I miss the concept album. I miss the rock operas, the themed albums, the albums that frankly, you had to listen to the whole album. Sure, there may be a song or two for radio play, but it was the whole concept, or theme that drew a listener into the music. In no particular order, a few I like.
It is The Beatles, what else is there? Okay, it was my first themed/concept album. There is so much going on in this album and the idea is cool, and kinda new for its time. I like the music, and the idea of being a new band, a separate persona if you will. Trippy man, just trippy.
Tommy blew me away, the movie was even more.. strange. I dig The Who and this album, while not their best in my opinion, is still a darn good concept album. More psychedelic and the story is trippy enough to be entertaining. A good example of why you should listen to the whole album.
Bowie! Another fine example of an album where you really need to listen to the whole thing. Suffragette City still blows me away. I think the end of the world and the savior cant save the day, the anti-hero, is the main pull for me. I discovered this album whilst reading 1984 and Brave New World, kinda fits right in there.
The Wall.. what can I say about this album that has not already been dissected to death? I guess what appeals to me is the loss of innocence, of childhood. This was also right at that critical time, I was about 15 and everything seemed.. crazy.
Big pic.. wow. Well whatever, it is one of my favorite albums. Totally conceptual and just really one long song. I discovered this not long after it was released in 1985, I was still on the loss of childhood kick, but it was different, and yet.. similar. I think the idea at the end where there is hope makes it better in some ways then The Wall. I don't know, it is groovy to me.
I think what does it for me in all of this, is the lyrics. The music is great, but the lyrics, the story, is essential to the enjoyment of the entire album. This is not a collection of songs, or just one off pieces, but a story spread over 50 minutes( or more) of album. I miss that, and it seems harder to find today.
I don't think of any of these albums, if released today, would fare very well. They are not designed for the digital era. If you could buy the whole shebang in one shot, sure, but there is often incidental music, effects, sound, between tracks. Different time, different way of doing things. Is there room for this kind of concept in the digital world? In mainstream download it to your phone type of thing? Or has music become like a lot of things, the 4 min instant gratification short cut thing.. I don't know. I hope not.