Art & Music / Music & Art CONCEPT ALBUMS Part 1


In order to give this ‘difficult periode’ some punch, S.M.A.K. turns on the music for you.

A concept album is a music album with songs that are related to each other through their content. The rock opera ‘Tommy’ by The Who and Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ are well-known examples. In search of albums with a special story, S.M.A.K.-colleague Hidde van Schie ferreted out Spotify. In this way he discovered that a few legendary concept albums cannot be found on this digital music service: for example ‘The Grey Album’ by Danger Mouse, a remix of ‘The White Album’ by The Beatles and ‘The Black Album’ by Jay Z.

Of the notorious Wu-Tang Clan-album ‘Once Upon a Time In Shaolin’ only one single copy was released. It is the most expensive album of all time and was sold to the controversial and later sentenced pharma-millionaire Martin Shkreli.

The American experimental group Negativland became internationally notorious because of a big legal case involving record company Island Records, as the band had released an EP entitled ‘U2’, with parodies of a number of U2-songs. The album ‘dispepsi’ from 1997 is an artistic criticism on the media war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. The album is a collage of sounds from various commercials. Negativland wrote about the album: "All of the cola commercials that were appropriated, transformed and reused in this recording attempted to assault us in our homes without permission.”

‘The Sound of Music’ is the result of a bizarre invitation for the German band Laibach to perform in North-Korea. Because ‘The Sound of Music’ is an important movie over there, Laibach decided to play a number of songs from the film during their performance in Pyongyang. Eventually this led to an integral cover version of the soundtrack of the success movie with Julie Andrews.

‘With a Little Help from My Fwends’ is an album by the American band The Flaming Lips. It is the second part of their ‘Fwends’-series and an integral cover of the legendary Beatles-album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The Flaming Lips asked a gigantic list of musicians to play with them, a.o. Maynard James Keenan from the band ‘Tool’, Miley Cyrus and J. Mascis.

‘Songs for Drella’ from 1990 by Lou Reed and John Cale is a musical ode to their mentor, manager and friend Andy Warhol. This stunning album, released three years after Warhol’s death, describes the origins of the Pop Art artist, his career and personal relationships. Reed and Cale met each other again for the first time in years on Warhol’s farewell, where painter Julian Schnabel proposed to write an homage.

This is Part One of our list. Next time a.o. Serge Gainsbourgs ‘L’homme a tête de chou’ and Frank Zappas ‘Joe’s Garage’. On the occasion of our list from last week someone from the Friends of S.M.A.K. pointed out the music of Wolfgang Tillmans to us, as well as that of Mayo Thompson from the art collective ‘Art & Language’.

Link to Spotify

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