There are albums dedicated to personal pain, political protest, love, death, nostalgia, or rage. There are those that are simply fun and glossy, the soundtrack to a good time. Some are exploratory, a musical journey, shape-shifting sound making, a new way to do an old thing. Artists can make a choice about concept and content, heed a vision, or follow their muse or their manager. But in times so extreme and overwhelming, where there is no known expression for the feeling, no satisfactory direction for art or action, then they might take refuge in a process, a ritual, something familiar, the shape and sound of which recall another time altogether, so that they can weather the present long enough to call it the past. Some albums are testimony, some confessions, and some are escape.