Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Abbey Road Thoughts?
Class finishing up - discussed Abbey Road this short week. It's been an interesting and fun experience to spend a semester going through each album chronologically, roughly a week on each. You hear different things. With this, their last (I consider) album, 2 sounds *really* stick out that never did so much for me before: 1) Paul's bass playing explodes on Abbey Road - so active, dominant on many tracks. 2) This album is the first in which they make use of a Moog synthesizer - an appearance in several songs. For some reason, I've just never paid the least attention to that sound before on Abbey Road; maybe because it was the first Beatles album I ever heard, took it for granted, whatever. It's done tastefully of course, with George Martin back in charge, but such crazy, unexpected sounds. In the context of the other albums, the Moog truly sticks out when it's in there.

Students were fascinated by the Chuck Berry song "You Can't Catch Me", from which John took a line (and was eventually sued over, "Here comes ol' flat top..") and the vocal phrasing for "Come Together". If you haven't heard them next to each other, give it a try. We had a good conversation wondering how the same mind could be driven to write lyrics as opaquely disjointed as his songs like "Come Together", and also near the same time develop "I Want You", which seems equally important to him, and has all of 9 words: "I Want you so bad, it's driving me mad". How to define those 2 philosophies of language and poetry? Is there any overlap?

They also marveled at how George could have gone from blossomed into writing "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something" so abruptly (does "While My Guitar..." give sufficient indication he has songs like that in him? Certainly Blue Jay Way doesn't.)

Everyone was impressed and excited by the medley making up most of Side 2, especially the transition to "The End".

What do you love, or think, about Abbey Road?

No comments: