Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Doors: L.A. Woman [Elektra, 1971]
The tip-off is when in the middle of a lyric about needing someone who doesn't need etc. etc. Jim intones the line "I see the bathroom is clear." That's how you know the "raaght awn"s in "Cars Hiss by My Window" (hiss, huh?) and the jungle talk in "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" (wasps, huh?) and even the cover of John Lee Hooker's "Crawling King Snake" (take that, lizard-haters) are jokes. Which is nice, because the band has never sounded better--the blues licks are sharp, the organ fills are hypnotic, and they've even hired a bass player. But if "Been Down So Long" is also a takeoff, I prefer Randy Newman's. And Newman has better ideas about "L'America," too. A-