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The Soft Parade song meanings
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  • +10
    General CommentJim Morrison was a poetic genius and this song is most definitely a criticism of modern life. even from the first lines it demonstrates his dissatisfaction with the lazy belief that god will give you whatever you want as long as you pray. the next lines have a double meaning. they can represent his feelings that he's out of place in the selfish, lazy, society or it could represent how easily people are offended by intellectual opinions, searching for sanctuary from the man at the door who can be inferred to be angered by his statement. the next lines go on to cite examples of the american desires of luxury, women, and acknowledgement. the four ways to get unraveled are also criticisms of laziness, running away from ones problems, crime, and lust. the next lines refer to the futility of life. catacombs and nursery bones signify death, and winter women growing stones and carrying babies to the river can also have a double meaning of either the fruitless efforts (growing stones) or more likely the raising of children to be just as thoughtless and deluded as their parents. "the monk bought lunch" immediately instigates a dramatic shift in the tone of the music, as if the irony of a monk, who traditionally begged for their food, buying his own lunch which can represent either the cruelty of people to their fellow humans or the hypocrisy of modern religion, actually causes a realization in the music itself. i'm not certain which song, but i know that in another song morrison says "this is the best part of the trip", so his intentionally reversing the lyrics emphasizes the backwards shift of the tone. successful hills signify the perceived success of this way of life and "everything must be this way" just means that people have grown so comfortable with it that they are unwilling to open their minds. "all our lives we sweat and saving building for a shallow grave" is mocking the way people strive for meaningless goals and find as they die that their lives have been worthless. the people who think that there "must be something else" are immediately silenced by a double repetition of "everything must be this way". "listen to the engines hum" is referring to life (the soft parade) as many poets and writers have used a machine as a metaphor for life (for example Welcome To The Machine by Pink Floyd). the leopard is a common symbol for lust or incontinence, so logically the cobra represents agression, making a reference to sigmund freud's theory of the human subconscious composed of sex and agression. the hunter of the green vest can represent the military and the claim that he has "wrestled before with lions in the night" is a criticism of society's glorification of military might. the moaning radio that's calling all the dogs signifies the way modern life is controlled by the media and "its getting harder to describe sailors to the underfed" means that as time goes on those who lack true freedom are unable to recognize a "sailor" who can be interpreted as a free spirit, the epitome of freedom. from here on the repetition and the seemingly nonsense lyrics represent corruption (animals in the yard, and crossroads were believed to be a place where people met with the devil). the last couple lines represent the cruel desire to force everything possible out of something that has almost nothing left to offer. so yeah, its an entire song criticizing the futility and corruption of modern life.
    357PMon May 29, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentA fantastic psycho-ride. You can just sit back, and play this song and be immersed in its atmosphere. One of my favorite Doors songs.
    phalanxon April 07, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is a way of challenging the american dream. "All our lives we sweat and save, building for a shallow grave, must be something else we say". I think Jim is scoffing at the idea that having two cars and a house makes your life complete.
    matt177on December 01, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti can't believe no one has posted anything about such a great song. this is definately one of my favorite doors songs. " You cannot petition the lord with prayer!...All our lives we sweat and save, building for a shallow grave. Must be something else we say, somehow to defend this place.
    Everything must be this way, Everything must be this way, yeah, welcome to the soft parade." - i think this whole part, pieced together, shows how you can't change the way life is through prayer and life is a ridiculous parade. other than that, these lyrics make no sense. anyways, its a happy song and its basically about having a good time.
    estee27on June 20, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah most likely it was influence.

    Here's my best guest at what a Soft Parade is

    Soft + Parade = Life, Soft because it's so suttle and a parade because it just passes by. Basically I think because if you live life like he did then it's like a Soft Parade.
    TheShillon April 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthmm that could be dancingdays....or maybe you just lack the intelligence to comprehend anything that isn't spelled out 4 you...or maybe you just like your lyrics as simple as possible, in which case go back to Britney Spears and leave the Doors for the big boys, or not just a thought
    theRickon August 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me this is about how the majority of people go through life following a certain plan, accepting the status quo and never questioning why they are doing the things the do. "Everything must be this way" Jim Morrison is urgin people to think freely and make their own decisions, not just what society tells them they should do. "What got us this far, To this mild equator?" We've gotten to the pint where everybody thinks and acts the same. blackmamba is right about working all our lives just to die. And yes, Jim Morrison used acid quite a bit and came up with many of his lyrics that way but they are not just random nonsensical thoughts that pop in his head as he suggests. For me at least the whole song carries the same theme just sometimes its hard to interpret all of Jim's abstract metaphorical language even though it may all be about one thing. Many times he has multiple meanings for his lyrics that are open to interpretation depending on who is interpreting it.
    kwal30on March 31, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentanyone who thinks this song along with other Doors songs is just Jim rambling on during one of his trips obviously doesn't understand music.
    rhcp1215on June 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAhhh, fuck, I get so tired of you people saying everything anyone wrote was just because he was tripping! You can't get the Doors without tripping, you can't get The Wall without tripping. Morrison, and Cobain, and Poe, and Rimbaud and every artistic statement they ever made was solely because they were high. Just because YOU don't understand something doesn't mean it has no meaning! And if you would actually check out what the Doors have said (the words that the actual people who were there stated in interviews), Morrison wasn't on hallucinogenic drugs nearly as much as you think. It amounted to a short while early in the Doors career. Don't believe every pop culture myth Oliver Stone has sold you!

    As mentioned in the post above, you obviously don't understand music, and I'll go a step further and say you don't understand art. So stop trying to act like you do, and blaming great art on "Well, he musta been trippin', cuz I don't understant it...duhhr." Just because you have no greatness in you does not mean others don't have it in them. Have you even tripped before? Try writing something while you are tripping on acid, or record yourself singing, and see how it turns out. Retards...

    When he says "trip," he means something greater than just an acid trip. He's talking about life. That's what this song is about...life. It's so epic. You can't just spell everything out in the simplest terms, that's not art, it's dumb-downed exposition.

    To try to interpret this song's imagery line by line defeats the purpose. But it's not "nonsense." Jesus, why do you think a band would put all that time into recording something that had absolutely no meaning?
    ShepherdofBeingon June 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe the "sailors" are pedophiles and other assorted perverts preying on the weak and the "hunter of the green vest" are the people who stand up to the pseudo lions of society who are only propped up in their unrightful place by the political and military machine. These people probably experience of lot of anxiety and horrible pain to a greater or lesser degree depending on their circumstances.
    LLGirlon September 29, 2015   Link

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