Wishful Sinful: atypical harmony of Robby Krieger
The Soft Parade LP
Wishful Sinful is a song written by Robby Krieger for The Soft Parade released in 1969 by The Doors and considered to be the most controversial work in the band's history. On this fourth studio album, the tracks were not credited to all four members as it had been done in previous releases, instead attributing all songs to the authorship of Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger, each having four solo credits and sharing one as it had been a collaborative effort.
It is reported that Morrison, who at the time was focused on his poetry, was less involved in writing the lyrics for The Doors, allowing Krieger to increase his song output and significantly affect the arrangement of his tracks by including additional instruments such as symphonic strings, English horn, and saxophone.
Following the general concept of the band, named after Aldous Huxley's iconic book The Doors of Perception which details various psychedelic experiments, Krieger stated that with his lyrics for Wishful Sinful he "tried to get in the subconscious mind," although The Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek interpreted the song as just being about "love and sex."
Listen to Wishful Sinful by The Doors:
Wishful Sinful was released as a single, reaching No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 at its peak in April. The reviews of the song were rather polarizing, some critics relegating the song to the category of a "crooning Frank Sinatra – type ballad" and others considering it to be "not all that good, and not sung very convincingly by Morrison." In any case, it was very difficult for Morrison to sing expressively on the track since the harmonic structure of the song shows a chord progression that cannot be explained by the canons of tonal music, and the symphonic arrangement only aggravates the harmonious awkwardness by separating the band's sound from the section of classical instruments.