“Rock Opera” (Used 11 times)
idiotprogrammer on 03/14/2016 at 02:37AM
Monk Turner is a talented and prolific songwriter who has glommed onto the “concept album” genre (producing about 25 concept albums so far). (Note: He won the grand prize for his birthday song in the FMA birthday song contest). I wrote a long profile of Monk Turner a few years ago and have followed his recent releases over the years. A few years ago the concept was “Emergency” (imagining disaster in Los Angeles). More recently the concept was colors; each song was about a different color — and that includes a lot of obscure colors like fuchsia, cerulean, Zymenchlora (yes, it’s a color — I checked). (Check out my 6 word review of it). A central aspect to the concept album is that it lets the artist explore a variety of moods and styles within a certain theme. Turner mashes a lot of retro pop styles with contemporary instruments and idioms. All the albums have elements of 50s rock and 60s folk and funk, but they still feel “new.”
For this concept album, each song is sung by a different Greek god or goddess (but transplanted into an era of modern suburban angst).
My questions when approaching a Monk Turner concept is to ask: will individual songs stand out more than the concept itself? Is the melody decorating the lyrics or vice versa? Also, how much do the songs abide by traditional pop song formats (in terms of catchiness and production values)?
For this album, I feel that the overall concept stands out more than individual songs, that the lyrics drive the melodies (PS, they’re also hilarious!) and that the songs are quintessentially anti-pop; I don’t even think it would fall into the category of alternative (though there are certainly rock elements on the edges). In fact, the songs strike me as very theatrical — something which belongs onstage or (heaven forbid!) a Disney animation movie. To invent a category for this album, the first thing which comes to mind is offbeat suburban rock opera.
Turner wants to make the Greek gods recognizable to modern audiences, so he depicts them with modern personalities. We are supposed to sympathize with their perspectives and see a little bit of ourselves in them.