The Soft Parade: This song, to me, is something of a study in the complete story of "The Doors". There were many complex things going on in Jim's life at the time this was written, I would have to guess. This song is probably from notes he scribbled of his feelings, the trial in Miami, the physical and emotional burden of touring constantly and the pressure to create new music and poetry. I hear a struggle from who the fans, music industry and touring promoters wanted him to be and who Jim wanted to be, or rather how he wanted to present himself. Really three songs in one and with obvious (and possibly some subliminal) references to literature and first nations.
What is the meaning of the term "The Soft Parade"? I have no real idea but did find a reference in an online Doors discussion forum from a person who lived the '60s in England that said in the UK at the time, "the soft parade" refers to a person who had succumed to the accumulative effects of LSD (Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Skip Spence (Moby Grape), and Stacy Sutherland (13th Floor Elevators). Remember, it was not made illegal in the U.S. until 1968.
Everything must be this way! The monk bought lunch. And then the last line. The last line is an obscure reference to the event which Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed that ultimately may have led to him losing his mind (whip the horse's eye's). One source puts it this way: On 3 January 1889, Nietzsche had a mental collapse. That day two Turinese policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What actually happened remains unknown. The often-repeated (and apocryphal) tale states that Nietzsche saw a horse being whipped at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around the horse’s neck to protect it, and collapsed to the ground. In the following few days, he sent short writings to a number of friends, including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt, which showed signs of a breakdown.
Jim may have been showing signs of a breakdown, perhaps the candle had begun to flicker. Most of the songs on this album were written by Robby Krieger. But this was the fourth of six albums Jim recorded with The Doors and, especially at live performances, the band was becoming a blues band. Perhaps finding direction in the roots of the American South East... "comes out of the Virginia Swamps" a line from their song "Texas Radio" (also one of my favorites).
Just another piece in a puzzle that we'll never have all the pieces to finish.
Listen, then think, then repeat.