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Old 12-05-2016, 09:53 AM   #111 (permalink)
Born to be mild
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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OK, that's enough fun for you for now. Back over the wall and into the garden; there's work to be done!

Album title: Abbey Road
Artiste: The Beatles
Nationality: British
Label: EMI
Year: 1969
Grade: C
Landmark value: As far as the crawling ones were concerned, their penultimate record together. As far as prog is concerned, don't know but not expecting too much.
Tracklisting: Come together/ Something/ Maxwell's silver hammer/ Oh! Darling/ Octopus's garden/ I want you (She's so heavy)/ Here comes the sun/ Because/ Medley (You never give me your money/ Sun king/ Mean Mr Mustard/ Polythene Pam/ She came in through the bathroom window/ Golden slumbers/ Carry that weight/ The end)
Comments: You know, I get it: the Beatles are an institution and some people revere them as gods, but it constantly annoys me the minutiae some of the articles are concerned with. Instead of just a track listing, every song (and I mean every song) has to be dissected to the nth degree! Anyway, even if you somehow were not aware of this album you would certainly recognise the cover, which has become so iconic it has been parodied, copied and reproduced to death, and yet, like so many good album covers, it's the very simplest of ideas: four guys walking on a Zebra crossing. But despite, or perhaps even because of that, it has become instantly recognisable.

All right, even I know “Come together”, with its hollow percussion and its tinny vocal from McCartney, one of their many hits, with some smooth electric guitar and funky organ and “Something” has also gone down in history as another hit, a love ballad this time with an instantly recognisable guitar melody at the end of the chorus. It's really nice, but again it's not prog, and neither is “Maxwell's silver hammer”, with its sort of twenties style, maybe a bit of Barrett there too. Interestingly, it appears to be a song about murder, which is certainly not alluded to in the music, which is breezy, upbeat and cheerful. A joke perhaps? It's doo-wop then for “Oh! Darling” which is really nice, but here we are almost at the end of the first side and I couldn't point to a single song or even idea that had any influence on prog, so far as I can see. I must admit I'm enjoying the album on its own merits, however.

I've always loved “Octopus's garden”, ever since I heard Kermit sing it on Sesame Street! It has the very off-kilter weird vibe of Yellow Submarine and is great fun, with a sort of Hawaiian/islands flavour and of course you can't take it seriously. Side one then comes to an end with the longest track, “I want you (She's so heavy)”, and this could be where the prog rock influences start to leak in. Meh, sounds more like jazz or jazz fusion to me, and very repetitive. I guess for the time it would have been seen as new and exciting, bold and daring and possibly linked to the new prog bands coming up. Not so sure myself. It's actually the first song on the album I haven't enjoyed; sounds very indulgent. Hey, maybe it is prog after all! And they used a Moog, so there is that I guess. Actually you know, I've changed my mind. That ending instrumental was pretty prog and I grew to like it.

“Here comes the sun” kicks off side two, and is one of only two songs before the long medley that completes the album. Another well known hit, it's a happy little tune which is of course very catchy, while “Because” is a really nice little ballad with sort of Byrds overtones, sweet vocal harmonies and into the medley, which is by turns nice and relaxing, a bit boppy but again nothing I could honestly call close to prog. “Sun king” in particular is really laidback and pleasant, “Mean Mr Mustard” is meh, “Polythene Pam” much the same; a basic rock bopper, very short as all of these tracks are. “She came in through the bathroom window” is better, with some nice harmonies, and “Golden slumbers” is a lovely piano-led ballad with orchestal backing. That leaves us with “Carry that weight”, which I know and is very powerful and anthemic, linking in with “You never give me your money”, which opened this selection and leading to the appropriately-titled “The end”, the longest in the medley. It's a fast, rocky guitar piece with a very powerful message at the end (sorry) ”The love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Favourite track(s): Everything
Least favourite track(s): Nothing
Overall impression: Odd indeed. A Beatles album without a single bad track. No, I don't mean that's odd; I mean it's odd that I should like every single track, and I'm not a Beatles fan. But from a personal standpoint, I loved the bones off this album. From a prog standpoint, not so much. I don't see anything bar the possible use of the segueing medley at the end and the track “I want you (She's so heavy)” to justify this being an influence on prog in any way. So given my personal enjoyment of the album, the final rating below might be taken as slightly skewed.
Personal Rating:
Legacy Rating:
Final Rating:
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