Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Turntable 9.15.09

Green Day has made their 2004 radically-popular concept album American Idiot in to a stage musical. Don't believe me? I don't really blame you... but it's true.

In honor of this bizarre happening, this Turntable is dedicated to concept albums more deserving of a stage show than Green Day (as much as I love the little tykes.)

The Who's Tommy actually -was- made into a feature film. A weird one. But "Pinball Wizard," one of the enduring hits from the record, is a great song any way you spin it. The plot up to here - Tommy, the main character, is stricken deaf, dumb and blind after witnessing his father murder his mother's lover. (convoluted, much?) Turns out, though, Tommy is a total prodigy at pinball. Who knew? (HAHA pun...) "Pinball Wizard" is a really fun song, to sing along to and to appreciate for the fact that it means -exactly- what you think it means.

I have written (at length) about The Decemberists' new concept album The Hazards of Love, but I still think Colin Meloy would make a phenomenal Broadway front man in the production of this fantasy. This is a really nifty movement in which the Queen is first introduced, possibly my favorite villainess ever, anywhere. And, at the beginning, there is ostensibly a fawn playing the pipe organ, in the highest room in the tallest tower, I like to think. Fantastic image, there.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of the most famous concept albums ever. Not shockingly, since it's The Beatles. However, it's somewhat controversial to call it a concept album. A few ideas were there in pre-production - at first, the album was meant to explore the concept of aging, then it morphed into the story of an ex-army bandmaster (Sgt. Pepper himself.) But, just like Sgt. Pepper, the idea met some problems, and didn't really end up in the final cut, except in name. Regardless, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" is a song that could have it's own show in and of itself, being placed in the craziest circus setting in music. This especially comes through in this Eddie Izzard version, more theatrical than the Beatles version.

Most people in our generation don't take Styx very seriously. Maybe that's because their most famous song is "(Domo Arigato) Mr. Roboto." But come on, what could make a better stage show than this song?? Check out the full plot of the album, courtesy of Wikipedia:
The album's somewhat rock-operatic story tells of a future where rock music is outlawed by a fascistgovernment and the "MMM (the Majority for Musical Morality)". The story's protagonist, Kilroy, is a former rock star who has been imprisoned by MMM leader Dr. Righteous. He escapes using a disguise (according to the album's famous song "Mr. Roboto") when he becomes aware that a young musician, Jonathan Chance, is on a mission to bring rock music back.

Deltron 3030, who you will recognize upon listening as the rapper from Gorillaz, has made a pretty bad-ass rap concept album following Deltron Zero's dystopian fight against evil corporations, oppressive governments, and his quest to become the Galactic Rhyme Federation Champion. Think 8 Mile... IN SPAAAAAACE!

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1 comment:

  1. i would totally watch a stage musical about saint jimmy. the first time i heard that album i almost cried when he blew his brains out into the bay. just sayin