Euphoria: n- A feeling of well-being or elation; especially : one that is groundless, disproportionate to its cause, or inappropriate to one's life.
The 1960s were a big decade for rock music, and sprawled its presence among the world like a madman. Every high pitched voiced adolescent girl started whoring themselves out to new extremes, just to meet the bands they worshiped with paper posters on the walls of their suburban home bedrooms. Not one band was as popular among the pop-culture crowd as the Beatles, an English quartet from Liverpool, writing catchy songs about simplistic ideas, and scoring big with the world. In fact, so big, that no one has ever sold more albums than the four of them. They have remained the number one selling music artist of all time, through the present day, only slightly challenged by Led Zeppelin. And their release entitled Abbey Road
just helped them further to gain that title. By now, I'm sure you all have heard the ludicrous rumors of Beatles bass player/songwriter/singer, Paul McCartney dying in a car accident early on, and being replaced with a look-alike. I'm more than sure that these rumors are just a creative myth, but there is some speculating evidence of that on Abbey Road. In addition to the previous backward tracking incidents on The White Album and Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road's cover shows Paul as walking in front of a car, as well as the only member without shoes. It may be just some dumb myth, but it is a bit spooky, and even if it's false, that is one very well thought out story, and some odd coincidences.
As you read the intro to my review, most likely, you carefully examined the definition of the word "euphoria" and you probably thought "How the hell does this word pertain to a Beatles album?" Well, listening to the Beatles' Abbey Road is a euphoric feeling. Not one where you are being overly fanboyish, but the feeling of being well relaxed and at ease while listening to the noise which takes up seventeen slots on a round compact disc. But how is noise euphoric? Because John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney thought up vague, abstract, innocent, and simple ideas and turned them into bombastic, catchy, and intense songs. This seventeen-track work of art is an hour's worth of brilliant songwriting, and a masterpiece in and of itself. Ranging from little pop numbers that just exceed the ninety-second mark, into seven minute blues progressions, Abbey Road has been acclaimed as one of the Beatles' finest records to date, and I would probably agree with that phrase, minus the word
Abbey Road opens on a very distinct note with one of their most famous songs, the anthematic "Come Together". The pop appeal and dirty blues of this catchy opener make for one of the best introductory songs ever. Plus the guitar work and the fluid bassline totally own the song. While "Come Together" is certainly an amazing piece of music, it certainly doesn't overshadow the rest of the album, or sound too different from some of the other, yet far better tracks on the album. "I Want You" is a seven minute epic suite which marries bluesy prog rock to the lovely grooves of Samba music and expresses the laid back blues vibe far better than the opener. And the bass groove, combined with the lead guitar work, is magnificent. But something that really makes Abbey Road stand out is the two contributions by George Harrison. The first of the two, "Here Comes the Sun" is a wonderfully innocent acoustic ballad which showcases his softer songwriting. Truly a beautiful piece. But "Something" is what really grabs me. While it is very tender and soft with lyrics expressing true love, the lead work in it is absolutely gorgeous, and the string orchestration is great. McCartney's bassline is awesome, as well. There are quite a lot of moods and emotions expressed throughout the duration of Abbey Road. But what is so special about it, is that even if a song may express the same emotion as another, they don't sound alike. But what makes the album even more likable is the song lengths. The average song length on the album does not exceed three and a half minutes, which makes listening much more pleasant than having to sit through winding, 18 minute songs. Seemingly, no matter what persona a song takes, every song works off each other and makes every different sound unite as one wholesome showcase. The "weird songs on the album, actually don't sound out of place. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is evidence that quirky songwriting can actually produce a good stand alone track, yet toss up the flavor a bit, so the sound is never predictable. And "Octopus' Garden", a song definitely written while experimenting, is about as close to hallucinogens this side of "Mr. Kite". And the other experimental tracks, like the trippy "Sun King" which actually includes a Spanish verse, and the dreamy "Because", carry the album to a very different height than anything else in that time.
But even if there are some experimental songs that the band tampered with, a majority of the good songs on here are pop based, with catchy melodies, upbeat tempos, and fancy grooves. "She Came in Through the Bathroom" is probably one of the best songs on the album, with lyrics that rival the band's smash hit "Lady Madonna". And "Oh! Darling" combines the English yelp of McCartney with piano and dramatic verses, which does not sound dissimilar to its big sister, "You Never Give Me Your Money". And "Abbey Road Blues" is probably the heaviest song on the album, with a blues riff and McCartney even screaming the lyrics. Add the best guitar work on the album, and you're set for the highlight of the album. The last five tracks on the album are possibly some of the more strange tracks on the album. "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Carry That Weight" are some generic British Invasion era pop songs, but "Polythene Pam" is a gem sandwiched in there. And "Golden Slumbers" is easily one of the best dramatic songs ever. Between the piano melody and horns and strings, to Paul's liquidy bass tone and soaring voice during the choruses, I have found my heaven. "Her Majesty" is possibly the most awkward song on the album, only 23 seconds long, and a bit stupid. Should've been obliterated in the first place. Oh well, it doesn't subtract from the album, but it doesn't add.
Unless you are a music elitist who says "Anyone in mainstream music sucks horribly.", you'll probably think this album owns. Probably because it does. And if you are one of those music elitists, you suck and have no right to talk in this circumstance, so shut your pie hole. The album isn't about how many notes you can cram into a single 4/4 measure. It's not even about the instrumental Wow factor at all, to be quite frank. Abbey Road is a masterpiece which showcases the brilliance of a songwriter's imagination to turn a single, spontaneous idea, into a charismatic masterpiece of seventeen songs, all of which are probably better than you could do. So unless you can write simple lyrics and make a simple melody, simple drum beat, simple rhythm, and a simple structure, and make it sound more complex, you really have no right to say "the Beatles are overrated". I'm not saying it's the best Beatles album ever, because it isn't. But whether you're fancy be delta blues, British pop, rock n roll, or psychedelic, most likely, there"s at least one song on here that you'll fall in love with. And that's why the album exists in the first place.
Recommended Tracks (on my behalf)
She Came in Through the Bathroom
I Want You
Abbey Road Blues