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Most Cohesive-sounding Albums?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Some people have problems with albums that sound as though they're just a dozen songs plucked out of a huge pot willy-nilly, strung together, and packaged onto a disc.

It's great if those songs are good in themselves, but I think there's something to be said about songs of the same quality having cohesion. It sort of makes the album - as the cliche goes - "much greater than the sum of its parts."

Most music is built off of a certain amount of repetition at the song level, so it's interesting to see that done properly on the scale of an entire album.

In that respect, what albums do you feel satisfy an exceptional level of cohesiveness it its songs? Of course, please do explain why.

For starters, I will mention () by Sigur Ros as one such album. From the the album and the songs having no titles and the same meaningless lyrics being repeated over and over again, there's a certain tie that binds the album. And musically, it feels as if one big piece divided into two halves of four movements each. Sigur Ros' discography as a whole is already more cohesive that most popular albums, but this album of theirs takes that quality to a higher level.
post #2 of 12

I love Dean Martin so my pick for now would be his Christmas album Christmas with Dino.







post #3 of 12

This is just maybe a little bit of a boring answer to the posted question but I have to state DSOTM.


We heard Pink Floyd before DSOTM came out. It was from the first song on, a new musical experience unheard of from The Floyd. The album has been played so much on FM radio that it is almost hard not to hear it in a cohesive way, as we have the whole thing in our memory. The album changed everything in many ways. It was almost a new level of sound both for the band alone and music at the time.


Still playing it all these years I have to say it is a masterpiece of music just going together well. Every song seems to convey the same mood. The album tells a story which starts off well and ends well. The songs go together well even though it is full of cutting edge and new at the time sounds. There are very small but really smart changes in the song performances which enable the thing to have a monolithic size and still remain together.


Other aspects seem to be in the size of songs and size of playing time. It was both new in some ways with the song playing time for the mid 1970s as well as the record was a perfect size. These things all fit together so very well.


We all heard of long jam outs with many long and great but how is it that this album has never lost the magic? When would you ever stop a single song or even the album at the 50% mark?


How is it that the quality of the recording is still used as a demo for new systems being put together even now days. 


The album is not really that ear friendly with cash registers going off, alarm clocks, and manic laughter at a huge recording volume, yet it still gets played all the time, partially because of how the songs are put together.


We hear a perfect mix of sounds and music, vocals and solos, everything blended together as state of the art today as it was when it came out.

Edited by Redcarmoose - 10/10/11 at 1:10am
post #4 of 12

This is probably cheating but the first album that comes to mind is Sleep's Dopesmoker.  Its just one long epic piece of doom metal.

post #5 of 12

() was the first thing that came to my mind, which isn't strange given that it is still my favorite album that I have come across to date. MF Doom does this kind of stuff all the time, the mouse & the mask, madvillainy, mm.. food and operation doomsday all have these brilliant skits that tie the album together and make it more of an experience.

post #6 of 12



Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children

Braids - Native Speaker

Elvis Costello - This Year's Model

The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

post #7 of 12

Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull definitely comes to mind.


It's basically a 45 minute song, only with a break half-way through (because of vinyl). Not to mention it's an absolutely amazing album, probably my favorite of all time.

post #8 of 12

The Secret Machines, "Now Here Is Nowhere" immediately came to mind. So different from what I usually listen to, but oh so good. Every song melds into one another and it wraps up very nicely in the end.



post #9 of 12
I agree very much about DSoTM. I spent a lot of my youth listening to it repeatedly.

Though do give "Dusk at Cubist Castle" by the Olivia Tremor Control a listen. It's an underappreciated classic - check the reviews. Seems like everyone who knows about it loves it. Once it sinks in, try their "Black Foliage," which might be a stronger album. I keep going back and forth on which I love more. The difference is that "Black Foliage" won't pull you in until you've digested "Dusk at Cubist Castle."

For something completely different, try "Red Headed Stranger" by Willie Nelson. Yes, it's country. But you might love it. "Red Headed Stranger" is a concept album. If you don't love Willie yet, this is a good way to get into one of the few living - and performing - legends we have left. I saw him last year at the Greek. A little rusty at first, but then he warmed up and killed the audience. I love that guy.
post #10 of 12

Pet Sounds gets my vote. The very epitome of a cohesive ambition manifested to its fully, not a single wasted moment.

post #11 of 12
  • Both "De-Loused in the Comatorium" and "Frances the Mute" by The Mars Volta are wonderfully cohesive, though Frances is much more so as it's 5 songs in 12 tracks and goes out the way it came in.
  • David Bowie's "Outside" is made to be cohesive, being a concept album and all.
  • So, if you like an album with its own plot, check out "The Human Equation" by Ayreon.
  • I've also always found Blindside's "Silence" to be the antithesis of a hodge-podge collection of songs so-called an 'album,' if only because the tracks just sound like they actually belong together, and even in that order.
  • Ok... so rather than listing all the Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and other works with significant thought behind the end product, here's a list.
post #12 of 12
Most of Radiohead's albums, especially Kid A, OK Computer and In Rainbows.
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