Title: Abbey Road
Artist: The Beatles
Plato’s manclimbs up out of his cave to discover there’s more to life than the shadows from the fire – there’s ALL THIS!
Maybe it was the fact that I was just coming off listening to Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but listening to Abby Road felt like a bite of prime rib on graduation night after a college career of ramen, ramen, ramen. (So meaty.) Now here was something I could really sink my teeth into, something with some complexity and thoughtfulness, something with layers beyond sex, drugs, and the myopic meaning of now. It really sounded to me like a little bit of everything. Even the album cover pulls together an amalgamation of attitude toward style that I found reflected in the music itself:
My personal favorite track, “Oh! Darling,” rings out with an earnestness verging on grit that jumped out at me as more face-meltingly soulful than I expected The Beatles to be. The 24 seconds of reading I did to pull this review together revealed that McCartney rehearsed the song alone everyday for a week before recording it to achieve the sound of having performed on stage all week. The remaining six seconds of reading I did revealed that this style has, in some regions, been known as Swamp Pop. I will say yes, the album is iconic, the song is enigmatic, and this whole experience has been life-changing, but at the end of the day, it was stumbling upon the term Swamp Pop that made it all worthwhile.
The intimidation factor associated with this album was something new and different from the feeling of abject un-coolness that came from Blood Sugar Sex Magik. I think, in retro-spect (huh), that there’s no real intimidation factor about listening to the album itself. I mean, there you are reliving a few of the songs you’ve been inoculated to through merely existing in American pop-culture, interrupted only for a brief stroll through the Octopus’ Garden. The intimidation is not about the experience, it’s about relaying the experience. The truth is that you will never know enough to adequately pass on the quality of a musical tome like this. Face it, there is a separate Wikipedia page for every song on the album. That’s not music-loving, or even blind reverence, that’s musicology. That’s something people may possibly get an undergraduate degree studying. Ok, fine, perhaps that’s not saying much but still – someone somewhere has made a living plumbing the depths of this album for meaning, insight, and musicality. I’m just a blob looking for a beat.
OVERALL IMPACT ON MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
Lovely. According to the font of all meaningful human knowledge, Wikipedia, “Abbey Road is widely regarded as one of The Beatles’ most tightly constructed albums, although the band was barely operating as a functioning unit at the time.” This buoys my spirit knowing that a wagon with four different-sized wheels – all about to detach at any given moment – can not only maintain forward motion but still manage to corner like it’s on rails. Hey, if the Beatles were struggling and managed to eke out Abbey Road, maybe my own struggles can yield something as definitive and long-lasting for me.