Concept albums have always been a tricky affair. Very often they’ve ended up as failures or mixed bag affairs, even when done by some big names in music.
That failure could come from the shortcomings of the concept itself, other times the fault would lie with the music, and even more often than not, it was a combination of the two.
Of course, there were artists that turned concept albums into something to cherish, some of them being better known, like Harry Nilsson, others having just a (rightfully so) staunch fan base like David Ackles.
Yet that heavy fail rate didn’t discourage Steven Ramirez, another Los Angeles artist who goes under the artistic banner as Unfortunately Steven.
Ramirez actually decided to work on a concept that would stimulate people who have psychological problems to go into therapy. Groovy Avocado Disco, the title of his latest album is actually an acronym for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Talking about the key idea behind this project, Ramirez explains: “The concept of the album is a full therapy session from start to finish. From walking into the session a human balloon filled with crippling anxiety and depression, to leaving deflated and ready to take on the week…The therapist guides the listener through these thoughts and grounds them through mindfulness. The album tackles the human condition, depression, drugs, addiction, capitalism, and personal issues…”
Sounds like a heavy concept on paper and one that has a better chance of failing than being successful.
Yet, somehow, and partly due to the musical concept that smartly follows Harry Nilsson’s footsteps the great artist took on The Point! switching to almost vaudevillian themes of the opener to cosmic country of, well, ‘Cosmic Connection’ and the other part it having a lighter approach to his lyrics, Ramirez is able to come on top both with the concept and the music.
In the end, Groovy Avocado Disco is able both to present some excellent music and present a strong concept.