Ah, to be a student again...
Just a couple of weeks ago, I heard about the punk class being offered at NYU, now I stumble across a course at the University of Chicago called "The Concept Album" (for a downloadable pdf of the syllabus, here.) Interesting selection of "texts" for the course:
John Coltrane. 1964. A Love Supreme. Compact Disc. Impulse GRD-155.
Marvin Gaye. 1971. What’s Going On. Compact Disc. Motown 530883. (The Deluxe Edition is highly recommended).
Pink Floyd. 1973. Dark Side of the Moon. Compact Disc. Capitol 46001.
Stevie Wonder. 1973. Innervisions. Compact Disc. Motown 157355.
Parliament. 1975. Mothership Connection. Compact Disc. Casablanca/PolyGram 24502.
Kraftwerk. 1981 Computer World. Compact Disc. Capitol 3549.
Kate Bush. 1985. Hounds of Love. Compact Disc. EMI 25239. (This reissue has four bonus tracks)
Liz Phair. 1993. Exile in Guyville. Compact Disc. Matador 51.
Radiohead. 1997. OK Computer. Compact Disc. Capitol 55229.
The Flaming Lips. 2002. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Compact Disc. Warner Brothers 48489.
This appeals to the music nerd in me that I'm usually reluctant to remember who used to sit with the lyrics sheet and listen closely to Patrick Moraz's The Story of i in high school.
A brief search to satisfy my curiosity turned up this list of concept albums organized by decade. I'm not convinced all of these are concept albums and it seems like some are missing. I guess it depends on how you define it.
The concept album seems to be coming back, for good (Greendale, Delirium Cordia, Vaudeville Villain, I Phantom) and ill (American Idiot, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb). I haven't checked out the new album from The Mars Volta yet and can't actually call The Street's A Grand Don't Come for Free great or terrible. Maybe I'll do a list of favorite and/or least favorite concept albums later.