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Favourite Concept Album


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Hey guys I'm interested in getting your opinions on what your favourite concept albums are?

 

You know, albums that tell a story, promote a theme and are consistent in doing so across the entire album?

 

My personal favourite is this:

 

 

elotime.jpg.d1f6ae0cddd470225de2fab671745ede.jpg

 

Basically a story about a guy who is sucked into the future and has to deal with how the world has changed.

 

The song 21st century man in particular is particularly prescient, almost an anthem for 40+ year old curmudgeons such as myself (Those of you not familiar with it should listen to the lyrics, it's almost prophetic how true it came to be).  I remember hearing it as a 10yo when it came out in 1981 and I remember so clearly thinking that in 40 years time the lyrics would be like listening to a time capsule.

 

The really funny thing is I recently gave my 12yo a copy of this to listen to, and he's playing it on repeat for the last 6 weeks. This album continues to blow my mind.

 

I'm really interested in the genre (Concept Albums) and would love to hear about the personal favourites of others?

 

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Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

 

One of my favourite albums, and the promotion of the album was incredible - take a read over here :- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Zero_(album)

 

Here's a spectrogram taken at 4.14 into one of the album tracks

 

Spectrogram_-_Nine_Inch_Nails_-_My_Viole

 

Here's the album cover:-
Image result for nin year zero

 

And heres the spooky trailer released week's before the album release - SPOOKY!
 



 

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A bit hard to pic just one favourite, but this would have to be an obvious contender.

 

The-Who-Tommy.jpg?quality=80&w=807

 

Well, I think everyone knows the story behind this album, ie:

 

"A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the figurehead of a cult. ... Tommy is blind, deaf and dumb, but there is nothing wrong with him. As a small child, he accidentally witnessed the murder of his father by his stepfather."

 

Edited by emesbee
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8 minutes ago, emesbee said:

A bit hard to pic just one favourite, but this would have to be an obvious contender.

 

The-Who-Tommy.jpg?quality=80&w=807

 

I got a copy of this in my playlist, just waiting to get to it! Hauled a copy all the way back from Canada recently!

 

What's the concept behind it?

 

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2 minutes ago, TDK said:

 

I got a copy of this in my playlist, just waiting to get to it! Hauled a copy all the way back from Canada recently!

 

What's the concept behind it?

 

I just updated my previous post with a brief summary, but the following link from imdb says more about it..

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073812/plotsummary

 

 

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45 minutes ago, TDK said:

 

Thx @mrbuzzardstubble Artist/title?

 

Should probably add guys, be great if you can describe whatever the particular concept/theme is as well. 

The Small Faces - Ogdens Nut Gone Flake. Side 1 is a collection of good songs, the most famous being Lazy Sunday. All of side 2 tells the story of Happiness Stan who, looking up to the heavens sees half the moon is missing and goes in search of the other half. He meets a variety of characters on the way including a giant fly. The narration is by Stan Unwin speaking in his trademark gobbledygook. 

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18 hours ago, TDK said:

Precisely the sort of thing I'm after, thanks @Hydrology I'm gonna check this one out. 

Check out The Downward Spiral and Broken by Nine Inch Nails then too.

 

The Broken movie was an especially unique way of promoting an EP, except the artist and the label lost the stomach to release it.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_(1993_film) The Happiness In Slavery and Pinion videos are very effective. The Gave Up video that was in the Broken movie... well... You have to trust me on that.

 

Hard to believe this EP was released nearly 28 years ago.

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One of my other favourites.

 

Histoire de Melody Nelson is a 1971 concept album by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Produced by Jean-Claude Desmarty, the album was released on March 24, 1971 through Philips Records. The Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical plot of the album involves the middle-aged Gainsbourg unintentionally colliding his Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost into teenage girl Melody Nelson's bicycle, and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues. Histoire de Melody Nelson is considered by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished work, as well as one of the greatest French-language albums in popular music.

images - 2019-12-14T100647.102.jpeg

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Hi All,

 

The first that comes to mind is War Of The Worlds by Jeff Wayne, The HG Wells story put to music, with an array of, then big artists from 1978.

 

WOTW.jpg.30be3c71227ca86103ccb95a7e5f368a.jpg

 

Movie made from a theatre production below, with different cast to the original double LP. Discogs info here.

 

 

JJ

Edited by Janjuc
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Bit more on the harder edge but as far as concept albums go this one is one EPIC musical  journey.

 

Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle 

 

"A deafening thunderclap as time and space collide! Eight human souls, plucked from their eras of time, suddenly find themselves in a strange dimension... A mysterious voice directs them through a maze of trials leading into the Electric Castle. Within the castle, built from their own dreams and fears, they must find the gate back to their own centuries. Will they survive? And who is the voice...?"

 

 

 

The album opens with a voice from the sky announcing to the eight characters (the Highlander, the Hippie, the Futureman, the Indian, the Egyptian, the Barbarian, the Knight, and the Roman) that they have been taken to the "cranial vistas of psychogenesis," a mysterious non-place in a non-time. The voice commands the eight to seek out and enter the Electric Castle, and warns that they will be challenged with puzzles and tests of mettle.

Many of the eight believe they have all been taken to the afterlife (a demon-created realm, a "dark and evil jest," Avalon, the great hall of Isis and Osiris, or the underworld). The Highlander voices concern that they will be lost, since none of them can recognise the constellations. However, the group takes flight into the cosmic realm, the Barbarian shouting of his courage and battle-worthiness and the exhilarated Hippie delighting at the marvels as they do so.

The Futureman, unsettled because even his advanced learning cannot explain what has happened, ruminates about the nature of their mystic surroundings, concluding that they must be trapped in a cyberworld; the Knight, confused by the Futureman's speech, repeats his conviction that they are in Avalon, the isle of spirits, on a quest for the Holy Grail. The Roman rejects both of these explanations, fearing they are in the underworld and should seek to escape to Elysium.

