The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Art Rock Essentials


Art rock, although a broad term, is generally used to describe music with experimental and avant-garde influences, and is often interchangeable with terms like “progressive”.  Though the genre reached its peak in the mid-1970s, its influence continues to be heard in modern music. Here are some essential albums to introduce a rich and complex genre.

Brian Eno- “Before and After Science

Eno’s fifth studio album, this release was somewhat of a bridge between his glam rock career and his later ambient music. Eno, also known for his role as producer of numerous albums, brings some of his best work with this album.

Key Track: “King’s Lead Hat”


Kate Bush- “Hounds of Love”

Also considered a staple of the art pop genre, “Hounds of Love” is arguably Kate Bush’s best album. The British songstress’ 1985 album is chock-full of hit singles, and the second side forms a short concept album, focusing on a person drifting at sea. Senior Viviana Gonzalez said, “Kate Bush’s piercing wail nourishes my soul.”

Key Track: “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)”


David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy

Composed of three separate, but connected, albums, “The Berlin Trilogy” is the term used to describe 1977’s “Low”, 1977’s “Heroes”, and 1979’s “Lodger”.

“Although I prefer his earlier glam rock albums, I can appreciate his more experimental work, and I enjoy ‘Heroes’,” said senior Samuel Eisendrath.

Key Tracks: “Sound and Vision”


“African Night Flight”


Talking Heads- “Remain in Light”

Also produced by Brian Eno, this 1980 album is often considered Talking Head’s greatest album, helping the band to find more success in the musical mainstream. Senior Sophia Kelsey said of the band’s lead singer, David Byrne, “David Byrne is both a nuisance and a blessing to the music world.”

Key Track: “Once in a Lifetime”


The Velvet Underground- “The Velvet Underground & Nico”

Arguably one of the most influential albums of all time, The Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album, produced by artist Andy Warhol, is an early example of the emergence of a more complex structure in rock. The “proto-punk” album, seen as an influence to the punk scene that would later emerge, is an excellent example of the complexity of art rock.

Key Track: “Venus in Furs”


Devo- “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”

Although Devo showcased more of their artistic influences in their later albums, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” is yet another “genre bridge”, connecting the worlds of post-punk and art rock. Reflecting on the band’s work, senior Summer Truschke said “Listening to my Devo record is a fun summertime activity.”

Key Track: “Gut Feeling”


John Cale- “Fear”

A 1974 solo album from ex-Velvet Underground member John Cale, “Fear” features a large number of collaborators, as well as a diverse range of instruments used.

Key Track: “Gun”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Expressions Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *