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Concept Albums
I'm interested in what people think of concept albums as a 'concept' (!)

I know very little about the history of this so it would be interesting to find out what people know. As always, recommendations are good.

I don't know now narrowly themed or how obvious a concept album needs to be. I also wonder how often this - high-risk - strategy suceeds in musical terms.

Also I'm interested if the idea of concept albums outside the classic rock genre. I listened to The Streets album 'A Grand don't come for free' a few years back. It's basically rap (more spoken word actually) so it is practically straightforward story-telling and I thought it was pretty well done and - well - charming.

Any thoughts?
CMB1888 Wrote:Also I'm interested if the idea of concept albums outside the classic rock genre.

Some albums I could think of off the top of my head:


Kenny Wheeler - Windmill Tilter


Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Fear Factory - Obsolete
Opeth - Still Life
Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse
Sepultura - Dante XXI (unfortunately without Max Cavalera)
Mastodon - Leviathan
Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Post Rock

Red Sparowes - At The Soundless Dawn
Red Sparowes - Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red Sun

Red Sparowes' albums haven't any lyrics so the story is told via the song titles (e.g.: "Finally, as That Blazing Sun Shone Down Upon Us, Did We Know That True Enemy Was the Voice of Blind Idolatry; and Only Then Did We Begin to Think for Ourselves." - yes, that's actually one song title)

btw: do you consider Pink Floyd to be classic rock?

Edit: after reading the wikipedia defenition of a concept album, I think I'd add the Book of Angels dekalogy.
I associate concept albums with prog rock. And it has carried over to styles influenced by prog such as metal and post-rock. I like the idea of the entire album working as a cohesive whole. They usually do. But for me concept albums carry the baggage of what I don't like about prog rock - the excess and grandiose of it all.
Jon's spot-on about the pomposity associated with prog concept albums, although as a Floyd fan I think they can work. The Wall is a big fave of mine, pomposity or not.

A couple that spring to mind that are OK:

Elvis Costello - The Juliet Letters Recorded with The Brodsky Quartet, this is a collection of songs inspired by different sorts of letter (as in mail). It's not really a narrative story, but works well anyway.

Neil Young - Greendale A story about a fictitious family, incorporating thoughts on the media, environmentalism and so on. Not well critically received, but OK.

Drive-By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera An excellent concept album loosely intertwined with the Lynyrd Skynyrd story.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads Not so much a concept album as a collection of...... Murder Ballads.
Bowie's released a couple of concept albums in his career. Of course, that probably classifies as classic rock and that's not really what you're looking for anyway.

Tori Amos released Scarlet's Walk back in 2002. It was a concept album based upon the main character, Scarlet, and her travels through America after the events of 9/11. Decent album too.

Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero was centered around the impact of our government's policies in the future or something like that. I don't know. I didn't care for the album and never gave it much attention.

The Hold Steady's Boys and Girls in America was at least a loose concept album.

Other than that, I'm drawing a blank and am really only thinking about examples from classic rock.
i have never heard of that classification before, will be interesting keeping tabs on this thread

De-Loused in the Comatorium is a concept album you're familiar with, seeing as I recommended the album to you (directly addressing CMB1888). As far as concept albums go, I usually don't pay attention to the concept and just listen to the music... Perhaps that makes me a philistine, but often enough the stories aren't very interesting and are concept albums just for the sake of being one.
trbc08 Wrote:De-Loused in the Comatorium

This is by far the best that The Mars Volta have released. Every other album sounds pretty much the same.
It is really good and a particular favourite of my son.

I have to partially atribute my son's move away from listening exclusively to emo music to some trbc08 recommendations - he's even talking about getting his precious side fringe cut

This site changes lives Wink
permanently marks em too :Wink:

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