Today marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Abbey Road, the final album that The Beatles made together and, considering the heavy strain they were working under, a surprisingly strong contender for their finest LP. I know it's my favorite of their albums. Rubber Soul will occasionally make a run at that distinction. As will Revolver, but less often. Neither has been able to complete the coup, though. Abbey Road is just so rewarding on multiple levels. It boasts outstanding individual tracks: "Something," "Here Comes the Sun," "Because," "You Never Give Me Your Money," etc. And the Side Two song cycle? Stunningly inventive, richly whimsical, and tastefully indulgent, it's one of pop music's singular creations. Together, all of this music results in an album of impeccable tone and feel, even as it's full of striking contrasts as well. It has a unity and completeness that its free-flowing, capricious sounds would seem to belie; it's an album of technical artistry and thick pop pleasure; it feels both casually and meticulously crafted; and it's a classic, but one that rarely comes off like it's trying to attain that status. It's bloody Abbey Road.
Rolling Stone offers some laudatory words here.