51 Proteus 9 months ago To me the Doors' first album still holds up as a masterpiece, Everything they did after that was inconsistent, with moments of brilliance and moments of meh. I'm with Mac --- Densmore is a really good drummer with a solid jazz background, and I always dug Robbie Krieger's playing and tone. He also wrote some of the Doors' best stuff. I gotta give props to Ray Manzarek as the anchor ---if he had played a Hammond instead of a Vox Continental, who knows? More or less yes to all of this. I can't really consider Manzarek overrated - what he did, at the time he did it was fresh and unique. When listening to the band as an oldster, it's struck me that Krieger's playing (equally fresh and unique, I think) owed a lot to phrasing and lines he must have picked up listening to his father's jazz trumpet work. In that way, he dovetailed with Densmore's (yes) jazzish drumming. They almost played counterpoint as a sort of swinging jazz rhythm section, while Manzarek's churchy/pop/classical experience and necessarily somewhat rigid (but never stupid) basslines (because he had to concentrate on the right hand as well) played the straight guy in the ensemble.Certainly one of the most unusually constituted instrumental trios in rock - and one whose sound and texture could not have been predicted by describing its constituent parts.What I find exceptional about the band, in retrospect, is that they bridged the texturally colorful pop of the mid-60s (where harpsichords, bells, and diverse keyboard sounds were surprisingly abundant) with the guitar-heavier psychedelia that was coming (and which they helped usher in). Especially on the first three albums, neither of those influences swamped the other. They were kind of a bridge between two eras. Had there been more vocal range, richer harmonies, more songwriting, and a less flamboyant/troubled/self-destructive front man (ok, and maybe a career-spanning producer to keep them in line), they really could have been an American Beatles. Again - especially on the early albums - they had impeccable pop instincts and accessible melodicism, even as they were darkly trawling the lurid dregs of Morrison's psyche. The interplay of light and shade was compelling.I'd agree that the ratio of great to mediocre material diminished with each album - but I'd extend the "masterpiece" rating to Strange Days as well as the first album. Waiting for the Sun is really not far off. Morrison Hotel is, I think, back to masterpiece status - though by then they'd oddly transitioned to a much different overall aesthetic. In a way, much more American roots than the earlier, frillier, material. And LA Woman...well, there's some filler on there - but there's some killer too.And Morrison, ever the focal point and lightning rod and whipping boy - for all his deficiencies, he was the shaman who pulled the other players' diverse styles and abilities together. His ambition was enough for all of them. No Morrison, no Doors - as they vividly proved with the two very competent (but irrelevant) albums they put together after the Lizard King finally shed his skin.But yeah. The first two albums, and Morrison Hotel. With the exception of the long-form psychological trauma drama of "The End" and "When the Music's Over" (forgive them their hippiedom), those albums are filled with tight, concise, interesting, colorful, diverse songs, pretty well devoid of self-indulgence, well executed, and almost perfectly realized.Except in concept, lyric, and psychological exploration, the material went places the pop of the day generally did not.