which feel like filler tracks penned by a talented young songwriter who hadn’t yet hit his sweet spot. Either way, it’s safe to say a certain level of sweet-spotness was very much achieved in the album’s epic closer “The End,” which remains one of the most singularly chilling compositions from the classic rock era.
But hey, as roughly half of you see Jim Morrison as, and I quote Almost Famous here, “A drunken buffoon posing as a poet,” and just as many of you believe him to be a legitimate psychedelic prophet, I remain confident that my opinion on the matter remains more or less irrelevant. But for the other 20% or so of you who, like myself, are just fine with Jim and the tasty vibes he and The Doors served up over the years, this pressing of The Doors is likely to make you more of a fan than ever. At the very least, it’ll serve as a killer callback to the days when you didn’t really care what people said about The Doors, so long as they kept the heady jams coming.
Sometimes it’s best not to over-analyze an album cover. So if The Doors is more or less a trip inside the head of Morrison and his crew, this one obviously speaks for itself. Ditto for the back cover.
Don’t forget to dig on that solid gold VMP Essentials tag forever cementing The Doors as a must-own album. You can also check how who did what on the album while you’re there.
And if you wanna know who was doing what in the studio, check the bottom of the back cover. Yes, there’s a few important names there, like legendary producer Paul A. Rothchild, and Engineer Bruce Botnik, who actually ran point on the remaster for this pressing … which is super cool.
Before you get too deep into your box, check out the deets on the hype sticker as they explain why this version of The Doors’ self-titled debut is the version of the album … including fresh lacquers from the one and only Bernie Grundman. If you don’t know who Grundman is, he’s worth a Google. Trust me.
As for this month’s fan-made sticker, it’s another win for Team VMP, who are having lots of fun with this who contest thing. Ditto for this month’s designer Hannah Gregory, who caught the Summer vibe in decidedly cool fashion with her work.
As you’re moving along, be sure not to overlook the OBI-strip cradling your album’s spine, ’cause there’s some important info there, like the album’s Vinyl Me, Please catalogue number.
And if you flip it over, you’ll find an excerpt from this month’s listening guide, which helps explain why The Doors is an Essential … not that it should need much explaining.
Oh hey, did I forget to mention every VMP Essentials pick now comes with its very own listening guide? They do. And for the most part those guides are pretty damn great. Here’s a peak at The Doors listening booklet from Mr. Jeff Weiss.
Every Vinyl Me, Please Essentials pick also comes with a slick, album-inspired art print. And while The Doors may not be my all-time favorite Essentials selection, this beauty from Kii Arens may be my fave piece of artwork to date.
Team VMP tossed a major extra into the box for June, by the way, with a replica of the original 7″ “Light My Fire” single that first introduced The Doors to France. It’s backed with “The Crystal Ship” and “Take It As It Comes.” And it’s a sight to see for certain.
What’s say we dig that disc out of the sleeve already, yeah? Once we do, take a moment to appreciate that old-school Elektra records inner.
As for what’s inside, well, the green and gold galaxy effect is a truly wondrous sight.
And at the risk of shamelessly indulging in a rather obvious cliche, it will indeed light a fire on your deck.
How does it sound? Like you traveled back to late 1960s Los Angeles, decided to have yourself a night on the town, and eventually stumbled boozily into the cavernous halls the Whiskey A Go-Go. The crowd is raucous. The drinks are watered down. And when the house band goes on, you find yourself entranced by the rhythmic ramblings of a man and a band who you can’t quite decide if they’re psychedelic pioneers or pompous posers. Either way, you feel a door has been opened for you, and you can’t help but dance your way through it.
Give VMP a Spin
I’d be willing to wager that, perhaps more than any single Essentials pick in history, The Doors has proven a bit of a hard sell for the Vinyl Me, Please team. That’s not because the album isn’t worthy of the tag, of course. It is. Make no mistake, that’s true whether you love or loathe the band who put it into the world, because The Doors is as representative of the classic rock era as any album it spawned. And yes, it also boasted one of the era’s biggest hits. Rather, The Doors’ legacy has proven complicated at best, and some folks simply cannot abide their vibe.
As mentioned, more problematic is that The Doors has been pressed with great frequency over the years, meaning it’s not that hard to dig a copy from a bargain bin if you’re really looking for it. Nonetheless, it’s my sincere hope some of the Doors loathers out there in VMP-land, and especially those who might’ve been on the fence about The Doors (including myself) decide to give this one a chance … if only because this is truly one of the best pressings of the album you’ll find in the vinyl wilds. That it comes in such a stylish package is just sort of a bonus. And I’d sincerely like to thank Team VMP for putting it all into the world.
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each and every month! Be sure to check back in July to see what vinyl treasure Team VMP sends our way!