Album titles are tricky. Rarely are musicians able to both create landmark music and exceptional album titles. There are not many examples. Dark Side of the Moon is both a remarkable display of music and a tremendous album title.
So, what makes Dark Side of the Moon a good album title? Better yet, what makes album titles terrible?
Dark Side of the Moon holds a special quality in that it is referenced in the music itself, impeccably (may I add). But, taking only the album title into account, let’s analyze why it works. First, it is short and to the point. Often album titles drag on, but, in order to be effective, titles need to be catchy. Catchy generally means short and easy to remember. Why do you think the best rhythms are always the most simple?
Album titles cannot be overly pretentious either. For example, any album title that makes substantial claims like “this music is awesome” tells the listener that the music is going to be arrogant and condescending. It also will probably suck. And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t be an idiot and misspell words. Seriously, do not!
Also, don’t you just hate album covers that are extremely nebulous and confusing? Seriously, who wants to be confused by the album title. It doesn’t make me want to buy an album. Think of some other great album titles. The White Album, Nevermind, American Beauty. Simple and straight forward. I like that. But, also, album titles that are just dumbed down like Madonna’s Music are terrible. Seriously, we know it’s music because it’s a freaking album.
Here are five album titles I dislike strongly.
1.) When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring
There’s no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right By, Fiona Apple
Yeah, I’m serious. This is the full album title. It is one of the longest album titles of all time. Chumbawamba has an 865-character album. Here is my issue with long album titles. I do not want to disparage Apple’s poetry, but it does not belong as the album’s title. Stick it in the liner notes as an addition. This is the opposite of a short, catchy album title. I wonder if anyone has memorized the full album title. Do those people refer to the album in full (as opposed to simply When The Pawn, the fragmented used title). Oh, did you hear the new Fiona Apple album. When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king… The abridged version is like Pi. Easier just to cut it to 3.14.
2.) The Ego Has Landed by, Robbie Williams
3.) Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday by, John Bult
This takes the cake for two categories (like the b-day reference). The album cover is just weird, pedophilia-esque. This must have been a really bad birthday, like criminally bad. The album title is also terrible. Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday. How can that translate into good music? We are put in a place where we do not want to be, Julie’s horrible birthday party.
4.) The M-Pire Shrikez Back by Originoo Gunn Clappaz
Well, the band name is spelled wrong, so I guess a misspelled title was sort of inevitable. But, really? I am not too worried with the M-Pire part. Hell, that is some creative input. But, shrikez. That’s not English, it’s gibberish. I don’t mind one misspelling, but a terrible one that makes no sense is inexcusable.
5.) Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water by Limp Bizkit
This album sold 1.05 million copies in its first week. Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. This has to be the worst album title ever. It does everything wrong. It is not catchy, it’s stupid and it completely turns you off to everything. It is just gross. Why are we talking about hot dog flavored water. We should never talk about that. And look at the little people on the album cover. They are bathing in hot dogs. Why? This is the quintessential example of the confusing album title. What the hell does this mean? Not much, obviously. I mean it is Limp Bizkit