Classic Rock Review

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The Beatles Abbey Road (1969)

abbeyroadFrom amazon.com

After the hardest studio sessions they’ve ever had to stand (“White Album” and “Get Back/Let It Be”), The Beatles knew the end was coming. So they made the effort of reuniting, despite all their differences and made one of the greatest popular music album ever recorded and listened by the human race.

I have said before I prefer “Revolver” because you can get out of it a complete philosophy to your life, and the lyrics and musical experiments were never better than on that album, but I have to recognize that the production and orchestral work made with this CD can be considered as the best music The Beatles made in their whole succesful carrer. It’s so removing, you can get deep emotions by the listening experience, you can feel lots of noises, like the constant presence of death and dark perceptions of the world, the optimism, the humour, the social comments, I mean… The Beatles’ lyrics here are getting simpler, but more to the point.

They are writing rock’n’roll again, the songs with deep and hidden meanings are gone, as are the strange but interesting instrumental arrangements and studio experiments they made in their more psychedelic albums from 1965-1967. They are PLAYING MUSIC again, that’s the final gift they gave to the world.

The first side of the album is a very hard-to-unify bunch of songs. “Come Together” finds John Lennon at his funkiest mood, laughing at them all, as always, and the rocky guitars (and specially the Fender Rhodes piano solo played by Paul) make the perfect dark environment this acid song needs to have. “Something” has to be the loveliest ballad ever written, its simple structure and lyrics are adorned by the expert orchestral arrangements by George Martin, the guitar solo by the singer/composer George Harrison, is stunning, as is the middle-eight.

This particular track also shows The Beatles as a band, with John playing a notorious wah-wah rhythm guitar, Paul playing his bass guitar at his best (hear those chord variations!) and Ringo getting his turn at the drums. Notable. It gets into your subconscious, and it also was a big hit by the Fab-Four in 1969 (you can get a remastered version in the recently released “1” CD). “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Octopus’s Garden” are underrated humoristic and ironic songs.

Written by Paul and Ringo respectively, they help to make the album a little lighter, and to remember those days where the music and the lyrics were not mean to be something with deep meaning, but most notably something to enjoy the experience of playing music. Plus, Ringo’s lead vocal on “Octopus’s Garden” is one of his best, his lyrics are intriguing and very psychedelic, making this song a pleasant surprise and one of the high points of the album. “Oh! Darling” is a lovely and heart-breaking ballad with an impressive vocal interpretation by Sir James Paul McCartney (John said he could have done it better!) and a bluesy air that can remove all the hairs in your body… “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, with its weak lyric, is no more than a great jam by the biggest band in the world (but they knew how to make it into a great rock’n’roll moment!) The final noises can REALLY scare you.

George Harrison finally gets the chance to show how a good songwriter he was on this album. Apart from “Something”, he wrote the best song on “Abbey Road”: “Here Comes The Sun” (the opening track for side 2) which also has very good orchestral arrangements (Martin takes care of the production in both Harrisongs, and you can note it!), optimistic lyrics and the brilliant acoustic guitar work that George made by himself. It can really blow your mind. And it’s relaxing and lovely.

After that, the album gets a spirit of unity and you can’t realize where does a song finish or another begins: “Because” is the Lennon version of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, and shows the greatest vocal performance ever made by John, Paul and George in 9 voices! The lyrics are intriguing, and the electric harpischord (played by George Martin) with the Moog Synthesiser (played by George Harrison!) make the song sound even more electrifying! “You Never Give Me Your Money” is the first part of a McCartney medley, with a complex structure, brilliant guitar moments, and… ask Paul what he’s singing about. Then, there is the medley: “Sun King”, “Mean Mr.Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” are John’s songs, beautifully arranged and almost always accompanied by Paul on backing vocals. Then there is “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, a lovely and intriguing acoustic/pop/rock song. All of those songs are unified and glued to each other so you can’t really define which is which…

And then, they wave goodbye. “Golden Slumbers” sends you to sleep in a quiet but removing mood. “Carry That Weight” is sung by the four of them, and in “The End”… the love you take is equal to the love you made. The drum solo by Ringo and the three guitar solos (by Paul, George and John, in that order) are the oportunity they have to say goodbye to the world. They do it, and it’s simply thrilling. I mean, listen to them: they are a BAND again!

And when you think it’s all over, “Her Majesty”, a very strange but simple song by Paul closes the album. They have made it at their best, and they know a door is closed, and a new time begins…

So they have made it perfectly. They were capable of give the world the best music, and when they felt the work was finally done (with this masterpiece), they left. And the love they took was equal to the love they made. This album IS pop & rock absolute perfection. Buy it and enjoy it. It’s hard to take it off from your stereo.

(P.S.: If some fans want to review the album with LONG texts, leave them. Sometimes is necesarry to open your mind and listen to another points of view. Just be patient…)

May 4, 2013 Posted by | The Beatles Abbey Road | | Leave a comment