What Is A Concept Album? A concept album is a rock music album unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical.
For decades the term “concept album” was used to describe an LP whose songs were connected thematically. In recent years the definition has been expanded and now includes any kind of art that uses storytelling techniques to convey its message.
Concept albums are often referred to as rock operas because they tell stories through song and lyrics in much the same way that an opera tells a story using singing and acting instead of just words on paper.
- 1 Why are concept albums important?
- 2 Who created the first concept album?
- 3 How to write a concept album?
- 4 The 8 greatest concept albums ranked
- 4.1 The rise and fall of Ziggy ttardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie
- 4.2 American Idiot – Green Day
- 4.3 Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) – The Kinks
- 4.4 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
- 4.5 The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
- 4.6 Tommy – The Who
- 4.7 What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
- 4.8 The Wall – Pink Floyd
What is a concept album?
A concept album is a collection of songs written by an artist that are based around one central theme. These can be compositional, lyrical or instrumental; they’re most commonly narrative in nature but not always! The broadest definition would encompass all soundtracks like Christmas carols and other seasonal music as well as tribute albums where there’s no overarching idea at play – this term has been applied mainly to rock & popular records made from the early 1940s onward with a focus on them having some sort of cohesive message across its tracks (though it shouldn’t surprise anyone how many different types exist).
Why are concept albums important?
The inspiration for a musical project like the concept album is usually rooted in an artist/band member’s real life experience. What makes it so relatable and meaningful to specific audiences, or society at large?
Examples include Bruce Springsteen’s “ confession albums ” ( Born To Run , Darkness on The Edge of Town ) which were based off his experiences with depression; U2 ‘ s Joshua Tree LP chronicling their spiritual journey through Ireland after experiencing conflict while filming movies there—especially War . These songs had more than just entertainment value-they helped people heal by sharing some aspect about themselves they may not have known before hearing them sung aloud.”
Concept albums are a rarity in the music industry. There, it’s not uncommon for an artist to release multiple singles that all help push their album up top charts and gain more attention from listeners before releasing this collection of songs together as one project with its own story told within each track – but there is risk because commercial success can’t always be guaranteed even though stories like these don’t necessarily rely on how many copies you sell or if people even hear them at all.
Who created the first concept album?
Many people feel that Frank Sinatra’s album, The Voice Of Frank Sinatra was the true first concept album. This is because it deals in one mood and emotion throughout all sixteen songs on this great piece of work! Biographer Will Friedwald says “he sequenced song lyrics so they flow from track to track like an opera or musical comedy script.” It’s interesting how many artists have tried following suit ever since then–from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson (even if he didn’t do too well).
This was more explicitly done in 1955’s In the Wee Small Hours, a blue-tinged and introspective night crawl through themes such as alienation (heartbreak), loneliness or lust. Follow up songs for swingin lovers takes an opposite path with upbeat ditties designed to be played while dancing which makes love
How to write a concept album?
Planning your concept
For your story, you will want to do a similar type of planning. You might not create something as intricate and complex like LOTR but it should still have enough depth so that listeners are emotionally affected by what they hear from start till finish. To help plan for this kind of storytelling I recommend using some different types of tools including character sketches or journal entries which can give more insight into who these characters are otherwise just names on paper; world building where we flesh out every little detail about locations in our imaginary worlds such as their history (both past and present) inhabitants etc.; scene setting – figuring out how scenes connect together before writing them down ensures there won’t be any awkward transitions between one scene happening while another is paused etc..
Characters & universe
So here’s how you can write a narrative concept album:
- Write an engaging story, with all the glorious detail that comes to mind.
- Lyrics describing this sequence should be considerably shorter than your original work so as not confuse listeners who may have missed some events or actions during their first read-through of it
- When people hear these lyrics on repeat they will think about what happened in greater depth because each song offers its own snapshot
- And if there’s anything left wanting after listening closely then maybe an alternate version would satisfy them even better
The 8 greatest concept albums ranked
The rise and fall of Ziggy ttardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie
The album which made Bowie’s character Ziggy Stardust famous was released in 1972 by the RCA Records. A rock opera, it wasn’t conceived as a concept album and he put together an intriguing story upon its release: “the Rockstar who arrives on Earth to save humanity from destruction at Armageddon.” His inspiration for this character came from English singer Vince Taylor ( Norman Carl Odam )and Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto–an interesting mix if one thinks about how they influenced each other’s careers!
American Idiot – Green Day
In 2004, Green Day released their album American Idiot. The album which was inspired by contemporary events like the Iraq War and 9/11 became anthemic for those feelings of frustration in America after it’s attack on Baghdad back then as well as George W Bush becoming President again soon enough without anyone really noticing what they were doing until all too late. Though there are two explicitly political songs included (‘American idiot’about how people can be misinformed about politics), Armstrong wanted this to become more timeless with broader themes such music from any era should sound if looking at life through confused eyes.
