We live in a world where books become movies, TV shows become movies, video games become movies, and even movies become movies. So why should we stop there? Why don't we make music albums that have a cohesive story into great films?
I remember being a young lad and listening to these beautiful songs that told these amazing stories, and then I heard my first concept album. A tale of Ziggy Stardust took me beyond the music and created a world. That's the great thing about Bowie, he transcended music and created a universe for his listeners. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars could have been a great movie, but only someone like Bowie could pull it off. So that led me to think that there are other great albums out there that could benefit from a movie release, so here's a list of 5 concept albums that could be entertaining movies.
5. Armor For Sleep: 'What to Do When You Are Dead'
There was no album that I loved more when I was in high school. What to Do When You Are Dead got me through my emo years of music listening, and did not leave my CD player for months at a time.
The album tells the story of a man who commits suicide by driving his car into a body of water after a bad breakup. The album follows his journey into the afterlife, dealing with death, and visiting his ex-girlfriend. The album peaks with the song "Basement Ghost Singing." The main character wanting to see how she lives while he's no longer around. It's a creepy song that sets the tone for what a movie could be.
Yes, this is what the early 2000's were about, depressing teenagers showing how hard they can love, and not feeling like they're receiving that love back. The album isn't the best thing to listen to now, the vocals are rough, the music seems dated, but I still think there could be a really good movie in there.
4. The Decemberists: 'The Hazards of Love'
The Decemberists are known for their theatrical music. Each song seems like a huge production from London in the 1880's. Their musical styles would light up the silver screen. The Hazards of Love tells the story of sweet Margaret who goes out into the woods horseback riding. She discovers a deer limping in the distance, and goes to assist when the deer shape-shifts into a man, and they immediately fall in love. The album paints a beautiful picture of love, a curse cast on the man by The Queen of the Forest, and Margaret and William's desire to be with each other. It's a dark fairy tale that would be quite the movie.
This isn't the only album that could possibly transition to a movie. Their earlier album The Crane Wife tells a intriguing story fit for the screen as well.
3. The Dear Hunter: The Act Series
The Dear Hunter has released 4 albums in the Act series, and will release two more to complete the series. Although we're not sure how this story ends, there's plenty of material here to create a feature film. The first album takes on the conception and birth of the protagonist known only as The Boy or The Dear Hunter. He's born of a prostitute named Ms. Terri, and tells the story of The Boy's infancy. The second album tells the death of Ms. Terri, and The Boy's desire to learn more about his mother, and falling in love with a prostitute named Ms. Leading. Their romance falls apart, and in the third album our protagonist goes into the First World War, where he finds his half-brother and father. After his half-brother is killed, his father shows no remorse which enrages The Boy to murder his father.
The fourth album has The Boy assuming the identity of his half-brother and beginning a new life. It's a theatrical piece, that should be destined to make it to the theater or the movie screen.
2. My Chemical Romance: 'The Black Parade'
My Chemical Romance won their way into our hearts with their theatrics in Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, but when they donned the anti-Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club jackets, they created a masterpiece. The Black Parade is one of my favorite albums. It takes you on this emotional journey of a cancer patient who's on his deathbed reflecting on his life, and his experiences in the afterlife. The music video for "Welcome to the Black Parade" is just a sample portion of what this movie could be.
Just imagining someone like Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, or Henry Selick at the head of this movie brings me great joy.
1. Forgive Durden: Razia's Shadow: A Musical
Ever since I heard Forgive Durden's musical in 2010, I haven't stopped wanting to see this in some kind of visual form. I'm a sucker for musicals, and this is one of the most beautifully written ones I've ever listened to. There's not a bad song on this entire album, and with a different artist singing for different characters in the story, this album is truly something special. The story is the classic tale of good vs. evil. The world is created, divided, and true love brings those worlds back together.
The story includes talking spiders, a princess, a mad potions doctor, a creator, a king, our protagonist Ahrima, his love interest, Nidria, and his brother, Adakias. Forgive Durden made a masterpiece with this album, and would almost be impossible to follow it up with anything better. The only way to top it, is to finally turn it into a truly wonderful musical for the screen.