Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 10 Rock Concept Albums of the Past 10 Years

As promised, I will be bringing you content more frequently. If you have been reading this blog for the last couple of months, you might remember a post I made about a list featuring the best concept albums of all time. I posted a few of my favorites back then. Shortly thereafter, I wrote a top 10 essay of concept albums in the past 10 years that I initially had plans to do something with, but never did. The following is the introduction to that essay and #10 on the list. Check back each day (if I remember) to read a new entry on the list. Enjoy!

During the late 1960s and continuing through the 1970s, some of the most influential and respected rock bands of our time popularized the concept album. Of these, the most well-known include Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Who’s Tommy, and The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. For those who don’t know, a concept album is merely an album composed of a series of songs united by a theme. The popular ones, like Floyd’s The Wall and The Who’s Tommy, tell a specific story, ones which have been made into movies with Hollywood’s greats acting out every wonderful song. Yet, the concept album is not a new idea (not even in the twentieth century, as one could consider Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen composed during the nineteenth century to be the precursor to some of the later works), but it has within the last 10 years or so, seemed to have made a strong comeback.

Most recent “best of lists” include Green Day’s American Idiot. A massive commercial success, the album resurrected the band from the droves of pop-punk mediocrity. Although popular success often defines greatness in the music industry today, the following list of the top 10 concept albums of the last 10 years does not necessarily take that into account. In contrast, this list focuses on story, theme, lyrics, musicianship, creativity, and visual art, all parts of a complete project.

#10: Songs for the Deaf (2002) by Queens of the Stone Age: Considered by many to be one of the best albums by the Grammy-nominated artists, Songs for the Deaf just makes the cut. The collection of songs and their respective interludes are meant to take the listener on a trip from the Mojave Desert to Los Angles, all the while tuning into local radio stations. The group brought in legendary drummer Dave Grohl, enhancing the credibility of the project. The music videos for the album featured scenes of the band in or on an automobile. For example, the video for “No One Knows” features members of the band driving in a truck at night when they hit a deer. After believing the dear to be dead, they load it into the truck only to have it wake up and wreak havoc. Album highlights: “No One Know” and “First it Giveth”

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