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I genuinely love Abbey Road—for what it is, and for the role it plays in the Beatles’ story, too. I agree with Michael Bleicher’s recent post: of all The Beatles’ work it is the least sonically dated. More than that, it’s always somewhat refreshing to listen to.
To my ear, it mapped out a solid future for the group, should they have cared to grasp it (and Allen Klein’s machinations not gotten in the way). “Come Together” is a thoroughly Lennon song—no one else could’ve written or sung that; ditto McCartney’s “Oh Darling” or “The End”; or “Something” or “Here Comes the Sun”; or “Octopus’ Garden.” Each member was expressing himself in his own idiom without significant compromise…and it worked. Unlike White, each song doesn’t seem to pull in a different direction, creating a sense of underlying chaos; there is a unity to Abbey Road that is peculiar, given that it’s essentially a collection of solo songs. But unlike nearly every Beatle solo LP, Abbey Road seems to achieve higher heights than the quality of its finest song.
But all that being said; do you need another version of Abbey Road? Are you going to buy the Abbey Road Anniversary Edition? Unlike the other late-period Beatle classics, the group’s last recorded LP doesn’t boast a lot of studio gems, legendary jams and the like; nor does its origin story seem to demand the corroborating evidence of session tapes.
I will probably buy it, eventually; but unlike with Pepper I’m not emotionally invested enough to really be looking forward to it. Nor as with White do I see a pressing historical need being filled (that is, best-quality versions of the Kinfauns demos, for example).
What say you, commentariat?
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