In honor of Ogre’s one-track, 37-minute concept album, Plague of the Planet, a brief primer on the best rock concept albums (or albums that contain songs long enough to be their own albums) of the past 40 years:
TOMMY, THE WHO The standard for concept albums in rock, released in 1969. That deaf, dumb, and blind kid still plays a mean pinball.
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY, GENESIS If only for the reminder that Genesis used to be one of the coolest bands in the world — and then Phil Collins took over. This double-album chronicles Rael, a street punk in New York City who meets various mythical characters. Peter Gabriel is the best singer in the world for this album at least.
2112, RUSH What was originally the entire first side of the album is a 20-minute epic based loosely on Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Basically, creativity has been outlawed, then our protagonist finds a guitar. Shredding ensues. Note that the second side of the album contains unrelated songs.
THE WALL, PINK FLOYD The irony is that we’re supposed to find the protagonist to be a crazy person, but teens quickly adopted his psychotic anthems as their own rallying cries.
OPERATION: MINDCRIME, QUEENSRYCHE A hair-metal, ’80s version of 2112. Music has been outlawed, “the rich control the government, the media, the law,” but big guitar solos will eventually save us all. The band in 2006 released Operation: Mindcrime II, which answers the original’s final question, “Who Killed Mary?” Not very many people seemed to care anymore.
OCTAVARIUM, DREAM THEATER Just to prove that prog rock will never die, Dream Theater cut this new-classic back in 2005, bringing giant guitars firmly into the new century with a 20-minute final track.