At last, the eight arrive before the Decision Tree, where they are praised for their fortitude but also told that one of them must die before they continue. The Barbarian and the Highlander boast to each other of their accomplishments in battle, and both deny that they will be the ones to die. However, the Highlander's prediction does not play out. He loses his will to go on, lies down, and dies, just as the others leap into the Tunnel of Light, believing themselves now to be entering heaven. Before they reach the Electric Castle, they must cross the Rainbow Bridge, which spans a sea of tears and fiery brine.

The Rainbow Bridge leads the seven travellers to the Garden of Emotions, which stands before the Electric Castle. The Hippie calls the Garden "groovy," but the Egyptian senses that Amon-ra has chosen to seal her fate and end her life there. The Roman and the Barbarian contend for leadership of the group, becoming enraged and fighting before the Futureman realises that the Garden is amplifying their emotions, warning everyone that they must control their aggression. The Indian, meanwhile, prophesies that voices in the sky shall destroy their souls. The Egyptian finds her spirit broken in the Garden, and, overwhelmed by her emotions, lies down to die in the same manner as the Highlander.

The remaining travellers finally enter the Electric Castle, finding themselves in the great hall. There they are tested by the Gathering of the Spirits, as the killers among them (the Knight and the Barbarian) are tormented by the incarnate spirits of those they have killed. They survive, and climb the stairs to the Tower of Hope, still full of wonder about their dreamlike journey. At the pinnacle of the Tower, a breeze draws the attention of the Indian. Despite the others' warnings, she is swept up by the wind, believing she will be taken to the sun and her soul made one with the universe. The wind is revealed to be Death itself, and the Indian is cast into oblivion, screaming as she dies.

The travellers, now five, continue to find themselves in the Mirror Maze, a world in which each of them must confront their ego-self. The Hippie is shown reflections of scenes from his childhood and adolescence while the Futureman contemplates the nature of fear and how humans bury it and their traumatic pasts inside themselves. The Roman shows signs that he has given up hope, but the Knight steels his resolve and breaks through the mirror, freeing them all to pass through. The travellers witness a vision of the future – a strange cyber brain which the Futureman calls a mutation of the human race – and are then presented with two gates by the voice from the skies. One is old and battered and the other golden, and one leads to freedom while the other leads to Oblivion. The Barbarian boldly strides through the golden gate, only to be cast into Oblivion and die; the final travellers successfully pass through the other gate. Before they return to their homes, the voice of Forever of the Stars explains that their ordeal has been part of an experiment for the Forever race to rediscover their lost emotions.

Forever of the Stars tells the final four travellers that they will not remember their experience. When they awaken in their respective times and places, the Hippie believes he was on a particularly convincing psychedelic trip, the Futureman believes his memory has been wiped, the Roman thinks himself reborn, and the Knight thinks he has found the grail within a dream. A fading voice asks them to all remember Forever.

Edited by Tubularbells
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14 minutes ago, Janjuc said:

Hi All,

 

The first that comes to mind is War Of The Worlds by Jeff Wayne, The HG Wells story put to music, with an array of, then big artists from 1978.

 

WOTW.jpg.30be3c71227ca86103ccb95a7e5f368a.jpg

 

 

 

Yeah great album.  :thumb:  I first heard it in 1979, when Graeme Rodwell of The Soundcraftsman used it to compare an LP12/Naim combo against an ME with some other TT.

 

I bought the LP12/Naim system on the basis of the extra body and resonance in Richard Burton's voice that came through on the LP12/Naim system.  :)  (Which led me to where I am now, in terms of music equipment.)

 

Andy

 

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Drive by Truckers - A Southern Rock Opera

8E1DFE05-2C6C-4BEE-A7DE-EB0B750B60C2.jpeg.ef2fc7b45d3154ce54b48fea60f35d61.jpeg

 

Story of  a young boy growing up idolising Lynyrd Skynyrd and then touring with his own band. A story of Southern Rock and great introduction to this band. Still releasing strong albums today.

 

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Stay Human

 

929061D2-E0A6-47DF-B624-CF5F825454C2.jpeg.222dd096af48e8ccb5b04813f1940b06.jpeg

 

Set as a community radio broadcast following the hours before a death penalty is about to take place. This was my introduction to Michael Franti and was a triplej album of the week when I was recovering from an operation. Different to the album above but it still is one of my favourites.

 

Cheers

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

A couple of my favs have already been mentioned, so let's bring out this one:

 

Cover.jpg.862dea6e124c374bb7250f6c33e4a925.jpg

 

The story line as described by Wikipedia:

 

 In its completed form, it rotates around a man's scattered thoughts during his midlife crisis. These are explored on a dream journey during which he takes a road trip through California, commits adultery with a hitchhiker he picks up along the way, attempts to reconcile with his wife by moving to the wilderness, and finally ends up alone but with greater insight into a common human compassion. Along the way he also faces other fears and paranoia. The entire story is framed in real time as a fitful dream taking place in the early morning hours of 4:30:18 am to 5:12 am on an unspecified day. At the end of the dream, the man wakes up lonely and contrite and turns to his real wife for comfort, presumably having processed his crisis.

 

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As @Tubularbells has said, Ayreon  - Into The Electric Castle, equally all of his albums are conceptual.

 

Ayreon – Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer

Ayreon – Universal Migrator Part 2: Flight of the Migrator

Ayreon – The Human Equation

Ayreon – 01011001

 

2075483263_Ayreon1.jpg.5e4ae6e81ad53eb94dc3d670b99ca4b7.jpg

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