The Doors - The Singles (2 CDs, 1 Blu-ray Box-Set) [3 Discs]
Personnel: Robby Krieger (vocals, guitar); Ray Manzarek (vocals, piano, organ); Jim Morrison (vocals); John Densmore (drums).
Released as part of the Doors' celebration of their 50th anniversary, The Singles may at first glance seem to cover familiar ground as, in essence, it's another greatest-hits collection in a discography littered with compilations. Look closer, and the differences are immediately apparent. Designed as a clearinghouse for every single the band ever released, The Singles does indeed take its mission seriously, containing the A- and B-sides of such classic 45s as "Break on Through (To the Other Side), "Light My Fire," "Love Me Two Times," "Hello, I Love You," and "Riders on the Storm" but also not stopping the band's story with the death of Jim Morrison, which is a first for any Doors hits set. The second disc contains the five singles culled from the Morrison-less Other Voices and Full Circle, plus the lone 45 pulled from 1979's An American Prayer (a pseudo-reunion album where Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore set old Morrison spoken word performances to music that somehow also included a live version of "Roadhouse Blues"); the single from 1983's Alive, She Cried; and mono radio versions of "Hello, I Love You, "Touch Me," "Wishful Sinful," and "Tell All the People." Notice that two of those sides are not considered Doors standards and their presence helps highlight all the classic rock staples missing from the set: "Strange Days," "Five to One," "Waiting for the Sun," "Love Her Madly," "The End," "Twentieth Century Fox," and "L.A. Woman" are all MIA. Their absence means this set can't be seen as a definitive overview, yet due to its strict adherence to what the Doors released as 45s -- not to mention how the deluxe set contains a Blu-ray bearing the Quadraphonic mix originally released on 1973's The Best of the Doors -- The Singles winds up painting a better picture of what the Doors actually felt like on AM and FM radio during their heyday and after their salad days came to a close. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine