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Is Sgt Pepper A Concept Album?
20 May 2017
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QuarryMan
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That's unfair. Those LPs aren't albums created in the sense we know them as - they are just soundtracks to a separate film. They don't stand on their own. If Disney were to have recorded a Snow White albums sans film then yes it would be.

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20 May 2017
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Sorry, @Dark Overlord, but film soundtracks do not count as concept albums.

Why?

Because their primary purpose is to accompany the images they were created for. Without the films they were scoring, the composer's of those works would not have written them. Film soundtracks are an entirely different beast to concept albums.

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20 May 2017
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You may believe that, but I believe otherwise and to demonstrate why, I am going to compare a regular concept album with a soundtrack album. By the way, I am only referring to soundtrack albums where there is a concept and the music was recorded specifically for the film that the album is based off, this means that soundtracks like Forrest Gump are not concept albums.

For the regular concept album, I am going to use Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon because it's one of my favorite albums.

31gnOm4OFlL.jpgImage Enlarger

For the soundtrack album, I am going to use Queen's Flash Gordon because I like Queen and this is their last really good album.

51a2E5xvkwL.jpgImage Enlarger

Let's compare or if you're a Beatle, one, two, three, FAH!:

Concept:

The Dark Side Of The Moon revolves around the circle of life and what goes on during that period.

Wikipedia says
Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music. The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human experience, and (according to Waters) "empathy".[8] "Speak to Me" and "Breathe" together stress the mundane and futile elements of life that accompany the ever-present threat of madness, and the importance of living one's own life – "Don't be afraid to care".[23] By shifting the scene to an airport, the synthesizer-driven instrumental "On the Run" evokes the stress and anxiety of modern travel, in particular Wright's fear of flying.[24] "Time" examines the manner in which its passage can control one's life and offers a stark warning to those who remain focused on mundane aspects; it is followed by a retreat into solitude and withdrawal in "Breathe (Reprise)". The first side of the album ends with Wright and vocalist Clare Torry's soulful metaphor for death, "The Great Gig in the Sky".[4] Opening with the sound of cash registers and loose change, the first track on side two, "Money", mocks greed and consumerism using tongue-in-cheek lyrics and cash-related sound effects (ironically, "Money" has been the most commercially successful track from the album, with several cover versions produced by other bands).[25] "Us and Them" addresses the isolation of the depressed with the symbolism of conflict and the use of simple dichotomies to describe personal relationships. "Any Colour You Like" concerns the lack of choice one has in a human society. "Brain Damage" looks at a mental illness resulting from the elevation of fame and success above the needs of the self; in particular, the line "and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes" reflects the mental breakdown of former bandmate Syd Barrett. The album ends with "Eclipse", which espouses the concepts of alterity and unity, while forcing the listener to recognise the common traits shared by humanity.[26][27]

Flash Gordon is about a football player named Flash Gordon, who has to save the world from the evil Emperor Ming The Merciless.

Consistency:

All of the tracks on both albums are consistent at following the concept, there is no exception.

Connectivity:

Both albums have all of their tracks in order, the story is connected from one song to the next.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

To jump to conclusions, you could say that albums like Queen's Flash Gordon aren't concept albums because they were meant to be accompanied with a film, but I think that's a terrible conclusion to come to because regardless of whether they have a film to accompany them, they still have a concept that they follow, so I say albums like Queen's Flash Gordon or John Williams' Star Wars should be considered soundtrack albums, but also concept albums just like Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon or Jesus Christ Superstar.

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20 May 2017
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Shamrock Womlbs
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Is Sgt Pepper A Concept Album?
No it is not. What is the concept within the album?
I'd say it is an album with a concept cover.

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20 May 2017
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Yes, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a concept album.

What IS a concept album? Let me ask Wikipedia.

Wikipedia: "A concept album is an album unified by a larger purpose or meaning to the album collectively, than to its tracks individually".

Interesting.

Wikipedia: "This may be achieved through a single central narrative or theme, or through a sense of artistic cohesiveness"

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is not a concept album because the songs are unified by the cohesiveness of the narrative themes (lyrics). Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a concept album because the songs are unified by the cohesiveness of the musical themes.

That is to say, the theme that runs throughout the album, the concept if you will, isn't lyrical, it's musical. Sonic.

Is Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band a concept album? There is no doubt it is. But it will always be a topic for debate, because not everyone experiences music the same way.  Some of us are visuals, and expect to see the cohesiveness driven by the narrative, others are auditory, and expect to hear the cohesiveness driven by the music. It's almost two different languages.

 

Is  Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band  a concept album? Yes, and I hope you can hear why.

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Dark Overlord said
You may believe that, but I believe otherwise and to demonstrate why, I am going to compare a regular concept album with a soundtrack album. By the way, I am only referring to soundtrack albums where there is a concept and the music was recorded specifically for the film that the album is based off, this means that soundtracks like Forrest Gump are not concept albums.

For the regular concept album, I am going to use Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon because it's one of my favorite albums.

For the soundtrack album, I am going to use Queen's Flash Gordon because I like Queen and this is their last really good album.

Let's compare or if you're a Beatle, one, two, three, FAH!:

Concept:

The Dark Side Of The Moon revolves around the circle of life and what goes on during that period.

Wikipedia says
Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music. The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human experience, and (according to Waters) "empathy".[8] "Speak to Me" and "Breathe" together stress the mundane and futile elements of life that accompany the ever-present threat of madness, and the importance of living one's own life – "Don't be afraid to care".[23] By shifting the scene to an airport, the synthesizer-driven instrumental "On the Run" evokes the stress and anxiety of modern travel, in particular Wright's fear of flying.[24] "Time" examines the manner in which its passage can control one's life and offers a stark warning to those who remain focused on mundane aspects; it is followed by a retreat into solitude and withdrawal in "Breathe (Reprise)". The first side of the album ends with Wright and vocalist Clare Torry's soulful metaphor for death, "The Great Gig in the Sky".[4] Opening with the sound of cash registers and loose change, the first track on side two, "Money", mocks greed and consumerism using tongue-in-cheek lyrics and cash-related sound effects (ironically, "Money" has been the most commercially successful track from the album, with several cover versions produced by other bands).[25] "Us and Them" addresses the isolation of the depressed with the symbolism of conflict and the use of simple dichotomies to describe personal relationships. "Any Colour You Like" concerns the lack of choice one has in a human society. "Brain Damage" looks at a mental illness resulting from the elevation of fame and success above the needs of the self; in particular, the line "and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes" reflects the mental breakdown of former bandmate Syd Barrett. The album ends with "Eclipse", which espouses the concepts of alterity and unity, while forcing the listener to recognise the common traits shared by humanity.[26][27]

Flash Gordon is about a football player named Flash Gordon, who has to save the world from the evil Emperor Ming The Merciless.

Consistency:

All of the tracks on both albums are consistent at following the concept, there is no exception.

Connectivity:

Both albums have all of their tracks in order, the story is connected from one song to the next.

To jump to conclusions, you could say that albums like Queen's Flash Gordon aren't concept albums because they were meant to be accompanied with a film, but I think that's a terrible conclusion to come to because regardless of whether they have a film to accompany them, they still have a concept that they follow, so I say albums like Queen's Flash Gordon or John Williams' Star Wars should be considered soundtrack albums, but also concept albums just like Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon or Jesus Christ Superstar.  

 

I'm sorry, but there is no lyrical concept present in Dark Side of the Moon. It is another concept album like Sgt. Pepper , that derives it's concept from musical  and artistic cohesion.  Some songs are about mortality and/or life, (but none of it is sequenced to represent the stages of life) and over half are not about any stage of life at all. It reeks of revisionism.

 

Don't get me wrong. This album blew me away the first time I heard it, and it continues to do so today. I personally rank it second to Sgt. Pepper in all time best albums. It would be one I'd take it with me on a desert island. It is a musical concept album. I love it.  Everything from the lyrics to the drumming blows me away, but to consider it a sequenced narrative concept album in it's entirety, is really stretching the facts, and total revisionism. Someone saw a common thread in a few songs, and then "saw" it in all of the songs, and then this became the defacto fact.

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To add onto what Dark Overlord and jmidnight_99 have said, soundtrack albums wouldn't exist without the film to go with. Just because the songs follow a chronological order doesn't make it a concept album - it's still just a companion release to a separate thing. A concept album is a self contained release and is more of a complete work than a soundtrack.

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21 May 2017
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Shamrock Womlbs said
Is Sgt Pepper A Concept Album?
No it is not. What is the concept within the album?
I'd say it is an album with a concept cover.  

Then how do you explain the title track tied to WALHFMF? Or the reprise? A normal album doesn't have an introductory track that states the rest of the album is a performance by a fictional band.

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21 May 2017
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Could a mod ( @Ahhh Girl @meanmistermustard ) please process jmidnight_99's first post please?

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21 May 2017
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QuarryMan said

Then how do you explain the title track tied to WALHFMF? Or the reprise? A normal album doesn't have an introductory track that states the rest of the album is a performance by a fictional band.  

Two tied tracks and a reprise ; )
Does that make it a concept album?? Not for me.

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21 May 2017
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Shamrock Womlbs said

Two tied tracks and a reprise ; )
Does that make it a concept album?? Not for me.  

I'm confused by the logic here? Why wouldn't it be a concept album? We've established that the fact only 3 or 4 songs are directly linked to the context but that doesn't affect whether it is or not since those songs are simply performances within the LHCB's setlist. 

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21 May 2017
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@The Hole Got Fixed, I approved the post last night. It is showing correctly for me. If it is still showing as being under moderation for you, maybe try clearing your cache. Is everyone else able to see @jmidnight_99's post?

God is a concept. Sgt. Pepper 's is a concept. Concept album? IDK.

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21 May 2017
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I can see his 2nd post fine, but not his 1st.

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21 May 2017
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Ooops. Didn't see that first one. Approved now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. apple01

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This post number reminds me of Mal Evans.

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20 June 2019
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jmidnight_99 said
Yes, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a concept album.

