Quite possibly the best final album of all time (even if Let It Be was technically their final official studio album). Even though I have an extremely difficult time with The Beatles' discography with picking out just a solid top five alone without flip-flopping between many different albums for places five-through-two, the one placement that I'm always sure of is Abbey Road being number one. To put it simply, Abbey Road just may be the most beautiful record to ever grace my ears, second only to Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. And considering how much I adore that album, to place another album so close to it will always be a huge compliment from me.
I'm gonna be honest here; I'm not going to be adding much to the conversation when it comes to this record. I mean, it's fuckin' Abbey Road! It's one of those albums that has been dissected to death. Everyone has heard this album at least once in their life, and if it was only the one time then they've likely lived under a rock for their entire lives. This is also one of those albums that absolutely everyone loves, and if you claim that you don't you're either a contrarian, an anti-mainstream hipster, or simply a liar. At the end of the day, Abbey Road is one of the few records ever made that is objectively perfect. I mean, not perfect in the sense of it having absolutely no flaws or it being impossible to make slight changes that could potentially improve it, but perfect in the sense that it really cannot get better than this. I mean, I think everyone can agree that no album is truly "perfect," but there are a select few that objectively get so fucking close to that point that you may as well just describe them as "perfect," and Abbey Road is one of those records.
Abbey Road is The Beatles' magnum opus. Even though they had finally reached the point where they could barely even stand each other, with John and Paul particularly not working together well at all and everything behind the scenes frankly being a mess, they still managed to pump out one last game-changing record before they all went their own ways. And it's one hell of a final statement. Honestly, it's just simply amazing seeing how much everyone seemed to grow by this point. They went from relying on cover songs and writing fairly mediocre material at the start of the '60s, to making some of the best songs in the history of music just before disbanding and continuing to leave an impression through their solo work. But even saying that, none of the fab four ever managed to make something quite as captivating as Abbey Road, which that in and of itself shows how much these guy's chemistry made them the musicians that we know them as. That's not to say that they didn't make great albums on their own, because that's obviously far from the case, with Plastic Ono Band, All Things Must Past and Band On The Run in particular rightfully gaining and maintaining classic status and simply being great albums in their own right, among many others. But it's incredibly difficult to make a convincing argument that any of these albums are as good as the final album they recorded together as The Beatles. It was their chemistry together as musicians that made them stand out so much to begin with, and it's hard to argue against that. Just look at their debut, Please Please Me, for example. That's an album that could have been made by any '60s rock 'n roll boy band and we wouldn't even be talking about it, but because The Beatles clearly had the talent and the chemistry right from the beginning, everyone fell in love with them instantly.
The thing that makes me love this album so much is just how amazing everything is. The instrumentation has never been as good as it is here. Sure, they've always been exceptional when it comes to their instrumentals, even back in their more generic early years, but here everything seems to shine so much. The basslines, the guitar solos, even Ringo has a few stand-out drum parts here and there. And the vocal harmonies... Jesus, you'd think they're literal angels in some of these songs. Just listen to Because and Sun King and tell me they aren't some of the most euphoric vocals you've ever heard in your life. With that said, that entire medley making up most of side B is one of the most heavenly pieces of audio ever recorded. It's full of these luscious songs that lead into one-another perfectly, with some of the best instrumentation in their entire careers, some of their most captivating songwriting, some of their hardest-hitting moments, and above all, some of their most gorgeous vocals in their entire career. Even if you somehow hate the Beatles and think that they're awful musicians, it becomes so worth it to hear their discography in chronological order, because the pay-off of their final album is one of the most amazing pieces of music you could ever hear in your entire life.
And that's not even mentioning the A side, as well as the non-medley songs that appear on side B. I'll start with the latter first just to get it out of the way, those being Because and Here Comes The Sun. The former is an absolutely angelic song that admittedly isn't the most gripping lyrically but is elevated so much by the vocals which are some of my favourites on the album. Here Comes The Sun, on the other hand, is one of The Beatles' most famous tunes, and arguably Harrison's magnum opus. I personally think he's done better songs, with his other song on this album actually being one of my favourites of his, but damn, it's definitely not hard to see why this song is so beloved. If you somehow don't love the beauty that is this track, then there has to be something wrong with your ears. George wrote a very simple song that is still gorgeous lyrically and is elevated so much by its simple but still beautiful instrumentals. It may not be one of my favourite Beatles songs in general, but goddamn is it deserving of its status as one of their best.
