The Stories Behind 10 of the Strangest Modern Concept Albums

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By Dee Lockett

Pink Floyd's The Wall, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers—all iconic names that have become definitive works of the concept album genre. Taking one or more grandiose narrative and shaping an entire album around it as a lyrical technique became wildly popular in the early '40s and '50s, particularly in jazz and country with legends like Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash. Until then, the idea of storytelling in music had been confined to the individual song. Now, even at the height of the singles culture where one-click downloads are the norm, there's an expectation to put out a cohesive album. It's why fans gravitate toward albums that feel like full projects, a work of art you can sense took time significant time to create. We see that in the success and instant-classic status of Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city, also one of the most recent concept albums.

That idea of writing stories with albums has seen a resurgence in the past decade or so. And while some take the more predictable route of telling straightforward love stories, tales of death, and other common themes, others stray the way of the strange. Here, we spotlight the stories and inspiration behind some of the strangest concept albums of our time.

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