HAVING a bunch of good songs should be enough of a concept for an album. But some bands decided it wasn’t and pulled this bullshit instead:
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Nothing shows fractures in the group dynamic like wearing silly, coordinated costumes to try and make your relationship fun again. It’s the rock star equivalent of making your 20th wedding anniversary party mandatory fancy dress.
Beyoncé – I am… Sasha Fierce
Beyoncé is already a superhuman being, so why she felt the need to create an empowering alter ego for this album is unclear. To make matters worse it was a double album which inevitably leads to filler, even if it’s Beyoncé-level filler. Just make one record full of solid bangers instead.
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Bowie’s alter ego worked a bit better than Beyoncé’s but was still unnecessary, given that he was so extraordinary he might as well have been an alien anyway. At least Bowie had the decency to definitively retire Ziggy in 1973, and he never returned even when it must have been tempting during the 90s low points.
The Who – Tommy
There’s not a lot of mileage in songs about pinball, so why didn’t The Who just stick with one? Was it really necessary to precede it with several songs’ worth of backstory about drug use, familial abuse, and Tommy’s father’s mysterious military career? Apparently so.
Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Most people, when asked about their favourite Arctic Monkeys song, would choose a killer riff or Sheffield-twanged lyric. Not the one that tied in best to the overarching moonbase critique of capitalism theme. Stick to things people can relate to, like Mecca daubers and tracky bottoms.
Green Day – American Idiot
Fancy a punk rock opera covering 9/11, the Iraq war and George W. Bush? Green Day have got your back with this incredibly earnest album that couldn’t be more 2000s if it put on a pair of low rise jeans and some red-lensed sunglasses. We all know how the geo-political disasters of the period played out, so don’t bother your ears with this again.