Top 10 Best Concept Albums of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Pink Floyd - The Wall

This album is practically a religion among my friends and me. There is literally nothing bad about it. Sure, the songs don't stand well on their own except for Comfortably Numb and to an extent Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, but that's not the point of a concept album.

I can listen to this thing back to back to back without getting bored or wanting something else. It just never gets old.

Dark Side of the Moon might be a bit more revolutionary, but The Wall is a better concept album. Roger Waters is still touring with it. And come on, it has Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2, Mother, Young Lust, Hey You, Comfortably Numb, and Run Like Hell. All are some of Pink Floyd's greatest songs, and don't get me started on Comfortably Numb and its solos.

2 Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Anyone who thinks The Wall is better is clearly mistaken. The Wall harbors similar themes of isolation and mental illness, but The Wall does it from a first-person perspective. I think if you're going for the first-person perspective appeal, there are plenty of albums on here that do that better, such as Quadrophenia.

Dark Side of the Moon, in my opinion, tells of life, not from one's perspective. It is easier to relate to as well as more applicable.

The Dark Side of the Moon is a concept album, but it's not a rock opera that tells a story from a first-person perspective like The Wall or Quadrophenia. The Wall, DSOTM, Animals, and WYWH are all my favorite albums. I'd say that The Wall and Animals have the best concepts while DSOTM and WYWH have the best music and to an extent, the best lyrics. It's hard to choose!

3 The Who - Tommy

Tommy is one of the most famous concept records of all time. It deals with the human condition and the pursuit of answers to questions we most likely won't find until we die.

One of the best albums of all time - and one of the most underrated. Far better than DSOTM and The Wall.

4 Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory

Why is this not in the top 5? This album showcases the most brilliant harmony between the instruments and the lyrics. It's perfectly synced, and the storyline is beautiful. I love the way the story is told in pieces. It fits perfectly well together.

My top 5 are: Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, The Wall, and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was a huge fan of Floyd, The Who, Genesis, Marillion, Rush, and Queensryche. This album was the perfect mesh of all of them.

It may not get the votes others above it get, as many are not familiar with it, but this is the greatest concept album, PERIOD!

5 The Who - Quadrophenia

From I Am the Sea to Love, Reign O'er Me, this is the best concept album of all time. Each individual member is great and so are all the songs.

If you don't believe me, listen to it! My favorite part is Sea and Sand to Doctor Jimmy.

This should be #1. Not only is it the best concept album ever made, but the best album ever made.

6 The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

While I could mention how great its premise is, its glorious songwriting, and widespread appeal, I'll just mention the many technological innovations it brought to the studio.

Greatest album ever, period! Let alone a concept album. This album changed music forever!

Not the first concept album, but the first to not release a single and sold over 30 million copies!

7 David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

I dare say the sacrilegious statement that this is better than The Wall. Yep, that's right. Although The Wall was the first concept album I ever listened to and was my favorite album of all time for a long time, something about this is just... amazing.

Unlike The Wall, I can say that I love every song on here, and thoroughly enjoy every second of each song without the need or want to skip some songs, which is more than I can say for The Wall. Although the story may be better in The Wall, Ziggy Stardust and David Bowie in general just give me shivers and goosebumps whenever I hear it. RIP Bowie.

8 Pink Floyd - Animals

My favorite album of all time! It's perfect! The storyline is amazing. It shows each member's strengths.

Roger Waters' amazing lyrics perfectly match Gilmour's brilliant guitar work. I swear I get so many music orgasms while listening to this album.

A scathing critique of the socio-economic conditions and capitalistic system of England in the 70s, with beautiful guitar work by Gilmour. Phenomenal album.

Arguably the greatest album in the history of music, and I'm not only referring to concept albums.

9 The Who - The Who Sell Out

The idea of dropping jingles between songs to make it sound like a radio station is pure genius. 1967's BEST album.

10 Green Day - American Idiot

This is an amazing album, and I love the story. It's about a boy named Jesus of Suburbia who leaves his home because he realizes that everything is a lie in his house and in America. He enjoys his first night of freedom, and he is happy like it's a holiday.

After that, the hangover kicks in, and he suddenly becomes depressed (Boulevard of Broken Dreams), knowing that he needs to move into the big city (Are We the Waiting) and create a new identity (St. Jimmy) and start doing drugs to keep away the pain of being homesick (Give Me Novacaine). Then he meets and starts a relationship with a girl (She's a Rebel) and says how amazing she is (Extraordinary Girl). After seeing how much of a loser he is, she leaves him (Letterbomb).

He is depressed (Wake Me Up When September Ends). Now, he kills his alter ego St. Jimmy and goes home (Homecoming/Death of St. Jimmy). He is home, and now the legacy ends.

The Contenders
11 Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

The sound, feel, and atmosphere of this album are just amazing. I recommend it to anyone who exists.

12 Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

I don't know what's with people. This is an hour and a half of music that you'll never forget, and every song is fantastic!

The meaning of this album is so ambiguous and strange that it's really up to interpretation, but that makes it more interesting and doesn't detract from the experience. Any Genesis fan should listen to this album, and if you're not a Genesis fan, you have to listen to this anyway (although maybe a less intense introduction to the band makes sense first).