What IS a concept album? Let me ask Wikipedia.

Wikipedia: "A concept album is an album unified by a larger purpose or meaning to the album collectively, than to its tracks individually".

Interesting.

Wikipedia: "This may be achieved through a single central narrative or theme, or through a sense of artistic cohesiveness"

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is not a concept album because the songs are unified by the cohesiveness of the narrative themes (lyrics). Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a concept album because the songs are unified by the cohesiveness of the musical themes.

That is to say, the theme that runs throughout the album, the concept if you will, isn't lyrical, it's musical. Sonic.

Is Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band a concept album? There is no doubt it is. But it will always be a topic for debate, because not everyone experiences music the same way.  Some of us are visuals, and expect to see the cohesiveness driven by the narrative, others are auditory, and expect to hear the cohesiveness driven by the music. It's almost two different languages.

 

Is  Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band  a concept album? Yes, and I hope you can hear why.

  

Honestly this is a fair point.  That being said, if we're calling it a concept album based on musical cohesiveness, Abbey Road seems more musically cohesive than Sgt. Pepper and no one calls that a concept album.

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20 June 2019
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Sgt. Peppers a concept album?  IMO, yes and no.

I agree with John when he said that any of the songs could have been on any other album and were not specifically for Peppers, or something to that effect.

However, placing all the songs between SPLHCB /WaLHfMF and the reprise plus adding ADitL as the encore does make it a concept album.

Either way, concept or not, it is a fine, fine album.

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20 June 2019
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Kaniffee said

jmidnight_99 said

Yes, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a concept album.

What IS a concept album? Let me ask Wikipedia.

Wikipedia: "A concept album is an album unified by a larger purpose or meaning to the album collectively, than to its tracks individually".

Interesting.

Wikipedia: "This may be achieved through a single central narrative or theme, or through a sense of artistic cohesiveness"

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is not a concept album because the songs are unified by the cohesiveness of the narrative themes (lyrics). Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a concept album because the songs are unified by the cohesiveness of the musical themes.

That is to say, the theme that runs throughout the album, the concept if you will, isn't lyrical, it's musical. Sonic.

Is Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band a concept album? There is no doubt it is. But it will always be a topic for debate, because not everyone experiences music the same way.  Some of us are visuals, and expect to see the cohesiveness driven by the narrative, others are auditory, and expect to hear the cohesiveness driven by the music. It's almost two different languages.

 

Is  Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band  a concept album? Yes, and I hope you can hear why.

  

Honestly this is a fair point.  That being said, if we're calling it a concept album based on musical cohesiveness, Abbey Road seems more musically cohesive than Sgt. Pepper and no one calls that a concept album.

  

In the case of "musical cohesiveness"* and "themes"*, Please Please Me could be a concept album.  The music is similar throughout and the theme is love and relationships.  I would think that definition of a concept album should be that it takes the listener on a journey from beginning to end.

* But I may be incorrect in my understanding of the definition of the terms.

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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8But the songs themselves don't really have anything to do with one another on PPM . You could say the same for Pepper, but I would argue there is a definite progression that fits with the concept of the album mirroring a live performance. You have the introductory tracks and whatnot, and then at the end of side 1 there is Mr Kite which acts as another announcement to the audience before the 'interval' of flipping over the record. When we come back, WYWY features a different singer and instrumental set up, which is something I've seen myself in live performances: the musicians take a break and when they come back they do something slightly different, like an acoustic set or something. After that we have two more songs that play up the quant, very english personality of the album before the ending which is obviously a renewal of the conceptual aspect. 

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I don't mean just in the way one might say Please Please Me is musically cohesive.  I mean the ways the music calls back to itself and connects throughout.  That's without getting into the medley itself which obviously fits this.  Things like having Sun King start with Here come the sun king, three songs after Here Comes The Sun .

From Alan Pollack's notes on Something :

One of the hidden strengths of "Abbey Road " that we'll uncover in our studies of its songs is the unprecedented (for a "pop" album, even one by The Beatles) extent to which it contains subtle cross references between tracks, whether they be anticipations or flashbacks. The medley on side 2 is where these effects are most obvious and on the surface. But throughout the album, you find many others correspondences at the level of key scheme or even rhythmic motif.

You're more accustomed to appreciating this unifying effect in the visual arts. Two famous examples are the prevalance of angular v-shaped brushstrokes throughout Van Gogh's "Crows Over the Wheat Field" (not just for the crows themselves) or the way in which the attic curtains in "American Gothic" are the same fabric as the wife's dress. But you can accomplish the similar effects in music. ?

In "Something " the opening drum triplets are a surface level flashback to the drum fills in the opening track, "Come Together". The C/A key scheme hints at, and provides a first example, of an harmonic structure that at will emerge as the backbone of the entire medley. ? 

The number, nature, and inter-relation of such resonances on "Abbey Road " increases naturally with the sequence of tracks. As with any other film or novel that exploits the same techniques, your ability to epiphanously draw those connections increases in direct proportion to the depth of your familiarity with the material. So keep listening.

http://www.icce.rug.nl/~sounds.....WP/s.shtml

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