Are concept albums dead?

This from a friend of mine, David D. Levine: "“What kind of monster listens to a concept album on shuffle?!”, and I tend to agree with him. From the 40’s with Guthries’s Dust Bowl Ballads to to the 50’s with Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours to the 60’s with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to the 70’s rock opera Tommy by The Who to…what? MTV is what-singles promoting easily visualized 3 minute stories, neither supported by the song before it nor supporting the song after it. What(if any) are the great concept albums of this generation?

Queensryche’s Operation:Mindcrime

And My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade.

Maybe different generations, there…

Janelle Monae made a good one in 2010.

Beyoncé’s Lemonade. From waaaay back in 2016.

Southern Rock Opera

It may be a stretch to call it a concept album but Marty Stuart’s 2017 album “Way Out West” is a self-described love letter to the California desert.

Heavy Metal is overflowing with concept albums at the moment.

Mastodon’s 2017 album Emperor of the Sand was their 4th concept album and prolly last year’s highest profile release. Like their previous efforts, this album was well-recieved:

It’s at least theoretically possible for a concept album to be intended to be listened to on shuffle, though I can’t think of any examples.

There are some suggestions in this thread from a year ago.

One which has been a recent and justifiable success in the UK is by Steven Wilson: Hand Cannot Erase. It is wonderful.

It got brought to my attention when there was reports and confusion from the mainstream press when he filled the Albert Hall in London, and they were asking why this prog artist they’d never heard of was doing this. Guardian Article on that

The album is based on the story of a young popular attractive woman who died in her flat and wasn’t found for three years.

Nightwish’s **Imaginaerum **is a concept album and is from 2011. Also one of the great albums of the last decade, too.

Last one I bought was Neil Young’s Greendale from the early 2000s.

I’ve been drinking. Here’s a live version. Let’s see how long Neil allows these to stay on Youtube. :slight_smile:

And yet I hear various songs from it on Pandora and have no problem with it compared to the horror I imagine when I hear a single song from Dark Side of the Moon on the radio or whatever. I believe what’s happened is that the album as a format may still be used by artists, but it’s increasingly difficult to get people to engage it that way, especially if the artist in any way allows the different parts of the album to be played out of context from each other.

Are Nightwish’s albums better if listened straight through instead of being shuffled around with individual songs from Within Temptation, Epica, Kamelot, etc. that may have also been initially intended to be listened as an album straight through? Maybe, but I don’t particularly like half the songs in general, and I can enjoy them plenty while disconnected from each other much better than when I have to put up with the songs that I can’t stand.

Dream Theaters last album was a concept album called The Astonishing, released in 2016.


Yes, I think so, though I prefer more recent Nightwish to the older stuff. I would listen to their last two albums, Imaginaerum and Endless Forms Most Beautiful and see if you like them.

Have to post about one of my favorite bands: Coheed and Cambria.

All of their albums (except the most recent) were a part of the Amory Wars saga.

Great username/post combo, eh. :smiley:

I mentioned the same thing in last year’s thread:

NIN’s “Downward Spiral” is essentially a concept album.

That’s what I came in to say. Love it!