I hadn’t commented on the episodes when they were first released, but the thought hadn’t occurred to me until just recently.
So I don’t think I had ever listened to a full concept album before 2008, when I got Voltaire’s “To The Bottom Of The Sea“, a story of a 17th or 18th century country in turmoil, the war that envelopes it, a tinker who flees for new ports to provide for his wife and unborn child and the watery grave that awaits him.
Though it’s much easier to just say “it’s an album about death”. The final track in the album is the narrator of the tale that the listener has just experienced explaining why all of the stories he tells end in death; and it carries as a consistent theme throughout the record.
In the last couple of years I’ve gotten far more into listening to whole albums at a time; and I’d really enjoyed the concept albums episodes in particular for this reason. I like it when a record feels less like the last twelve or however many songs the artist got to a finished enough state for release and more like a specific listening experience, where each song that is in the tracklist contributes to a general feeling and overall tone that.
Not to say that I don’t like just shuffling through songs and not caring about continuity between the songs (though that does make it more awesome when two songs by two different artists play in sequence that gel perfectly), but a lot of the time I specifically want to listen to music in the former way. And concept albums are really great for scratching that itch with me. That and certain game soundtracks.
So those episodes of The Real Congregation were really fun for me to listen to. TRC, most of the time, is how I let my musical horizons broaden, and I’m really thankful for that.
Agreed on all points. It breaks my heart to see that the concept album is becoming a less-than-sustainable business model. People are less and less inclined to buy physical albums now, and it’s pretty hard to convince people to listen to your collection of “concept-linked MP3’s” straight through.
I don’t mean to be a downer about it, but I do see them going by the wayside in the not too distant future. Thank god some people are keeping that flame alive. Not just artists, but fans, too.