Today I finally started digging into the new Deluxe Edition of Abbey Road, which thankfully is on Spotify and YouTube, obviating the need to shell out $90 for a big brick of physical media.

I began with a spin through the remaster of the album itself, which doesn’t sound all that different to me. Of course I was listening a) via streaming, b) on my living room speakers, not the greatest, and c) using ears which are not known for their fine discernment. So others may find major changes, and that’s all well and good; I don’t necessarily care, as I’m not sure how much Abbey Road could be improved anyway.

In terms of sound, that is. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a bug up my ass about sequencing and the underappreciated importance thereof. And for the most part, Abbey Road is an exceptionally well-sequenced album. Like Sgt. Pepper, it starts well and ends well, opening with the flawless one-two punch of “Come Together”/“Something” and closing with the climax/denouement of “The End” and “Her Majesty.” And most of the rest of it flows extremely well; in particular, some of the segues in the big medley are so clever, and at this point so ingrained, that it’s impossible to imagine them being done any other way.

Still, I wouldn’t necessarily call it perfect. In particular we have the problem of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” which doesn’t really fit well anywhere on the album. Likewise, “Octopus’s Garden” — which I quite like on its own terms — feels out of context wherever you put it. Those two songs could easily have been broken out into a separate single, perhaps included as a bonus with the LP á la Songs in the Key of Life.

That would leave Side 1 as:

  • Come Together
  • Something
  • Oh! Darling
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Which flows beautifully but comes up a bit short. I’m not sure what to do about that. Maybe let “I Want You” go on for a few more minutes? Maybe leave a minute of silence after it ends and add another song to close the side? Then we could have “Here Comes the Sun” end Side 1 and “Sun King” start Side 2, creating a link between the two sides. Side 2 might then be:

  • Sun King
  • Because
  • You Never Give Me Your Money
  • Mean Mr. Mustard
  • Polythene Pam
  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
  • Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight
  • The End
  • Her Majesty

And maybe that’s better? Maybe not? These are just idle thoughts for an idle Sunday. Carry on, please.

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