Concept albums that don't suck

m_dejeanm_dejean 2,946 Posts
edited February 2016 in Music Talk
For many people the idea of concept albums bring to mind bloated Rick Wakeman noodlefests. I think the problem with a lot of concept albums is that the ratio ambition/musicianship/songwriting/heart is unbalanced in one way or another.Right now I'm listening towhich strikes me as a prime example of how it should be done.What are some other good albums where the "unified conceptual arc" stretches further than being just a well-sequenced batch of quality songs?
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  • MjukisMjukis 1,676 Posts
    I'm really into the McDonald & Giles "Birdman" suite, before I heard it I really didn't think the sidelong progressive songsuite concept could be a good look. Not really a concept album, but anyway... "Trout mask replica" kinda feels like a concept album to me, compaired to the other Beefheart albums. Love that record.

  • kitchenknightkitchenknight 4,922 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



  • waximilienwaximilien 352 Posts
    jeff wayne?

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts
    Do these count? Or are they too obvious?



    Let's Get It On, Back At the Sugar Shack, Here My Dear as well. Perhaps Marvin was the greatest concept album artists of all time.





  • motown67motown67 4,513 Posts


    All of the songs have to do with being caught in a love triangle with a married man.

  • JoeMojoJoeMojo 720 Posts
    Jean-Claude Vannier's "L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches"

  • El PrezEl Prez NE Ohio 1,140 Posts
    Master Ace "Disposable Art"

  • waximilienwaximilien 352 Posts
    if you melt it down to just the skits, the goats' "tricks of the shade" is one of the best i'll ever hear
    Duderonomy

  • MjukisMjukis 1,676 Posts
    The weird thing about Sergeant Pepper is that it feels like a concept album, way more than Revolver, even though it wasn't really made as one. Apparently the Beatles were going to make a concept album about Liverpool and had started off with Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields (a street and a childrens home, respectively) and were going to make a bunch of other tracks named after places in Liverpool. However, they weren't allowed to put them on their new album, since the rules stated that you couldn't put tracks that had been released as singles on an album that came out the same year as the singles...

  • Serge Gainsbourg - Melody Nelson does not suck (well she was only 15 afterall )

  • erewhonerewhon 1,123 Posts






  • Special_EdSpecial_Ed 315 Posts


  • GuzzoGuzzo 8,614 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



    such a great album, fuck a catagorization this album is simply beautiful.

    Anyone ever heard the Jeff Magnum live LP? He does a great job of breaking down some of the meanings to the songs on "The Aeroplance over the Sea". Not to mention it also has some amazing tracks on it.

  • GropeGrope 2,970 Posts
    Jean-Claude Vannier's "L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches"

    i was just listening to it. very experimental. wild music!

  • kitchenknightkitchenknight 4,922 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



    such a great album, fuck a catagorization this album is simply beautiful.

    Anyone ever heard the Jeff Magnum live LP? He does a great job of breaking down some of the meanings to the songs on "The Aeroplance over the Sea". Not to mention it also has some amazing tracks on it.

    When he sings "Engine," the 'children's song he wrote when his life was going to shit...'

    Well, damn. I just hope in my life I can create something like that. jesus.

    He/They were something of an obsession for a while. For a bit, I got too into 'Aeroplane,' and stopped reading just to concentrate on it.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts
    The weird thing about Sergeant Pepper is that it feels like a concept album, way more than Revolver, even though it wasn't really made as one. Apparently the Beatles were going to make a concept album about Liverpool and had started off with Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields (a street and a childrens home, respectively) and were going to make a bunch of other tracks named after places in Liverpool. However, they weren't allowed to put them on their new album, since the rules stated that you couldn't put tracks that had been released as singles on an album that came out the same year as the singles...

    Perhaps you are confusing Sgt Peppers with Magical Mystery Tour. Half of MMT is from the movie, and the other half are the singles you are talking about. Sgt Peppers was conceived and executed as a concept lp.

  • MjukisMjukis 1,676 Posts
    They were taking on an alternate identity as another band, yes, but the songs were made as individual songs if I'm not mistaking. I mean, if they had made an entire album of songs named after Liverpool songs every song would have been part of the concept, whereas much of Sergeant Peppers concept feel was created after the songs were recorded. And what does, for instance "When I'm 64" (written years earlier by Paul) have to do with the "Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" idea? Anyway, I could be wrong, my source is mainly Ian McDonalds book on the Beatles (highly recommended). And Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields are on the MMT LP released afterwards, but not on the original double 45 pack, right?

  • MjukisMjukis 1,676 Posts
    By the way, here's hoping "Idlewild" is a concept album that doesn't suck...

  • CosmoCosmo 9,762 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



    such a great album, fuck a catagorization this album is simply beautiful.

    Anyone ever heard the Jeff Magnum live LP? He does a great job of breaking down some of the meanings to the songs on "The Aeroplance over the Sea". Not to mention it also has some amazing tracks on it.

