Month: May 2008

Creative Album Titles

Creative Album Titles

One thing that’s always irked me about new artists is when they decide to self title their debut album. There’s nothing inherently wrong with self-titling your first album since, after all, in most cases it’s supposed to present you to the world and establish your name but I’ve always interpreted it as a lack of effort and creativity.

Even if it’s something as simple as naming your album after one of the tunes, at least it beats just calling it Taylor Swift. In her defense, not everyone is blessed with such an awesome birth name that screams superstardom so she’s an exception to the rule. Heck, even Leona Lewis, who probably had zero involvement in the production of her highly successful debt album besides providing the gorgeous vocals at least had the common courtesy to call it “Spirit”.

With that, I present my unordered list of what I consider some of the coolest album titles I’ve ever heard because they’re clever, funny, or simply amusing in some kind of way.

  • Sugar Ray — Lemonade and Brownies
  • New Radicals — Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too
  • Collective Soul — Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid
  • Modest Mouse — We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  • Oasis — Definitely Maybe
  • Queens of the Stone Age — Songs for the Deaf
  • Elton John — Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player
  • Britney Spears — Oops! …I Did it Again
  • Xscape — Traces of My Lipstick
  • Radiohead — Pablo Honey
  • Soundgarden — Superunknown
  • Death Cub for Cutie — We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes
  • The B-52s — Wild Planet
  • Public Enemy — Fear of a Black Planet
  • Public Enemy – How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?
  • Salt and Pepa — A Salt With a Deadly Pepa
  • PJ Harvey — Rid of Me
  • Ultra Nate — Grime Silk & Thunder
  • Everything But the Girl — Amplified Heart
  • Peaches – Impeach My Bush
  • Aimee Mann – @#%&*! Smilers
  • Army of Lovers – Massive Luxury Overdose
  • Senses Fail – Life is Not a Waiting Room
  • Yoko Ono – Yes, I’m a Witch
  • Fastball – All the Pain Money Can Buy
  • M.I.A. – Piracy Funds Terrorism
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The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 06:  (L-R) American...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The trivial fervor that emerged earlier during the American Idol seasons when it was revealed that Carly Smithson previously had a record deal was interesting. Interesting in that so many people criticized the decision to keep her around and were saying she had an unfair advantage while seemingly overlooking the fact that despite the record label’s best efforts (or lack of), her album still failed to make her a superstar and she was now back at square one.

We already know Carly’s time on Idol did not result in her winning the grand prize claimed by the older of the two identically named final contestants but I do hope she does get to pursue new musical or related ventures from her Idol stint once the traveling karaoke bar show is over because obviously has a formidable voice.

Anyhow the point is to use Carly’s failed musical venture as an example of this pipe dream that many singers and bands envision and unfortunately fail at once they quickly notice how unforgiving major labels can be and how cutthroat the music industry is. Unless you’ve got genuine musical talent or something new to bring to the table, [long term] success is…we’ll say it’s iffy.

One thing I’ve never quite understood is why a lot of up and coming singers choose to stick with what the current trends are instead of taking some bolder risks and differentiating themselves. I witnessed the return of the late nineties teen pop boom when Britney Spears emerged to claim her throne only to see a huge influx of manufactured acts that employed the following:

These days the problem is more of a lack of variety than using silly gimmicks. I remember hearing a lot about Kat DeLuna and how she was going to be the next big thing. I heard her debut single “Whine Up” and while catchy, there was nothing particularly distinguishing about it.

I follow the music charts enough to where I can make an educated guess on how the subsequent album will fare when it’s released and after seeing that “Whine Up” had modest chart performance, I figured the album would be equally dismal or disappointing. Needless to say, Kat DeLuna’s debut “9 Lives” failed to make an impression.

Very few artists, especially those that aren’t already established can rely on just a catchy tune that sounds like everything else on popular radio if they want to establish a career out of music. From what I’ve seen as album sales have dwindled, you’ve got to bring the whole package and you have to stand out in some way. Why has Alicia Keys achieved substantial success with her third outing “As I Am”? She does her own thing, she can actually write lyrics and music and she takes unique approaches where possible with her music while still creating radio friendly tunes.

The moral of the story: unless you’ve got the resolve and the talent, expecting to become the next multiplatinum sensation and making a long term career out of music involves a lot more than just aligning yourself with professional songwriters, at least in this day and age anyway.

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