WEIRDLAND: The Soft Parade deluxe edition, Jim Morrison

Thursday, February 06, 2020

The Soft Parade deluxe edition, Jim Morrison

Many established musical artists have released albums that are stylistic head-scratchers, something that appears to be the very antithesis of what they're normally known for. Bob Dylan released the puzzling Self Portrait in 1970. Neil Young embraced synthesizers with Trans in 1982. The Doors were a potent mix of garage rock, blues and psychedelia, and The Soft Parade veered (at times, deeply) into pop territory. What really set The Soft Parade apart from the other Doors albums at the time was the appearance of horns and strings on several of the tracks, which some fans and critics claimed dulled their edges. The truth is, these embellishments only appear on a few of the album's songs. While they occasionally seem distracting, they frequently carry the songs into inspiring realms. Morrison was to sing something like "I'm gonna love you / 'Til the stars fall from the sky" and also drink heavily during the making of The Soft Parade. The new 50th-anniversary deluxe edition of The Soft Parade gives fans a chance to revisit the album in its original form (remastered by longtime Doors engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick), adds some previously unreleased studio material, a rare B-side, and horn/string-free versions of "Tell All the People", "Runnin' Blue", and "Wishful Sinful". The single "Touch Me", one of the Doors' biggest hits, is perhaps the one track that benefits from these embellishments. It seems unusual to think that The Soft Parade received the kind of hate that greeted it in 1969. Other raw recordings include "Rock Is Dead", a much-bootlegged, hour-long jam session that's interesting from a fan's standpoint but hardly something the average listener will sit through more than once. Source:

Changes in functional network organization related to romantic lovers may indicate alterations in the processing of abstract representations of the self. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that lovers’ abstract representations of the ‘self’ are adapted to include their significant other. From an evolutionary perspective, changes in network organization may be less aberrant and more naturally-occurring, as previous studies suggest that intense lifetime achievements, including falling in love and finding an intimate partner, are central in human motivation for ‘expanding the self’. As discussed above, our results confirm love-related changes in brain networks. Some of these changes parallel the effects observed in addiction, while others differ from addiction. Romantic love is a state of intense longing for union with another. The early stage of romantic love is reminiscent of addiction, with behavioral changes that include euphoria, intense focused attention on the preferred individual, and obsessive thoughts about the person (Hatfield and Rapson 1987). Previous fMRI studies have found that lovers show significant activation when viewing pictures of their partner, including the limbic-reward system and other networks: ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (NAC), caudate, insula, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), hippocampus, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), precuneus, temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), and hypothalamus. Results showed lower small-worldness, mean clustering coefficient and modularity properties but enhanced emotional-social processing (e.g., decreased degree in left angular gyrus and left medial orbitofrontal gyrus, and increased degree in bilateral fusiform gyri) in romantic lovers. Our findings provided first evidence of love-related brain network organization changes, and suggest that romantic love is both similar and different from addiction. People with depression, anxiety and insecurity have significantly increased blood flow in the amygdala and memory system. Unpredictability, mystery, and sexual attraction make the amygdala go into a hyper-activation mode. Via neurotransmitters, this signals to the adrenal glands that something exciting, scary, mysterious, and unpredictable is going on. This, in turn, results in the adrenal glands pumping a surge of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol into the bloodstream. Via the bloodstream, adrenaline increases heart and breathing rates; noradrenaline produces body heat, making you sweat; and cortisol provides extra energy for muscles to use. Though falling in love is associated with anxiety, this state—in combination with the belief that there may be reciprocation—is also at times accompanied by intensely pleasant emotions. These emotions arise from an underlying brain chemistry that resembles those triggered by cocaine use. When you become truly infatuated with a person, you might make decisions you wouldn’t dream of making in a sane state of mind. Nothing really matters compared to the object of your infatuation. In extreme cases, people might move across oceans, abdicate a throne, rob banks, or even commit murder for the sake of love. Source:

Jim Morrison was quoted as saying, “I think the highest and lowest points are the important ones.” Also, “People use me to come alive. They’re all looking for a peak experience.” The maintenance of dissociated alternating ego states is used to prevent a generalized feeling of anxiety throughout the self by protecting the libidinally derived all good ego core and by restricting anxiety to the all bad ego core, which is based on aggressively derived introjections. Therefore, the affected by borderline syndrome cannot integrate a stable identity. Denial, in its crudest form, reinforces splitting. Denial can interfere in a severe way with reality testing, for example, in the denial of a reality at the service of a transference distortion. Borderline patients also can deny the significance of external events that were very significant to them. A more sophisticated form of denial is the intensified expression of an affect opposite to the real depressive feeling which is being denied. The depressive-masochistic personality disorder, the highest-level outcome of the pathology of depressive affect, presents an extremely punitive superego. This predisposes the patient to self-defeating behavior, reflecting an unconscious need to suffer as expiation for guilt feelings or a precondition for sexual pleasure. Sometimes their past object relations are replaced by a defensive disintegration of the representations of self into libidinally invested part-object relations. —"Narcissism, Self-Destructiveness and Borderline States" (2004) by Otto F. Kernberg

