A recent concept album is Machina by the Smashing Pumpkins. It falls somewhere between the thematic and story-driven models described here. It loosely follows the tale of the hero, Glass, who is a rock star in the mould of Ziggy Stardust. The concept to a certain extent mirrors the Smashing Pumpkins own career and frontman Billy Corgan's own desire for stardom and success. What is particularly interesting about the album is that many of the characters were already present in 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Mellon Collie was itself a somewhat unique concept album. Instead of being tied together by a narrative the album was divided into phases relating to the phases of life and the world of the young. There are many stylistic links between songs on the album both lyrically and musically, and the effect of this is heightened by the division of the album into two discs, Dawn to Dusk and Twilight to Starlight, each of which has a very distinct tone. The first disc opens with eerie pianos and hopeful innocence before being subsumed by blind rage and straight-out rock, but then falls into dreamy reverie on its later tracks, which become longer and more reflective. The second disc opens with the excitement and vigour of a night out and then peaks before gently flowing into a series of soft lullabies that lead to the end of the album.
Radiohead's albums Amnesiac and Kid A also fit together as concept albums. Although the lyrics are at times near impeniterable they nonetheless have a very consistent musical feel to them and one song frequently flows into the next. The music from the two albums was mostly recorded in one stretch of recording, and as a result they bear a marked resemblence to one and other.