The Doors

Perception

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It's hard not to look at the 2006 box set Perception without a skeptical eye, since it is not only the third box set of the Doors studio recordings to be released within the course of a decade, it is the second in a row to purport to house the "complete studio recordings" of a group that released six studio albums -- and this doesn't count the live sets and hits comps that have appeared during that decade, either. Needless to say, the band has been packaged, repackaged, and reissued more than most, but just because there has been more Doors boxes than necessary doesn't mean that Perception lacks value. Indeed, it trumps the 1999 box The Complete Studio Recordings in every sense, since it covers the same territory in a set that is better packaged and better-sounding while also offering many more rarities. It also offers brand-new remasters supervised by the surviving band and their original producer Bruce Botnick, highlighted by the first-ever release of the classic debut album at its proper speed; apart from that, the improvements are by and large marginal in terms of the CD audio, but there are also 5.1 surround mixes of each of the albums on the DVD-Audios that accompany each album in this set, which are the primary sonic enticements to those who have already purchased these albums two, three, four times on CD. The bonus material -- and each of the albums have bonus tracks, ranging from two cuts on L.A. Woman to ten on Morrison Hotel -- by and large presents songs that have been official releases before (including much of the music from the Essential Rarities disc that was included in the 1999 box), but there have been a handful of rarities excavated for this set, including the unheard "Push Push" which has been added to The Soft Parade. All this makes Perception into what the 1999 box promised to be in its title: the complete recorded works, more or less, and it's better-looking and better-sounding, too. Even so, any fan who has purchased the prior sets would be forgiven if they passed on this otherwise excellent box: no matter how well-done it is, it's hard not to shake the perception that you've bought this all before.

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