Top Ten Thursday: Conception
With the great disappointment of Mylo Xyloto (Coldplays new concept album that dropped earlier this week) still being fresh in our heads, we at LxL wanted to remind the world that there are indeed good concept albums out there. Apologies to Austin, who got particularly screwed in this weeks voting, but nonetheless, here is what we came up with:
1.Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Deemed one of the most influential albums of all time, Sgt Peppers is the end all be all of concept albums. George Martin and the boys invited sounds for this album that could possibly have never came into existence in the of studio recordings had it not been for this album. The cover art, the songs, the concept, the production … all brilliant.
Genius in it’s craft. Albums don’t get much tighter than this in the production world, especially for how progressive and experimental the music is. Nor is anything as spacey and weird as this in the real world. Classically known for aligning perfectly with Wizard of Oz, this album tends to please everyone from picky music snobs, to the masses, to the stoners, and the straight edge. Pink Floyd’s masterpiece.
3. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie
Weird freakness. The title of the album tells you exactly what you are getting into. The glam rocker hit the pinnacle of his career with his album. David Bowie had already begun changing rock ‘n’ roll before this album, but Ziggy threw him into an entirely new category of “genius”.
4. Come On Feel the Illinoise – Sufjan Stevens
Easily the best album ever written that is based entirely around a Midwestern state …. This album is delicate, bold, and beautiful. Sufjan was a bit over ambitious when he set out on his “50 states, 50 albums” mission. But we are sure glad he made it as far as Illinois.
5. Hospice – Antlers
One of the most overlooked and underrated albums of recent years. This album stays truer to a concept better than any album EVER, and it does it effortlessly. The lyrics, vocals, instrumentation, production, everything is executed supremely, all while maintaining a heart wrenching, soul searching story.
6. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
The Boss wanted to create something of a mix of “Roy Orbison singing Bob Dylan, produced by Phil Spector”. There is no better description for this album. It’s an all time favorite of mine, and puts me right in the mood to grab a girl by the hand and run.
7. Tommy – The Who
The Who, much like Pink Floyd, was obsessed with concept albums. Although this may not be their most full-fledged concept album, it is their most adventurous, and most fun. And easily one of the best Who albums there is. If you have never seen the movie based on the album and starring The Who and a slew of of other late 60’s early 70’s rock stars, I urge you not too … unless you want to have the greatest night of your life.
8. The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
Electronic, bi-polar genius. The album is terrifying, enraging, filthy, and inspiring all wrapped up in and electro-Trent Reznor sound cloud. It’s brilliant, and it pushed Nine Inch Nails into the eyes of the public. It showed everyone that this skinny, depressed, slightly insane kid pumped full of angst could really pull some brilliant music together. Finding a single in one of the most vulgar songs every played on the radio is also delightfully awesome.
9. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips
When I used to be an idiot, I didn’t like The Flaming Lips. Then I realized that there is probably no band recording/playing music out there that is as fun as these guys. This album is hilarious, as well as very sincere and heartfelt. Like a few other albums on this list, I feel like the only way to come up with a concept like this one is through quite a lot of drugs. It is wild man, and it is accompanied by a lot of fun and brilliant music.
10. Deloused in the Comatorium – Mars Volta
A wonderful cluster-cuss of sounds, metals, instruments, and the most insane vocalists I know of. C B-Z’s voice is honestly the greatest instrument on this album, and that says a lot because Omar’s guitar is insanely great. I can’t imagine what it is like to be in this band. Probably something along the lines of perpetual confusion and an insane amount of adrenaline, tied in with more knowledge of music than I can handle. That doesn’t make sense you say? Neither does greatness of this album.
The broken hearts club list:
Todd: Erotica – Madonna
Wes: Grand Don’t Come for Free – The Streets
Regretably, this album has never touched the ears of Austin or I, therefore couldn’t make the list for Wes. He claims it’s tops, and I do like The Streets, so I’m anxious to give it a listen.
Austin: Respectfully Declines (I told ya this was a rough one for Austin)