Abbey Road Review

By Rachel Brown
171It is only appropriate to end the year with a phenomenal album, one that raised the bar for all rockn’rollers by simultaneously transcending the past while setting the stage for an entire generation of new rockers. Of course, no other band has had the power and influence to do this quite so much as The Beatles. The men who founded their career as the four mop tops from Liverpool shook the world with every move they made, even as they shed their fun-loving roguishness and began to weave a solemn aura of profundity as their music grew more experimental. The pinnacle of the lads’ achievements glimmers in albums like RevolverSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and The Beatles (affectionately referred to as The White Album), but in this reviewer’s opinion its zenith is found in none other than Abbey Road.

Abbey Road is arguably The Beatles’ greatest album. It is the combination of all their efforts – their last hurrah, if you will. While they were incredibly disjointed at the time, on the verge of an inevitable breakup, the fluidity of the album brings a sense of comfort in the midst of strife. Songs like “Because”, “Golden Slumbers”, and “Sun King” are some of the most beautiful melodies in the band’s immense repertoire, soft and slow as lullabies. It’s almost as if The Beatles were assuring the world that everything was going to be all right. They would leave us one final gem.

The album opens with Lennon’s powerful “Come Together”, instantly setting the overall tone one would expect for The Beatles’ final record – hopeful yet jaded. Much like McCartney’s “Let It Be” that was recorded before Abbey Road but released afterward, “Come Together” probably wouldn’t have evolved under more peaceful circumstances, which certainly reiterates the claim that great turmoil produces great art. While the verses prove to be a cryptic mess of mumbo-jumbo, the chorus couldn’t be clearer, and it is exactly what The Beatles did: came together.

The remainder of the record is a hodgepodge much like Lennon’s lyrics. Ballads like “Something” flow seamlessly into ditties like “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “Octopus’s Garden”, and “Here Comes the Sun”, which are much more fun and fanciful, daring their audience not to smile and sing along. Beside these, however, sit selections like “Oh Darling!” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” in which McCartney’s voice fairly bellows. It’s safe to say the record truly is an eclectic array of melodies, and certainly no one could accuse The Beatles of being derivative. But, at the heart of this mishmash is a series of songs fondly referred to as the “Abbey Road Medley”, around which the entire work revolves.

The medley is a collection of otherwise unrelated songs (much like the rest of the album) that concludes with the group’s infamous “The End”, in which their final lyrics were penned: “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Such beautiful words on which to end a career. The Beatles’ breakup may have been strewn with petty arguments and childish outbursts, but as a whole the band went out in style, and the four mop tops from Liverpool insured that all who listened understood the creed they had coined one year earlier – all you need is love. If you haven’t revisited it in a while, listen to Abbey Road for old time’s sake, and let the brilliance of these four men amaze you once again.