The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ gets re-mixed to celebrate album’s 50th Anniversary [Review]
The Beatles are sacred territory for most, and returning to their base material to make significant changes could easily be compared to painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. The newly released Anniversary Edition, a re-mixing of Abbey Road, however, cleverly paints The Beatles’ 11th LP from an invigoratingly new perspective, highlighting underappreciated elements and respectfully lifting the mix to be more in line with modern sounds while remaining true to The Beatles’ original vision.
From the get-go, the re-mixing of Abbey Road is simply louder than the original. While that might be an instant killshot for some, the album manages to avoid many of the consequential tropes of what people call ‘the loudness war.’ By preserving the majority of the 1969 release’s dynamic range (i.e. the volume difference between the loudest and quietest elements in the mix), the Anniversary Edition creates more space for individual instruments and vocal harmonies to shine, all while retaining the crispness in the mix that Abbey Road is known for. Another stark difference is the boosting of thet basslines, even in tracks that initially seemed to lack one altogether (“Oh! Darling,” we’re looking at you). Between this and the generally brighter EQ tuned by project leads Giles Martin (son of ‘5th Beatle,’ George Martin) and Sam Okell, Abbey Road confidently slaps, much like subsequent rock albums from decades later.
The best example of how modern mixing was used not to alter, but polish The Beatles’ original vision lies within the first 15 seconds of “Here Comes The Sun,” where a very early, even primitive version of the Moog lays down the track’s extremely hum-able melody. Although the original mix arguably buries the lead synth, the 50th Anniversary release flaunts it, accentuating the synthesizer’s soft, mystical nature before being pitched down into George Harrison’s iconic vocals. The result doesn’t necessarily change the character of such a classic tune, but sure puts in the elbow-grease to strengthen it.
The deluxe editions of the Abbey Road Anniversary release also come loaded to the brim with outtakes and cuts that never left the studio floor. While some, particularly “Something (Studio Demo)” and “The Long One” are worth the price of admission alone, the real headlining act is indeed the re-mixing of the original Abbey Road, which offers a refreshing and surprisingly welcome take on an album that many fans know like the back of their hand.
The Anniversary Edition of Abbey Road is available now through The Beatles’ official site.