The Doors

Music review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
The Doors Music Poster Image
Morrison & Co.'s debut: dark, hypnotic all-time classic.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

There is a lot of cheerleading here for pure hedonism and pleasure-seeking. Other than that, the songs, upbeat and down, spend most of their time in dark rooms, dark alleys, and dark corners of the human soul, not to mention death itself, and passionately embrace that environment as normal. "End of the Night" includes the line "Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night," a quote from English poet William Blake's "Auguries of Innocence."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Being a positive role model was not on Jim Morrison's agenda, either at the time The Doors were making this album or in their later career. Consequently the characters who appear in these songs range from vapid scenesters and substance users to those more actively engaged in violent, criminal, or immoral activity at the moment. About as positive as it gets is the "fashionably lean/fashionably late" "20th Century Fox," who, Morrison notes with  amusement and approval, seems to have her world under control.


In "The End," "the killer" announces to his father, "I want to kill you," and Morrison later erupts in a frenzy of "Kill! Kill! Kill!" 


Many songs here, from Willie Dixon's "Back Door Man" to Morrison's own "Light My Fire," are all about sex, although metaphorically expressed. But the way they're delivered, vocally and instrumentally, leaves little doubt about it. "Soul Kitchen" has the lines "I'd really like to stay here all night" and "Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen."


While this album is full of sordid characters who often behave badly, swearing and hate speech (other than the violent Oedipal outbursts of the killer in "The End") are not among their vices, perhaps because Morrison saw himself as a poet.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The album features drinking and smoking -- "Show me the way to the next whisky bar" in "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)"; "I light another cigarette" in "Soul Kitchen" -- but does not include explicit references to drugs, although a druggy consciousness permeates the album's lyrical worldview. "Light My Fire" contains the line "You know we couldn't get much higher," which could be read as a metaphor for ecstatic feelings. "The Crystal Ship" has the line "Before you slip into unconsciousness I'd like to have another kiss," but it could refer to falling asleep as easily as being in a drugged state. When the album came out in 1967, "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" had the repeated line "She gets" because the record company censored the original lyric: "She gets high." The version reviewed here, which is downloadable on Spotify, contains a remix with the full original lyric. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is one of the best rock 'n' roll albums ever made -- and requires a certain maturity. Musically, it's compelling, hypnotic, and not to be missed. Lyrically, the songs and Jim Morrison's dark delivery provide a journey through metaphor-laden sexual territory, hallucinatory scenes, moments of getting high, and toxic relationships that kids and some young teens may not be ready for.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 10, 13, and 16-year-old Written byAmelia R. August 2, 2017

The Doors Review

I remember I loved the Doors when I was growing up. My parents were pretty proud of me for liking what they called their “Diamond Decade” of music. There are a... Continue reading
Adult Written bymongofa September 4, 2012


The Door's are somewhat hit and miss with me. Pretty much there are 2 types of Door's songs: The absolutley fantastic ones, and the pretty good ones.... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe March 8, 2013

Great group; great tunes

I have the 1985 Doors album "The Best of The Doors" and the only songs from this album on "The Best of The Doors" are "Break On Through... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDrBigMac July 29, 2012

One of the greatest albums of all time!

First of all... It's a fantastic album, and one everyone should listen to in their lifetime. The only issue is the drug and drinking references in a few of... Continue reading

What's the story?

The Los Angeles band The Doors' debut album THE DOORS became a hit in spring 1967, propelled by the May release of the smash single \"Light My Fire.\" The album still ranks high among the all-time greats, and songs from it are still widely played on the radio, especially album opener \"Break On Through (To the Other Side),\" \"Light My Fire,\" and \"Soul Kitchen.\" Ray Manzarek on keyboards, John Densmore on drums, and Robby Krieger on guitar are on fire backing sexy, brooding, poetic singer and songwriter Jim Morrison, who was never better.

Is it any good?

There's a broad consensus that The Doors never surpassed their first album, as it included most of the best material they'd assembled to date. You may not be comfortable with some of the stylistic excesses, particularly Morrison's violent screaming in "The End," or the more obvious drug references, both of which presented a moral conundrum back in the day. But this is unquestionably some of the best rock music ever recorded. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they know about Jim Morrison and what happened to him.

  • Why do you think people come up with all these metaphorical ways to talk about sex and/or drugs, like "Light my fire"?

  • What do you know about Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, who wrote "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)"? Have you ever seen their work in theater or literature class?

  • This album came out at the same time as the Summer of Love was happening in San Francisco. Why was Los Angeles so different? Or was it just Jim Morrison?

Music details

  • Artist: The Doors
  • Release date: January 1, 1967
  • Type: Album
  • Label: Rhino Records
  • Genre: Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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