It tells the story of a musician named Starmaker who changes places with an "ordinary man" named Norman in order to better understand life. The album is the third concept album in the band's "theatrical period". Starmaker goes to bed with Norman's wife Andrea and then goes to work the next day, getting caught in the rush hour. He works 9 to 5, then goes down to the bar for a few drinks before making his way home. He then is greeted by Andrea whom he tells is "making it all worthwhile". By this point Starmaker has lost his grip on reality, he doesn't know who he is anymore. In the end he settles down with Andrea, accepting that he is now just "a face in the crowd". The album finishes by saying that although rock stars may fade, their music lives on.
The Starmaker is a parallel exaggeration of Ray Davies, he would often use his name in the stage version on Soap Opera and perform previous top Kinks songs as examples of his work as a star to explain that he is not Norman.
In 1994 Moog Konttinen recorded a Finnish translation of the album as Saippuaooppera.