Can Josh Ramsay bring back the concept album? (I hope so!)

Arts Coverage

For someone who co-wrote one of the most ubiquitous singles in the world, Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay is certainly uninspired by the format.

Ramsay, of course, was the producer of Carly Rae Jepsen’s global smash “Call Me Maybe,” which he also co-wrote with Jepsen. His knack for crafting earworms has also brought acclaim to his own band, Vancouver pop-punk quartet Marianas Trench, known for hits such as “Cross My Heart,” “All to Myself,” “Haven’t Had Enough,” and “Who Do You Love?”

Interestingly enough, every Trench record since 2009’s Masterpiece Theatre has been a concept album, a format that seems more suited to 1970s prog than 21st century pop-rock.


Asked about his infatuation with the concept album, Ramsay declared, “I’m f***ing bored with the rest of it!”

Speaking at a press conference during the 2017 Juno Awards broadcast, the Pop Album of the Year nominee expressed frustration with single-minded musicians who try to avoid writing “complete albums.”

“When you have a record that’s all singles, it’s just too much sugar in the cake,” Ramsay explained. “It’s so sweet that I can’t handle it, and I can’t listen to it all the way through.”

By combining pop-punk nuggets and power ballads and comparatively longer suites, such as the nearly seven-minute “No Place Like Home” and “Masterpiece Theatre III,” Marianas Trench ensures their albums are dynamic experiences that beg for repeated listens.

(Ramsay also avoids some of the excesses of the traditional concept albums – you won’t find any thirty second interludes on a Marianas Trench record).

Can the concept album be resurrected? If anyone can do it, it’s Josh Ramsay, who is one of the best pop songwriters Canada has ever produced.

“Some people want to do what everyone else does, and do what else is on the radio,” Ramsay concluded.

“I think we want to cut our own path.”

Marianas Trench

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