This indisputable rock masterpiece includes that one song that exemplifies what I consider the true Doors sound: "Strange Days." Sure, most of the songs in The Doors' catalogue are good, but not the same way the title track for this album is. Marked with an eerie pulsing quality, the melody and effects seem to emanate like concentric circles, with Morrison's voice that of a demented ringmaster shouting down from the periphery of our consciousness. It's a creative milestone. It is a sound I wish they had explored more often, but was to be actualized only rarely, and never really quite the same way. From later albums, "Not to Touch the Earth" and "Waiting for the Sun" come to mind as created from that same haunted cavern.
Not of the same feel but still a particularly fine composition from STRANGE DAYS is "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind," with its lyrical abstraction and tearfully cracked vocals, and ending with a lone note eventually tweaked and dropped into empty space. Along with "Crystal Ship" from the first album, this song stands as one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.
Thirty-five years later, the album stands the test of time. "When the Music's Over" seems a bit anachronistic and bombastic, now feeling more experimental to me than it did originally. However this doesn't detract from the album's ranking among my all-time favorites. It is The Doors at the crux, which in hindsight turned out to be their peak. They never seemed to regain their focus or footing after this.