Not since the escapist early '70s has the narrative "concept album" been so hip. In American Idiot's vaguely political wake, Ryan Adams has released the autobiographical 29, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are hard at work on a musical essay about singer Karen O's cat (no joke) and even Velvet Revolver is reportedly planning a concept album that will really "make a statement," according to bassist/philanthropist Duff McKagan.
Using our contacts in the Israeli Mossad and China's MSS (the CIA's intelligence capabilities not being what they once were), the Dallas Observer has learned that practically every guitar-wielding musician of note is set to release a concept album in 2006. Here's a taste of the brilliant concepts headed your way:
Garth Brooks is readying Shane II, a musical sequel to the 1953 film about a mysterious gunfighter in a big Stetson who saves homesteaders by fighting off aggressive ranchers. Brooks' Shane II tells the story of a mysterious accountant in a big Stetson who comes to the aid of corporate factory farmers by saving them nearly $200,000 in capital gains exemptions. It will be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.
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Despite reports from every music news source containing no such information, we have the scoop that Morrissey's Ringleader of the Torturers is a rock opera about the singer's lucratively ambiguous sexuality. Coy, jangly tracks include "Touch Me, Don't Touch Me" and "Let's Do It, No, We Mustn't." A bonus video feature was removed at the last minute, reportedly containing footage of guitarist Alain Whyte sneaking up on a startled Moz knee-deep in copies of Juggs and Popular Science.
Franz Ferdinand's follow-up to You Could Have It So Much Better is to be titled Ferdinand Ferdinand. The piece is entirely fictional, concerning a group of art school mush heads from the UK who rise to rockstardom, armed with good looks, suave clothes and baffling lyrical non sequiturs. Duran Duran is reportedly suing for both plagiarism and identity theft.
Alanis Morissette is busy completing Venti, a woman's journey of self-discovery inside a Starbucks. Bruce Springsteen will return to the borderland themes of Devils and Dust with a harrowing Blood and Antlers, the tale of a drunken, middle-aged migrant from Saskatchewan who loses all his limbs in a tussle with a moose while trying to sneak into Washington state. And, of course, having promised to chronicle every state in the union, Sufjan Stevens follows Illinois with, you guessed it, Iraq.
Actually, the only truthful information we could dig up is that Axl Rose still isn't done with his concept album Chinese Democracy, but we were finally able to confirm the "concept": obsessive-compulsive disorder. Happy New Year!