Song Notes: Strange Days

Strange days have found us
Strange days have tracked us down
They're goin' to destroy our casual joys
We shall go on playing or find a new town

Strange eyes fill strange rooms
Voices will signal their tired end
The hostess is grinning
Her guests sleep from sinning
Hear me talk of sin and you know this is it

Strange days have found us
And through their strange hours
We linger alone
Bodies confused
Memories misused
As we run from the day
To a strange night of stone

Even within the context of the excellence of the Strange Days album, the song Strange Days stands out as a masterwork. The song proves that some of Morrison's finest poetry is to be found in his lyrics; it is the work of a brilliant wordsmith.

Jim is the sage observer of all around him - seemingly making no judgement about what he sees. He sings of the destruction of casual joys without anger or regret; it is simply a statement of fact.

The world at large, and the world within have become, in a word, strange. But each cooly-delivered verse builds to a moment of abandon. In each of these moments, one can almost see him take a leap into some yawning abyss. As the song comes to an end, Jim leaves us with one frightening image - a night of stone.

Jim Morrison rarely revealed much of himself through his songs, but it is hard to imagine that he was not speaking directly from the soul when he penned Strange Days - he had metamorphosed in the short space of three years from his youth as a brilliant, troubled, nondescript - looking junior college student to the adulated "Rock God" with a number one record, a photo spread in Vogue, and a spot on the Ed Sullivan Show. Strange Days indeed.

Jim may have been attempting to grapple with his personal demons, but Strange Days showed true prescience about the trials and troubles ahead for the world at large. Riots raged in the ghettos of Newark, Detroit and Cleveland throughout 1967. The month the album was released, 100,000 demonstrators marched on the Pentagon and activist Abbie Hoffman attempted to levitate it. The Vietnam war was clearly only going to get bloodier, and shortly, at the 1968 democratic convention, there would be furious demonstrators squaring off with Mayor Daley's dark forces in the streets. By the end of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy had been struck down by assassin's bullets.

Though the Doors had their first great success during the summer of love, Jim hadn't ever copped to any of the prevailing vibes of peace and love. The forces of darkness out in the real world could not be kept at bay with love beads. The only hope lay in learning to find one's way through the darkness to the other side.

Copyright 2003 by The Doors, Chuck Crisafulli/

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