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Concept album

Related: concept - album - pop music - rock music

Titles: Freakout (1966)


Usually, in popular music, an artist or group releases an album consisting of a number of unconnected songs that the members of the group or the artist have written, or have chosen to cover. In a concept album, on the other hand, all songs contribute to a single overall theme or unified story. Given that the suggestion of something as vague as an overall mood often tags a work as being a concept album, a precise definition of the term proves highly problematic.

In 1966, several rock releases were arguably concept albums, and in any case started other rock artists thinking: Pet Sounds, again by the Beach Boys, a masterful musical portrayal of Brian Wilson's would-be state of mind (and a huge inspiration to Paul McCartney); the Mothers of Invention's sardonic farce about rock music and America as a whole, Freak Out!; and Face to Face by The Kinks, the first collection of Ray Davies's idiosyncratic character studies of ordinary people. However, none of these attracted a wide commercial audience.

This all changed with The Beatles' celebrated 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. With this release, the notion of the concept album came to the forefront of the popular and critical mind, with the earlier prototypes and examples from classic pop and other genres sometimes forgotten. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_album [Jan 2006]

Freakout (1966) - Frank Zappa

Freakout (1966) - Frank Zappa [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"This is the voice of your conscience, baby..."

Freak Out! is the debut album of Frank Zappa and his group, the Mothers of Invention. Released in 1966, it was one of the first double album sets, showcasing Zappa's lyrical talents for demoralising American politics while also making fun of the prevailing counterculture in the latter part of the decade. With both broad and subtle strokes of humor, it paints a picture of an American public in thrall to the opiate of the media, shifting from one prefabricated empty craze to the next with frenzied mindlessness, under the grim supervision of a vague but all-powerful authoritarian intelligence. "Who Are the Brain Police?", asks Zappa. Underlying the whole album is Zappa's trademark tweaking of sexual and scatological taboos.

Freak Out! is an amalgamation of everything typically Zappa, from R&B, doo-wop and standard blues-influenced rock to orchestral arrangements to dissonant, bizarre inanities and avant-garde sound collages. The album features vocalist Ray Collins, along with initial guitar player Elliot Ingber, (who later joined Captain Beefheart's Magic Band), bass player Roy Estrada and drummer Jimmy Carl Black. All orchestrations are arranged by Zappa and featured heavily on many of the songs. Suzy Creamcheese, Zappa character, makes her debut with this release. As one of the first integrated albums, with all songs centered on a common theme, it heavily influenced The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freak_Out%21 [Jan 2006]

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