One of the traits of true rock masters is the ability to deliver an effort thrilling from start to finish, rather than just focusing on hit singles.
Not that there's anything wrong with hit singles, but delivering an album potentially stronger as a whole than the sum of its parts is really something. Check out a few top examples below and share your own favorites in the comments.
Pink Floyd - "Wish You Were Here"
Based on your preferences, "The Dark Side of the Moon
" or "The Wall
" can also fit in here quite nicely, but this time around, I opted for "Wish You Were Here
." An album equally powerful, you might even say stronger than the mentioned two efforts, is based around the mammoth Syd Barrett
tribute track "Shine on You Crazy Diamond
," but the rest of the album isn't exactly lagging behind.
On the contrary, the remaining three songs beautifully blend into the overall atmosphere. The bottom line is, listening to this one in full by all means beats checking out an individual track and moving on.
Yes - "Close to the Edge"
Capturing Yes at the height of their musical prowess, "Close to the Edge
" encompasses the band's crucial aspects in a beautiful, yet compact package. The fantasy world of the title track, laid-back "And You And I
" and the fast-paced "Siberian Khatru
" work like a charm together, possibly delivering the best of Yes in a single punch.
Frank Zappa - "Joe's Garage"
On the funny side, Zappa
's 1979 two-hour rock opera "Joe's Garage
" is really something. As every rock opera, it has a plot. So, according to the narration of the Central Scrutinizer, there's a guy named Joe
, he has a band and they jam a catchy melody in his garage. From that point, Joe is taken on an epic odyssey in which his girlfriend leaves him to become a "crew slut
," poor heartbroken Joe ends up with another girl who gives him an "unpronounceable disease
," after which he meets a German sex robot in a cyber bar.
Joe then "plooks
" the poor bot to death and ends up behind bars, ultimately dreaming of the good old days when he was jamming with his band. It sounds very, very immature, but the way Uncle Frank got away with all this is beyond me, 'cause the album's genius.
King Crimson - "Absent Lovers"King Crimson
delivered quite a few nice efforts during the early '80s. However, the true genius of Robert Fripp
and co. really gets to shine on "Absent Lovers
" live album. Recorded as the final show of the band's second movement, it just might be the best concert record of all time.
The performance is amazing, with a lot of tunes actually beating their studio renditions. Not a lot of albums, if any, can keep you on the edge of your seat throughout 100 minutes; well, this is one of them.
Genesis - "Selling England by the Pound"
If you're a fan of Genesis
, you could even say hardcore fan, go for "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
." However, "The Lamb
" is kinda packed with filler a bit and it's kinda very hard to follow the hectic plot. It's still an awesome album of course, a classic without a hint of doubt, but "Selling England By the Pound
" works like a charm as well, especially if you're new to the band.
Actually, "Selling England...
" is brilliant. Not a single bad, or even mediocre tune, packed to the gills with killer tunes and leaving you craving for more. Apart from an album being a stunning listening experience, the opening track "Dancing With the Moonlight Knight
" is probably the first Genesis
track you should ever check out, and arguably the band's best.
Jethro Tull - "Aqualung"
I kinda wanted to put "Stand Up
" here, 'cause it's amazing and underrated, and "Thick as a Brick
" is a single-track effort, so it's sort of not eligible for the list, but "Aqualung
" it is.
A brilliant journey and possibly the best satire of organized religion the music world has ever delivered, Ian Anderson
and co. were at the top of their game here. The band doesn't want to recognize this one as a concept effort, but fans and critics agree about the reoccurring theme pointing out "the distinction between religion and God."
Apart from religion, the album deals with controversial matters of schoolgirl prostitution ("Cross-Eyed Mary
"), education system struggles and teen angst ("Wind Up
," "Mother Goose
"), as well as the less fortunate members of our society ("Up to Me
"). Oh, and there's also the matter of killer riffs and melodies.
We've just scratched the surface here and have mostly dealt with prog rock, so your participation would be nice. Share what you got in the comments.