Genesis is a band that has seemingly endless great music from multiple genres, so you really should check them out! If you're a progressive rock fan, check out their stuff from 1970-1976, and if you like 80's music that's less intense and strange, check out their stuff from 1978-1997. However, if you like their more recent stuff, you should still check out the older stuff. It's unbelievable, and this album is perhaps the greatest example of that.

I got interested in progressive rock because I first heard Genesis's later stuff and then I became captivated by their amazing and thought-provoking earlier work. If you like any type of rock, Genesis, concept albums, or good quality music at all, listen to this album!

13 Metallica - ...And Justice For All
14 Queensryche - Operation, Mindcrime

Love the story and the guitar-heavy style of this album. My favorite album of all time! It should be much higher on this list. Too bad Tate has gone nuts!

I had tickets to go see them last year, and my dumb ass misplaced them. Maybe a fight would have broken out! They clearly separated themselves from other heavy metal bands of the 80s with this. A lot of the 80s stuff was cheesy on lyrics, but not this album or band. Their stuff always had meaning behind it.

A true concept album from start (I Remember Now/Anarchy X) to finish (Eyes of a Stranger). More than just a collection of songs with a common theme, it tells a story from beginning to end.

It spawned a sequel over 20 years later (that, unfortunately, doesn't quite live up to the original, but is still entertaining).

15 Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

This is one of my favorite records of all time. It deals with the full spectrum of human emotions as it takes you through the course of a day. This one you need to experience for yourself!

16 Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

This album is really artistic with the concept of nuclear war. The album has a spacey feel and all tracks are connected. Overall, an underrated artwork.

An amazing concept about nuclear war and apocalypse, with very good lyrics, new sounds, and music videos. This should be first or second. I believe this is the best album by Linkin Park. Pink Floyd is also very good too.

17 Frank Zappa - We're Only In It for the Money

I see this as the anti-Sgt. Pepper. While that album was full of optimistic and dreamy songs and lyrics, Frank Zappa goes for the complete opposite, outlining a lot of the issues with American culture in the late 60s.

While I cannot say I prefer this to Sgt. Pepper, I will say that, as a concept album, this is a bit more coherent.

18 Rush - Clockwork Angels

26? Are you kidding me? Clockwork Angels is one of the best concept albums I've heard. It follows the story of a character and his dreams in kick-ass songs like Caravan, Headlong Flight, Seven Cities of Gold, and the best finale of an album that can exist: The Garden.

A full concept album and one of the best albums in Rush's discography, filled with amazing work. This band of three masters of their craft ended their career with an album that has an incredible story and music.

This is the only true full concept album from the band, and like most in this genre, it takes a few listens to absorb. If this is the last studio album, they went out in epic fashion.

19 Songs for the Deaf - Queens of the Stone Age
20 Rush - 2112

Though not strictly a "concept album," the song "2112" is simply amazing. A great storyline, coupled with great bass and guitar playing, and a positively epic drummer. The other half of the album is pretty good too.

Not completely a concept album, but the song itself has one of the best stories I've ever heard.

Tells a sci-fi story set in the year 2112. Came out a year before Star Wars. A masterpiece.

21 Gorillaz - Demon Days
22 The Eagles - Hotel California

The title track is the obvious standout, and I don't think anyone knows entirely what it means. The guitar solos and riffs are some of the best of all time.

"New Kid in Town" is a great country ballad from Glenn Frey about trying to make it in the music business. "Life in the Fast Lane" is a great rocker from Don Henley (vocals) and Joe Walsh (the riff) about the rush of fame and everything that comes with it (money, sex, drugs, booze). "Wasted Time" is a great take on a Philadelphia piano ballad from Henley about broken hearts. "Victim of Love" is a great rocker from Henley that features some tasty licks from Don Felder. It continues the broken heart theme but is much less sympathetic than "Wasted Time" (the creative ownership of this song would become a problem and would cause tensions that later led to the band's breakup in 1980).

"Pretty Maids All in a Row" is a great piano ballad (with great slide guitar) from Joe Walsh about reuniting with an old friend and dealing with life. "Try and Love Again" is a great electric ballad from bassist Randy Meisner (this would end up being his last song with the Eagles, due to an argument with Glenn Frey about not being able to hit the high notes on "Take It to the Limit" in concert. I see it as his farewell song, which chokes me up sometimes).

Finally, there's "The Last Resort," the album's opus, which ties together all of the themes and brings them to a close. I highly recommend this album to anyone who wants to know about the inner workings of the music business and the toll it takes on so many lives. This album will never die, as it is a true testament to the human spirit. Southern California has never been represented so well.

23 Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

The greatest of all time. Why? The concept is the spiritual and mental deconstruction of a human being as his mechanical side appears and leads him into committing suicide.

In my opinion, one of the greatest albums ever and, without a doubt, the greatest "storyline" (or concept) of any album ever. But it's not for everybody, and certainly not for the mainstream audience, so I'm not surprised this is number 34.

In my opinion, a much better concept album than Year Zero. It follows the trajectory of a person losing control in a way that is so relevant it moved Cash to cover "Hurt."

24 Days of Future Passed - Moody Blues
25 Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
8Load More
PSearch List