When it comes to the first side, it's honestly hard to argue against it being one of the best sides in The Beatles' entire discography, and it may even be my personal favourite even though the medley is still one of their finest moments in my eyes. But the fact that in these six songs, even with the sillier ones included, it's just hit after hit. Honestly, even though I don't see Maxwell's Silver Hammer and Octopus's Garden as being as outstanding as everything else, and admittedly their inclusion does throw everything off in my eyes, with everything else on this side either being beautiful or jaw-dropping or both, these two songs don't fit all too well. I mean, I'm glad we've got them, and I honestly actually like them both a hell of a lot. They're both the catchiest songs on the album, and may even be some of the most instantly-memorable songs in The Beatles later output. With that said, I don't get why people seem to despise Octopus's Garden so much outside of it being a Ringo song. I mean, it may objectively be the weakest part of this album, but it's still a really good song in my eyes. Everything else on this side, though, is truly exceptional. Come Together is one hell of an opener, and it may even be my favourite Beatles album opener. I've always struggled between this song and Taxman off Revolver, but returning to the album in full again now, I'm starting to lean more towards Come Together just because it gets me in the mood for The Beatles quicker than Taxman does. Something is one of the most beautiful songs in The Beatles' entire discography, and one of my personal favourite George Harrison Beatles songs. Oh! Darling is also a brilliant song, and one of McCartney's main highlights of the record. And finally, I Want You is my favourite Beatles song of all time. The lyrics may be pretty damn simple all the way through, only having three lines being repeated over the course of a seven minute long song, but the instrumentals is what makes this song. It's by far the hardest-hitting song in The Beatles' entire discography, and also one that I just can't get enough of. You would think that, with it being the longest song in their catalog, it would get tiresome at some point, but no. It always has the same effect on me. It's simply The Beatles' teamwork at its very best.
If you ask me, Abbey Road deserves all the praise it gets. Maybe it is overhyped for those who haven't heard it yet, as they're likely going to expect something a lot more instantly captivating than what they actually get. But let's be honest here, even if you haven't heard this album and you get disappointed the first time you listen, if you're an open-minded music listener who actually wants to understand why this is often seen as one of the very best albums ever made, you're likely going to return to it more than once. I guarantee you that at some point it will click with you, and you will finally understand why this deserves its place amongst the all-time greats. It's simply one of the most gorgeous pieces of audio to ever be put to tape. It's an album that I can't get enough of, and it's one that I'm glad I ever listened to. It may not be my very favourite album, but it's definitely up there. This was one hell of a way to end off the most legendary discographies ever, and even if you don't view it as a "final album," you're still going to see it as an amazing piece of music in its own right.
Favourite Tracks: I Want You (She's So Heavy); Medley; Come Together; Something; Here Comes The Sun; Oh! Darling; Because
Least Favourite Track: N/A
April 27, 2019
It's fuckin' Abbey Road! You would be insane not to love this album!
Honestly, this isn't my favourite Beatles record and I think it's far from perfect, but this is THE album people think of when they think The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper may be more praised, but this is probably their more famous one.
With that said, I really don't think I can add much that hasn't already been said to death with this record. It's a classic pop-rock record that everybody knows and loves, what else can I say?
Some tracks didn't work too much for me, but nothing was album-killing. Even the one song that I list as my least favourite was an enjoyable listen.
Favourite Tracks: Oh! Darling; I Want You (She's So Heavy); Maxwell's Silver Hammer; Come Together; Here Comes The Sun; Carry That Weight
Least Favourite Track: Something
|1||Come Together / 99|
|2||Something / 100|
|3||Maxwell's Silver Hammer / 75|
|4||Oh! Darling / 80|
|5||Octopus's Garden / 70|
|6||I Want You (She's So Heavy) / 100|
|7||Here Comes the Sun / 90|
|8||Because / 85|
|9||You Never Give Me Your Money / 100|
|10||Sun King / 80|
|11||Mean Mr. Mustard / 70|
|12||Polythene Pam / 70|
|13||She Came In Through the Bathroom Window / 95|
|14||Golden Slumbers / 100|
|15||Carry That Weight / 95|
|16||The End / 100|
|17||Her Majesty / 80|