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I think that science-fiction and fantasy concept albums with a clear-ish, consistent story, such as Drones by Muse and The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, are on-topic. However, I’m not sure about this: what parts can we ask about—is each individual track—the lyrics, the music, the writing, the recording, etc.—on-topic?

I’d think the same policy should apply to science-fiction and fantasy rock operas.

  • Sure. Why wouldn't they be? – Valorum Sep 21 at 21:26
  • @Valorum see updated question. – Stormblessed Sep 21 at 21:32
  • Duplicate (kinda) of scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/337/… – Valorum Sep 21 at 21:33
  • @Valorum no, it’s not. It’s asking about what parts of an on-topic thing are on-topic. – Stormblessed Sep 21 at 21:35
  • The on-topic bits are on-topic. The off-topic bits aren't. The downvotes will be your guide – Valorum Sep 21 at 21:35
  • I don't know what a "concept album" or a "rock opera" are, but is there any reason not to apply the same policy as with everything else? Namely, asking about any aspect of an on-topic work is on-topic (e.g. it's fine to ask about the soundtrack of Star Wars even though the music itself isn't SF/F), and asking about on-topic aspects (but not off-topic ones) of generally off-topic works is on-topic? – Rand al'Thor Sep 22 at 8:45
  • @Rand well gameplay for video games is off-topic, so I’m asking if anything would be off-topic comparably. – Stormblessed Sep 22 at 13:58
  • @Valorum re "The downvotes will be your guide" - Not all of us have unlimited rep to burn. – Kevin Sep 29 at 19:33
  • @Kevin - Go answer something – Valorum Sep 29 at 19:35
  • @Valorum: Given the ongoing excitement on MSE and elsewhere, I'm not entirely sure I feel comfortable doing that right now. – Kevin Sep 29 at 19:52
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If there is actually a plot that runs through an entire album (not just thematic similarities from song to song), and the plot of a science fiction or fantasy nature, then the entire project should be on topic. In this case, the music becomes just another medium for storytelling within the science fiction or fantasy genres. However, true storytelling albums of this type of not very common.

Sometimes, there will be individual songs with plots, but nothing tying the entire disc together other than thematic elements. The songs that, on their own, tell science fiction and fantasy stories are on topic; also on topic are questions about the genre themes that may tie the otherwise unrelated songs together. However, specifics about songs that are not part involved in the storytelling aspect are not on topic. For example, David Bowie released a number of science fiction concept albums, but most of the songs do not have actual plots. A few of the songs do actually tell science fiction stories—most famously "Space Oddity." It's not a very detailed story, but it is certainly a story, so the entirety of that song is on topic. For Bowie's non-narrative songs (such as "A Small Plot of Land"), questions about the science fiction references in the lyrics contain are topical, but questions about the purely musical elements are not.

If there are simply bits of science fiction or fantasy imagery overlaid onto an otherwise basically musical number, questions about the science fiction elements are on topic, but the remainder is not. For example Parliament Funkadelic performed a stadium tour that featured "the Mothership" landing on stage. Questions about the ship itself (its role in the show, the nature of the prop, etc.) are on topic, but most of the performance by Bootsy Collins and the rest of P Funk, not really being related to the spacecraft, are not on topic.

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    I agree with this answer. However, users should be aware that purely musical questions on any song are likely to get better answers on Music: Practice & Theory than here. That does not necessarily make them off-topic here, but users should think carefully about the sort of answer they are soliciting by their choice of site. – Kevin Sep 29 at 19:32

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