Concept Albums

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by relman, Jul 2, 2001.

  1.'s the thing:

    I own various so-called "concept" albums (Sgt Pepper's, The Wall, Dark side of the Moon) but i really don't understand what makes an album a concept album. Do the songs need to have some sort of theme or correlation between them? If so, could someone explain how it works with one of the albums above?
  2. Relman,
    You've got the concept down (pun intended.) The songs on concept albums all deal with one central theme, or tell a story. For instance, "The Wall".. that album tells the story of Roger Waters' childhood. If I recall correctly, "The Wall" is a reference to the emotional wall he put up around himself after his father's death.
    The first side of "2112" by Rush is another good example.
  3. Machina: the Machines of God and Machina II: Friends and Enemies of Modern Music [the latter legitamitly (sic?) available for free via the internet!] by the Smashing Pumpkins are good concept albums if you like alt-rock.

    And the Wall isn't about Roger Waters' childhood, but some of the songs on the album refer to it. Its about the rise and fall of a rock star based on Roger's past experiences. (You were right about the emotional wall, though.)

    Lets see... the Eagles had a concept album about the rise and fall of a rock star, the Smashing Pumpkins did... and Pink Floyd. I wonder how many other bands have one...
  4. What about the Who's 'Tommy'? This is a fantastic concept album, and a concept album in the true sense in that every song is like a chapter of a book that all come together for an awesome story. This album tells the tragic story of a blind, deaf and dumb boy, who for some inexplicable reason is a phenomenal pinball player.
    Other brilliant concept albums are OK Computer by Radiohead, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, Rubber Soul by the Beatles and basically anything from Pink Floyd.
    Roger Waters solo albums are brilliant too, 'Amused To Death' is a great concept album, as is 'The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy', and 'Radio K.A.O.S.', which tells the story of a mentally disabled man who can pick up radio waves in his head, and learns to communicaten with computers. He learns to communicate with the superpowers computers that control missiles and simulates a nuclear war. Great stuff!
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've heard people say that "Pretzel Logic" by Steely Dan is a concept album about the life and times of Charlie Parker - but I think there are some tenous connections amongst the songs!! :rolleyes:
  6. p.s. has anyone heard about the Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz connection?

  7. Pet Sounds and Rubber Soul also aren't concept albums.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    And 'The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy' was a book by Douglas Adams! ;)
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    And the first half of "Hemispheres" too.

    Does Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" count as a concept album?
  10. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    "Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" most definitely counts.

    Others that come to mind are Bruce Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" and Tom Wait's "Black Rider".
  11. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    The Dark Side of the Moon and Wiz of OZ thing is that you cue them both up together and there are coincidences between what's happening in the movie and what is being heard on the album.
    There is also suppose to be the same thing with Rush 2112 and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I haven't tried either but I do want to try it some day.

    Has anybody tried either one?
  12. ive never heard of the 2112 / willy wonka connection. anyone know when to cue the music to the movie?
  13. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    I've tried the Dark Side of the Moon/Wiz of Oz, it's pretty cool! You have to give it some slack, though. It's, of course, not perfect and if you analyze it too hard you won't have any fun with it. If you let yourself go with it it's pretty cool.
    Never tried the 2112/Willy Wonka thing, though, I'll have to do that!
  14. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Is this uncanny self-promotion, or are there two ByTors, and this is just one of those wacky coincidences?

    I posted this a couple of hours ago....
  15. Indeed. I think he meant "The Pros And Cons Of Hitchiking". A great album BTW! :)
  16. Acacia


    Apr 26, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Rush - Caress of Steel
    King Diamond - Fatal Portrait, Abigail, COnspiracy, The Eye
    Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle
    Alice Cooper - From the Iside, Welcome to my Nightmare
  17. Listen to it more carefully! This album has a theme running through it (a 'concept'). The theme is the ways in which machines dehumanise people. Sounds like a concept album to me... There was a reason that everyone compared this album to Pink Floyd even though they sounded nothing alike...

    well... that depends on your idea of a concept album. No these albums arent telling a story, but they tend to have a theme. Pet Sounds has been described as one of the first concept albums, it is about the various stages of love in a relationship, and the instrumentation is used to reflect the depth of human feelings. Pet Sounds was inspired by Rubber Soul and it in turn in inspired Sgt Pepper.

    D'oh! Thats the one! I always get those two mixed up! It is a fantastic album! It was the one with clapton on guitar want it? Not as good as 'Amused To Death' Though!
  18. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Another concept album, also by The Who, is Quadrophenia. Wonderful album.

    BTW, concept albums sometimes also link the music of different songs, not just the lyrical theme. This is borrowed from classical music, where certain instrumental themes are repeated throughout the piece.