The Stubborn Endurance of Concept Albums

Music essayist Noah Lefevre of Polyphonic takes a look at the stubborn endurance of concept albums despite ongoing naysaying and advances in new music technology.

Ever since the birth of the MP3 there’s been a pervasive line of thought that keeps rearing its ugly head in music circles. It goes something like this, with all this new technology nobody’s going to listen to albums anymore music is devolving into short attention spans that only care about single songs.

Lefevre further explains that modern artists such as Taylor Swift, Smashing Pumpkins, and BTS have continued making concept albums without paying attention to what anyone says.

So not only is the album as a medium not dying, but its most extreme form the concept album is flourishing. There’s a decent argument to be made that in modern music nearly every new release is a concept album.

He also defines what constitutes a concept album and what keeps us coming back for more.

A concept album is a loose term for a set of tracks which hold a larger meaning when together than apart, usually achieved through adherence to a central theme. …Despite the constant shift of technology and cultural Trends concept albums have prevailed and I think the reason for that is simple human beings love stories. Storytelling is built into our DNA and the concept album lets us explore all the joys of narrative or thematic story with the sort of abstract emotional depth that only music can create

Concept Album History
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.