Where Morrison really revisits the first album is in “Riders on the storm.” Revisiting themes, subject matter, and taking a look at the same material in a different light originally used in “The End.”
The climactic portions of “The End” and “Riders on the Storm” are a revisiting of the same theme, a family encountering a serial killer. In both scenarios the killer is more like a shadow, an unseen visage “who took a face from the ancient gallery.” In “Riders” no description is offered at all except for “his mind was squirming like a toad.” In both instances the killer serves the same function, more concept than physical, symbolism for the randomness of death that can be visited upon us at any moment. Morrison’s encounters with the killer is used to different effect and resolution. In “The End” Morrison posits a problem and in “Riders on the Storm” he resolves it.
At the time of Morrison adding the Oedipal section of “The End” he was a voracious reader, with a knowledgeable command of the subjects he read, he could see how he could update the Oedipus myth for rock ‘n’ roll and provide a language for it, he was still standing on the edge of the abyss. All he could see is the existential angst and chaos that offers no resolution. It is the angst one feels standing on the edge of life in your early 20’s or late teens. Everything is an unknown, an unlighted corridor and seeing death as the only end, with no other outcome. Staring into the unknown is the horror of existence, and the youthful Jim Morrison had no answer to the problem of existence.
Living the life of experience and knowledge that Morrison did he was self-admittedly able to gain experience he ordinarily wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. By the time of “L.A. Woman” Morrison was ready and able to revisit his serial killer motif and this time he was able to provide a resolution to the problem he had presented in “The End.” “Riders” is an answer and it provides hope. The answer is the poet’s answer, love. Morrison had read other poets and poetry and was aware of their solution, but until it had passed over into the realm of acquired knowledge and wisdom it remained just out of Morrison’s grasp. In the lines ‘girl you gotta love your man/take him by the hand/make him understand/the world on you depends/our life will never end,” Morrison had reached the conclusion love can save you from the angst and horror of existence by transcending it.
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