Jim Morrison was the first rock and roll method actor. By behaving in an outrageous and provocative manner, Jim Morrison attempted to fill the void, to prevent panic from overwhelming him. That chaotic state of mind that characterized Jim Morrison was relentless, leading him in the process to experience profound and consuming identity conflicts. Jim Morrison would grow to hate this self-conscious image – it was mostly studied perversity. Psychoanalyst William W. Meissner conceptualized these “emotive vs detached” borderline types—also known as "syndrome of diffuse identity." Borderline impulsivity traits are predicted by both diffusion and identity splitting. 'Splitting' is the tendency to swing from idealization to devaluation of self and others. In accordance with Kernberg’s model, identity diffusion reflects a lack of integration of positive and negative segments of objects relations and is associated with several behavioral manifestations such as emotional lability, anger, interpersonal chaos, and impulsive self-destructive behaviors. It is assumed that identity and cognitive processes have a reciprocal influence on the development and modulation of affective responses by providing the representational aspects of affect activation. The dissociation between two sectors of the psyche could deprive the person from having access to crucial information during the deliberation stage of information processing.

James Riordan offers one of the best characterizations of Morrison onstage: “Watching him sing was like witnessing a man dangling in his own anguish. Seeing him scream, writhe, and whisper his way into a head-on clash with some ultimate truth could be truly frightening.” In the 1960s, researchers experimented with the psychedelic drug psylocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to see if it could induce spiritual experiences in healthy volunteers. The first of these experiments took place on Good Friday in 1962. Harvard researchers administered psilocybin to ten students in the basement of Marsh Chapel at Boston University. The religious setting and the drug together gave rise to religious experiences in all study participants. (The experiments came to a halt when the US government prohibited them in the early 1970s). Psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), and mescaline, affect the dopamine system, the serotonin system, and the adrenergic system. Their effects on the adrenergic systems, which normally cause an increase in the blood concentration of adrenaline, can cause panic attacks and extreme anxiety. 

The drugs’ effects on the dopamine system are responsible for thoughtless decision making and irrational actions during a “trip,” such as self-mutilation or suicide. The psychedelic effects of the drugs are largely due to their affinity for the 5-HT2A receptor. This receptor is a serotonin receptor. When a psychedelic drug in the serotonin family binds to it, the drug functions just like serotonin. In normal amounts, the feel-good chemical serotonin yields a sense of relaxation and relief. In large amounts, however, serotonin and serotonin agonists like LSD, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and the magic mushroom ingredient psilocybin have psychedelic effects.  The effects of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, DMT, and psilocybin, can be extreme. Because these drugs cause the brain to enter an over-excited state, they can have seizure-like effects. They furthermore can give rise to hallucinations, illusory color experiences, a feeling of floating, a feeling of one’s identity disintegrating, and illusions of time and distance. Thoughts can become uncontrollable, rambling, and obscure, and edged in acid, old memories may blend with new experiences. Source:

According to Jerry Hopkins: "Except for Pamela, there was no one girl that he saw often for periods of more than a few days, and in the months since they'd met. Jim and Patricia had been in the same room only a few times. Nor had there been many phone calls. A sheaf of letters, gifts of jewelry and rare books, but nothing that signaled a passionate courtship." Patricia Kennealy deluded herself when she said: "Jim found it hard to accept love because he had never been given very much of it, and did not think himself worthy of love." Although it can be true Morrison didn't receive the love he needed as a kid, he never hesitated in receiving love from Pamela. But Jim never loved Patricia, he just saw her as an obsessive stalker and even was justifiably scared of her. Before enrolling at UCLA, Morrison attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. At FSU, in 1962, Jim studied art and psychology. In an interview with American Legends, Gerry McClain remembers his fellow FSU student, Jim Morrison, remarking: "Jim was straight. At FSU, he had a girlfriend, Mary Werbelow. Some guy was bending over to talk to her at a party and Jim got jealous. He grabbed the guy by the belt and threw him across the room." When Judy Huddleston confessed she'd only had sex with three guys prior, Morrison seemed startled: ”You’re practically a virgin,” he burst out, flushed. “I feel really privileged.” He looked embarrassed and thrilled, like he’d just made it with the Virgin Mary.

Philip O’Leno met Jim in 1964 at the UCLA Film School where they were both undergrads dreaming about becoming filmmakers. Phil, who had studied acting at Los Angeles City College, was tall, moody and well read. His inspiration was Orson Welles, Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil.  -Phil: After I got back from Mexico and I had that place on Third Street, Jim asked me one time “Have you ever broken through?” And I said, “Yes,” because I definitely had. I was thinking of some of my mushroom experiences up there in the mountains. I had completely transcended out. I was cut-off completely from physical life and I was bound up in the experience completely. I had totally gone all the way out and come back, so I said, “Yes.” That’s what that LSD experience meant for him. Not just drugs, but a way of breaking out of the shell, shedding the skin and becoming another being. To die and to be born again. -Frank Lisciandro: How was Jim really? -Phil  O’Leno: Jim was extremely intelligent, brilliant. He was also ‘naive’, meaning not too much of this world. –"Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together" (2014) by Frank Lisciandro

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