It’s good the Beatles broke up after this. It sounds different in retrospect. It probably sounds great if you brainwashed yourself that the Beatles’ gentle pop is the only original music that there is. If you’re listening to it as you would any other record, you might hear a band just banging away their last ideas with hopes of getting done with the thing. Exhaustion is all over the place. The last songs are short not to make a coherent, fluid piece that connects. They’re short because they’re too tired to record the rest.
The first half is a collection of B-Sides that has none of the imagination of Sgt. Peppers (It’s also a failure, but an interesting one) and none of the brilliant melodies of Revolver. There’s a great melody in “Come Together”, but they made it an interlude and instead based the whole song around an annoying shwoop! sound. “Something” has a nice slide guitar, but it’s hard to think such a lifeless ballad comes from the people who made “In My Life”.
They sound just as tired at the rest of the songs. Either they tackle a unique idea and completley ruin it – “Because”, “You Never Give Me Your Money” or they make a traditional song that begs for a different performer who actually cares about the material – “Oh! Darling”, which sounds like a parody, and “Here Comes the Sun”. There’s no excitement or verve here. They sing love songs not because they remember a woman they used to love but because they became professionals in it.
That’s how Abbey Road sounds. It’s a band who’s so professional just going through the motions and can’t get excited over anything. That’s why even the slightly innovative songs like “Because” sound terrible. You’d think that by breaking from the format of pop songs, they’ll find inspiration. The second half, though, is much worse. “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “She Came In…” are the best songs there, and neither sounds like they could be extended. The latter probably benefits from reminding me of Everlast’s “Blinded By the Sun”, which is the best song I will mention in this review.
“I Want You” is the only song where the Beatles sound like the Beatles. As in, they sound like a band with great melodies and interesting ideas. It’s not just that it’s the boldest thing here. There’s focus there that makes it sound like it came out of another album. It might be slightly too long, but it’s a song that sounds great even after Doom Metal became a genre. It doesn’t just rely on the cool idea but there’s a great melody and some great riffs. The two nonsense songs here are also decent (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “Octopus’s Garden”), and imply that maybe the Beatles’ should have made an album for children.
Abbey Road is may be worth a spin to absorb its ideas, but only one of them actually works. If you want to hear a band being absolutely tired of music and try to get by on their talents, it’s the album for you. If you ever wanted an album about how the round world turns Lennon on and with one minute songs about Polythene Pam who’s so good looking but she looks like a man, you’ll have a great time with it. Its main purpose though, is to make you scratch your head and wonder how come the Beatlemania existed in the first place.
2 silver hammers out of 5