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Old 11-28-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
JimmyCraig
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The continuous concept album

Is it dead? And if it isn't, what tips are there to writing a flowing one. so it doesn't just sound like a bunch of random songs following each other with some fill in between? Any of you ventured into these waters? I'd love to hear advice and tips and possibly some stories with morals
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
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You have to have a concept.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #3
JimmyCraig
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I have a few ideas for concepts, just wondering how to properly go about it
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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Study your favorite concept albums and think about it like writing a book.

You're telling a story, and not only with words.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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Well...like jazz_rock_feel said, you have to have a concept or a story to follow.

Perhaps its about a persons perspective at different points of time, a drug trip, an adventure, perhaps a disaster and working through it. As long as you have a theme that you are somewhat sticking with throughout the songs, then it is a concept album.

The music and lyrics can vary and represent each point of where you are in your "concept" or "story. Hope that helps."
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:16 PM   #6
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I think plummeting album sales and the tendency for listeners to cherry-pick individual tracks has pretty much killed it.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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I don't think it is dead. Galaktikon by Brendan Small is supposed to tell a story (I haven't given it a listen). And on the pop side of things, I am almost sure My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye is also kind of a single theme.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:39 PM   #8
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One good way to link songs can be through themes, melodies and motifs inside the music. This can be done lyrically by maybe each song having reference to what the concept is, E.g. maybe a persons name or a place name or maybe the concept is based around a certain emotion like anger or love. By making references to these things the listener will automatically make links between the songs. You could also do it in the instrumentation, Maybe have a melody line that features throughout the album or maybe a chord progression. Obviously this can be difficult as you don't want the whole album to sound identical, just linked. Finally it can be done through more subtle things like little effects and samples. I'm struggling to think of examples, Maybe the way Pink Floyd used lot's of similar vocal samples (School Children) or the ways some albums use lot's of atmospheric sound like the ocean or a rainforest. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
I think plummeting album sales and the tendency for listeners to cherry-pick individual tracks has pretty much killed it.


It's not dead.

I know plenty of people who love good concept albums and listen to them, including myself.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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Alesana's the Emptiness is a concept album based on a poem by Edgar Allen Poe.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:28 PM   #11
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It might not be for the masses, but it's certainly not dead. Personally I find good concept albums much more interesting than a good normal album, hence why Sylosis' two latest releases, Edge Of The Earth and Monolith, may be my favourite albums of all time.

EDIT: To further add. What I like is to have the lyrics as some sort of a story, but with each song also functioning on its own, but with references to the other songs, so you can draw several lines (not lyrical lines, "red lines") from start to end that ties it together. Then create the music for each song, but also include some sorts of references between song, which would serve to make it sound more cohesive. Even though it's a concept album, you need to have some sort of musical variation, or it gets kinda boring after a while, so use more than one key

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:37 PM   #12
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If you like hip-hop, check out Undun by the Roots. It's a concept album, and IMO one of the best musical releases of the past few years.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:37 PM   #13
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My preference is concept albums that can stand on their own, Kamelot's silverthorn is a continuous story, but each song stands on its own, just small things link them, so it means if I want to jump in and listen to one or two tracks I can, on the opposite side is pain of salvation's 'BE'. BE suffers from half the songs being part of the concept rather than songs, and all the titles are in latin to follow the concept more. It leads to an album thats rather disjointed unless its heard start to finish, and its really inaccessable
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celitus
My preference is concept albums that can stand on their own, Kamelot's silverthorn is a continuous story, but each song stands on its own, just small things link them, so it means if I want to jump in and listen to one or two tracks I can, on the opposite side is pain of salvation's 'BE'. BE suffers from half the songs being part of the concept rather than songs, and all the titles are in latin to follow the concept more. It leads to an album thats rather disjointed unless its heard start to finish, and its really inaccessable
Yep, this is a way to make a concept album more marketable. One example that comes to mind in hip-hop is Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid Maad City. The album tells the story of his life growing up but you can still pick out individual songs and appreciate them as they are.

Not a fan of the skits that link some of the tracks though. In fact, it really kills the flow of the music. Spoken word over a musical interlude is fine though.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:20 PM   #15
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I think the main thing to think about is that yes, it has to have a concept and flowing theme but each song should be able to be independent of the others. Like if a listen has your entire album but puts iTunes on shuffle, each song should make sense. It would also be cool if the album had a story feel (as some have said) and has a definite beginning, climax, and resolve.

Just my thoughts. I've wanted to do something like this but don't have the patience to hammer it out.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:54 PM   #16
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the recent surge in the prog metal genre doesn't necessarily have a lot of concepts, but it's becoming quite a bit of a trend to have flowing music that bridges together so you're almost forced to listen to the album in its entirety. periphery's a good example of this - i want to say they started the trend.

their next album is a concept album as well, so it's pretty hard to call it "dead" unless you only listen to outdated/poppy music
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
the recent surge in the prog metal genre doesn't necessarily have a lot of concepts, but it's becoming quite a bit of a trend to have flowing music that bridges together so you're almost forced to listen to the album in its entirety.
As far as I'm aware, that's just part of writing a really solid album. Seems like a lot of people focus too much on singles and as a result, the album as a whole doesn't keep your attention as well.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by food1010
As far as I'm aware, that's just part of writing a really solid album. Seems like a lot of people focus too much on singles and as a result, the album as a whole doesn't keep your attention as well.


it still wasn't much of a trend. the first periphery album pissed people off because each song ran together and it sounded like one 70 minute piece
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