It’s been fun, these last three days, to read Pitchfork’s coverage of the reissues of the complete Beatles catalog—not least because the application of the 10-point scale to the fucking BEATLES underscores the absurdity of qualitative measurements of art, but also because we don’t really spend too much time thinking about the Beatles—they’re just there, they’ve always been just there—and it’s been great to read along as smart music writers actually dig into the distinct individual works and find fresh perspectives on songs we basically came into the world knowing.
In his review of the valedictory album Abbey Road, senior ‘Forker Mark Richardson encapsulates nicely how wholly gobsmacking it is to step back and actually think, for a minute, about the taken-for-granted Biggest Band Ever:
Abbey Road came out in late September 1969. Though Let It Be was then still unreleased, the Beatles wouldn’t record another album together. But they were still young men: George was 26 years old, Paul was 27, John was 28, and Ringo was 29. The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, had come out almost exactly six and a half years earlier. So if Abbey Road had been released today, Please Please Me would date to March 2003. So think about that for a sec…
Oh, I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and haven’t even remotely exhausted the ways in which it’s astonishing.