Thursday, August 7, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: Abbey Road - The Beatles

The Beatles - Abbey Road by Johnny Moon

What Is The Beatles Final Album?

The answer is Abbey Road. This issue has been somewhat confused by the fact that Let It Be was actually released after Abbey Road. But that's only because The Beatles were unhappy with the recordings made for Let It Be (or as it was called at the time, Get Back) and they had them "shelved" until they were dug out and remixed by music producing legend Phil Specter and released after the band had broken up in 1970.

Abbey Road - The Best Final Album Ever?

How often does a band go out on this kind of peak? I can think of a few situations where a band only released a few albums and they "went out" on a high note (I'm thinking of Neutral Milk Hotel, The Olivia Tremor Control, & My Bloody Valentine in particular... although they may all eventually get to releasing another album) but that's a different situation from a band who released as many albums as The Beatles did.

While Abbey Road is not my favorite Beatles album I think in some ways it is the best. It is the most "modern" sounding album they recorded, that's probably because it's the only album they recorded on what was then a state of the art 8 track recording machine (their other albums were recorded on a 4 track machine.) The album, of course, includes the amazing side two "suite" which to me is the highlight of the album. It also features George Harrision in full bloom as a songwriter. While he only contributed two songs "Here Comes The Sun" & "Something" they were both absolute classics.

Abbey Road - A Good Starting Point?

I actually think Abbey Road may be a pretty good starting point for someone new to The Beatles. Like I said, I don't think it's their best album. I prefer The White Album, Revolver, & Sgt Pepper - but I do think it may be an easier initial listen than any of those albums. And I personally like the idea of starting off someone with an album rather than a greatest hits collection. Although Past Masters, Volume 2 is another nice choice to get started with. I like that choice because there's none of the "overlap" that you get with the greatest hits CDs.

I know about that because I actually started off with the "Blue Album" & "Red Album" greatest hits CDs and while they are definitely a good way to get someone hooked on the Beatles as the songs are incredibly good. They also have the effect of somewhat damaging the way the albums sound when you first get them. For example I think there's 7 songs from Rubber Soul on the Red album, it's hard to then listen to those songs with "fresh ears" and hear them in context of the album once you've already heard them so many times on Rubber Soul.

Anyway, my point is that the Past Masters Vol. 2 doesn't have any of that overlap, because it only includes singles that were not included on any albums. In fact, because of that, I consider it a must buy for any Beatles fan.

Standout Tracks On Abbey Road?

The easy answer is the whole thing, but then that'd be somewhat of a lie as Octopus's Garden isn't a great song (sorry Ringo.) Some standout tracks for me (that you may not have heard before if you've only heard their "hits) are "Oh Darling," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" & "You Never Give Me Your Money." And of course the whole "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Polythene Pam," through "The End" suite. Oh and "Sun King" is awesome. And so is "Her Majesty" even though it's only 23 seconds long. And "Because" is incredibly beautiful. And of course the more well known (the songs that almost everyone has heard before) songs like "Come Together," "Something," & "Here Comes The Sun" are great too.

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