Lover Rant: Concept Albums
NO! This overdramatic exercise of conceptual design and musician mastery is my love rant for the day: Concept albums (or the greatest things to ever hit our cochleas.)
Like most children of babyboomin’ hippies, I am guilty of listening to Darkside of the Moon over and over again until I was teleported there. I listened to The Wall, and The Who’s Tommy after school on repeat. A few years later, I was enveloped by The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, which almost had me convinced that I joined the army and got a job a Chick-fil-A.
Would you want to look at a photograph that’s been put in developer solution, but not in fixer? Would you want to see a print of artwork that was ripped out of the printer before it’s done? Songs on concept albums cannot be taken off and put on an mp3 shuffle. They must be listened to in order, from start to finish. They are one of the last remnants of a music industry, when music was actually good. As people listen to shitty mp3 singles on their ipods with their earbuds, few embers of the fire that was music remain lit. Overall, sound quality for the masses has gone downhill since the majority of people don’t care if the song they’re listening has been reduced to 128 kbps. Album art, once long ago a 12″ x 18″ hangable piece (on a vinyl album), recently a 4.75″ x 4.75″ miniature artwork (on a CD cover), is now either a digital JPG on your itunes or ipod or sometimes even an “insert image here.”
After watching the Grammys last night, and seeing the downfall of human civilization right before my eyes, there was one saving grace at the end of the show. Arcade Fire won for best album. And it was a concept album. There is hope out there.