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The Beatles - Abbey Road CD (album) cover


The Beatles



4.47 | 980 ratings

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3 stars Strung-together leftovers from Let It Be do not equal genius

The Beatles swan song is holy to some who consider it their finest hour. I respectfully disagree with my esteemed colleagues. While the production here is better than the original Let it Be, the songs are mostly leftovers from those sessions (for those unaware, LiB was recorded before Abbey Road, even though it was released after it) and by this time our lads were phoning it in and looking ahead to their solo careers. I am a Beatle fan and Abbey Road is the one I play the least. Let it Be features far better material than Abbey Road.

"Come Together" is a real Lennon yawner that just bores me to tears. The two Harrison hits on this album are admittedly wonderful and it's these songs that keep Abbey Road from being a 2 star album. George finally beats both Paul and John in song quality on an album and it's not even close. "I want you" is a good song but Lennon would do much better soon on Plastic Ono Band. The majority of the rest of the songs range from completely dreadful to mediocre, the worst being Maxwell, Octopus, Mr. Mustard, and Poly Pam. On the latter Lennon sounds positively contemptuous on his "yeah yeah yeah" bit, like he couldn't wait to get out the door.

It is true that Abbey Road has a really nice sheen to it, a certain whole feeling imparted by the connected tracks and the high quality production. It sounds good but it's empty calories music. Look at the meat of the songwriting and it's frightfully thin, again, except for Harrison. The other stuff has very little soul, little grit, little of the Lennon/McCartney spark and passion. I'm supposed to care about Maxwell and Poly Pam after being treated to things like Across the Universe, Two of Us, I've Got a Feeling, and Long & Winding Road? People often mistake side 2 as some kind of genius moment akin to great progressive rock, as if simply stringing together some mediocre bits that were lying around makes a profound musical statement. I've never understood this line of thinking.

They manage to concoct a very nice ending sequence of "Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End" which literally saves the day and puts a period at the end of the Beatles career, though ending with Let It Be would have been far superior. We could now look forward to decades of (often) subpar material from our lads solo careers after a few good albums like Plastic Ono Band, All Things Must Pass, and Band on the Run.

Abbey Road is without question the most over-rated Beatle album (yes I'm using the dreaded O-word for this occasion) and the last one I'd suggest to young Beatle fans. Start at the beginning and work your way forward chronologically through the brilliant career of these legends. The very best albums are the debut, Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let it Be (get the Naked version.)

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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