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) – The Kinks
The Kinks’ “ Arthur Morgan- Emigrated to Australia in 1964 with his family during post-war England, the album was created as a soundtrack for Granada Television. The lead character is faced with many obstacles including being jobless and poor among others things that are depicted throughout their story line which has been partially inspired by Davies’ older sister Rose who left her life behind when she emigrated across Oceania due circumstances such as opportunity or lack thereof.
At the time of release, Julian Mitchell said that Arthur Morgan lives in a house with his wife and son. He also owns two cars: one for everyday use and another which he keeps at home to escape from reality when needed; this car has license plates bearing what seems like an enchanted landscape on them (Shangri-La).
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper is one of the most iconic albums in music history, and it’s easy to see why – not only was this Paul McCartney’s magnum opus as a Beatle but also revealed just how much talent The Beatles had at their disposal when they were finally allowed creatively free rein without constantly being constrained by other forces outside themselves such us Manager Brian Epstein or producer George Martin who would later produce Revolver less than two years after Sgt Peppers release!
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is widely considered to be one of the greatest albums in music history and it certainly created a precedent for future band compositions. After John Lennon became distracted by fame, McCartney took charge as an artistic drive who would leave everything behind while he followed his muse into another world that only existed inside this album on wax–a place where time itself stands still just waiting patiently until you’re ready return back home again once more with every step taken forward coming full circle right back around without missing too much along way — comforted knowing there are always some things which cannot be communicated through words alone but must instead rely solely upon your own two ears.
The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
While it may be Pink Floyd’s most popular album, The Dark Side of the Moon is also a landmark in music history. It contains some their best songs and boasts an iconic sound that can never really be surpassed by any other band or artist – at least not until another genius like them comes along to make you rethink everything again!
The story goes something like this: A group (or sometimes just one) creates an amazing piece; they stand on top of Mount Everest with no oxygen wearing earbuds playing said masterpiece which has now become so essential for everyday life because nobody wants go outside if they’re feeling down without exactly HOW do YOU feel inside?
Tommy – The Who
The album was released in 23rd May 1969 and the work of Pete Townshend. Inspired by Indian spiritual leader Meher Baba, he attempted to translate his teachings into music for an entire new generation with Tommy whose traumatic past affected him so much that in order try repress it all out by shutting ourselves off from life–becoming deaf dumb & blind which led them down a path becoming religious leaders who have thousands followers but just like everything else they tried though there were some side effects along the way such as becoming either too attached or distant.
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
The eleventh studio album by the American soul singer Marvin Gaye was released on May 21, 1971. Genre-wise it can be classified as R&B and thus makes for an interesting listen with songs that tell a story from his point of view about returning home after serving in Vietnam where he witnessed suffering among both Americans who supported what he did or were against them because they thought all veterans should come back broken instead; there are also themes focusing more specifically on poverty & drug abuse which had become prominent during this time period too due to various causes including war trauma victims being addicted themselves–a sad reality sadly overlooked until now.
Inspired by a protest song that he heard during Bloody Thursday, Renaldo Benson passed it down to Gaye. The result? An immediate commercial success and bagged several critical acclaims as well! In 2001 for example-a deluxe edition of the album was released with an extra recording from May 1972 show at Kennedy Center in Washington DC .
The Wall – Pink Floyd
On November 30, 1979 the rock opera told of Pink. A jaded rockstar with his own figurative wall around him created in isolation from society forms an apt parallel for Roger Waters when he was writing this story about himself and their former bandmate Syd Barrett playing at The Wall on tour during which time they modelled themselves afterand looked outward only to find everyone else repelling them instead or feeling like outsiders trying desperately hard just fit into any space but never quite fitting enough.
The band played and Waters’s heart thudded with each beat. He could feel the energy from those around him, but it felt as if they were just a blur of people not listening anymore; no one seemed to care that much about what was happening on stage or pay attention when he tried talking to them afterwards. That night after show-time had come through an overwhelming sense of loneliness as well as confusion: Why did I ever want this? All these years spent taking myself so seriously only for none other than Bob Ezrin (a producer)to mention something along lines “if you don’t like who’s looking out over your shoulder then maybe its time.
The album has been seen as one of the best concept albums. It was pivotal in establishing this type music, and judging by its release it looks like no other will be able to top them for now on account of their iconic status within c30 mil copies sold!
A concept album is a type of music that tells an overarching story. Music albums like Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run are both examples of this style. Concept albums often have specific themes or messages, which the artist hopes to convey through their songs. These types of art sometimes tell stories from one point in time to another, such as U2’s Joshua Tree, which goes from being born into America at the height of its prosperity during Ronald Reagan’s presidency before progressing through life under George H.W Bush until it ends with 9/11 and Barack Obama taking office.