    When he sings "Engine," the 'children's song he wrote when his life was going to shit...'

    Well, damn. I just hope in my life I can create something like that. jesus.

    He/They were something of an obsession for a while. For a bit, I got too into 'Aeroplane,' and stopped reading just to concentrate on it.

    What is this?

  • DrJoelDrJoel 932 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



    such a great album, fuck a catagorization this album is simply beautiful.

    i put these guys right up there with The Mountain Goats. The Goats have those cycles / sets that have characters and themes stretching across albums which is interesting. No hipster in my opinion, there are kids that know all these Cool bands and i'm like, "Neutral Milk Hotel?" and they're like, "Recantours.(sp)!"

  • MjukisMjukis 1,676 Posts
    The Mountain Goats actually made it to my sleepy Swedish town a year or two ago, the crowd were talking and they, and the people who were actually paying attention were understandably annoyed. What MG album would you recommend?

  • GuzzoGuzzo 8,614 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



    such a great album, fuck a catagorization this album is simply beautiful.

    Anyone ever heard the Jeff Magnum live LP? He does a great job of breaking down some of the meanings to the songs on "The Aeroplance over the Sea". Not to mention it also has some amazing tracks on it.

    When he sings "Engine," the 'children's song he wrote when his life was going to shit...'

    Well, damn. I just hope in my life I can create something like that. jesus.

    He/They were something of an obsession for a while. For a bit, I got too into 'Aeroplane,' and stopped reading just to concentrate on it.

    What is this?

    Cosmo,

    the groups name is Neutral Milk Hotel and the album is called "The Aeroplane Over The Sea".

    I believe it came out either in '98 or '99. It's the last studio album the group has released. I don't quite know how to catagorize it, but there are some great lo-fi moments, great lyricism and all-in-all it adds up to one spectacular listen

  • pointmanpointman 1,042 Posts

  • kitchenknightkitchenknight 4,922 Posts
    Never seen this one mentioned on here or the 'Dermy, but it is a fave. Call me a hipster; i've heard worse.



    such a great album, fuck a catagorization this album is simply beautiful.

    Anyone ever heard the Jeff Magnum live LP? He does a great job of breaking down some of the meanings to the songs on "The Aeroplance over the Sea". Not to mention it also has some amazing tracks on it.

    When he sings "Engine," the 'children's song he wrote when his life was going to shit...'

    Well, damn. I just hope in my life I can create something like that. jesus.

    He/They were something of an obsession for a while. For a bit, I got too into 'Aeroplane,' and stopped reading just to concentrate on it.

    What is this?

    Cosmo,

    the groups name is Neutral Milk Hotel and the album is called "The Aeroplane Over The Sea".

    I believe it came out either in '98 or '99. It's the last studio album the groups released. I don't quite know how to catagorize it, but there are some great lo-fi memnts, great lyracism and all-in-all it adds up to one spectacular listen

    Its a grower, and the lead singers voice takes some getting used to. But, MAN. There is a straight up punk tune, some bulgarian barroom music, and some seriously achey type folk stuff to end with.

    I'm not the biggest psych guy you'll ever meet, but I'll stand on a street corner and preach this album until I'm blue in the face.

  • CosmoCosmo 9,762 Posts
    Okay I'll check it out. I'm open on all sorts of sounds.

    Speaking of, I'm ripping the LTD "Togetherness" album and I forgot how fucking dope this shit is. Jeffrey Osbourne is the man indeed.

    Okay, carry on with the concept album discussion.

  • FlomotionFlomotion 2,387 Posts


  • SoulOnIceSoulOnIce 13,028 Posts




  • piedpiperpiedpiper 1,274 Posts

      

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts
    They were taking on an alternate identity as another band, yes, but the songs were made as individual songs if I'm not mistaking. I mean, if they had made an entire album of songs named after Liverpool songs every song would have been part of the concept, whereas much of Sergeant Peppers concept feel was created after the songs were recorded. And what does, for instance "When I'm 64" (written years earlier by Paul) have to do with the "Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" idea? Anyway, I could be wrong, my source is mainly Ian McDonalds book on the Beatles (highly recommended). And Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields are on the MMT LP released afterwards, but not on the original double 45 pack, right?

    Right, right and right.

    You've got the title song and With A Little Help From My Friends then a bunch of songs that have nothing to do with the concept, but which may be part of a dream (sorta) then the Reprise, then Day In A Life which may be part of some kind of a concept or maybe not. So it really only works as any kind of a concept album because of the genius of George Martin. Yet, it is often called the first concept album.

    I know MMT from the US release which predates SPLHCB. Europe got the double pack 45s with the songs from the film.

    I think for perpose of this thread a concept lp is not a collection of songs on one theme; like Nat King Cole Going Places, or Belafonte Calypso.

  • JimBeamJimBeam Seattle. 2,012 Posts
    Refused: "The Shape of Punk to Come" the politics expressed lyrically are pretty flimsy, but what they did musically within the confines of 'punk' is
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