Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Best Album Titles of All Time

These aren't in any particular order; this will engender enough controversy among the notoriously argumentative OPC readership without adding rankings on top of it. They're also presented irrespective of the quality of the record itself, although it seems that an act with the wherewithal to come up with a great title is also generally capable of making a pretty good record. Please add your favorites in comments.

The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strnen by the Mekons: Funniest title and cover photo ever.
Nevermind by Nirvana: It's great when a band can encapsulate its ethos with a single word, even if that word is made up.
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan: This is the only great Dylan album with a great title; most of his great albums have so-so titles, like Blonde on Blonde or Time Out of Mind, while his great titles are largely wasted on things like Slow Train Coming or Empire Burlesque or...
Street Legal by Bob Dylan
Bee Thousand by Guided by Voices
Butt Rockin' by the Fabulous Thunderbirds
Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones
Let It Be by the Replacements: A much better title, oddly enough, than Let It Be by the Beatles.
Here Come the Warm Jets by Brian Eno
Hot Fuss by the Killers
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John: It's overfamiliar now, but just imagine you're coming to it fresh, and appreciate how it looks and sounds. It's pretty great.
Pacific Trim (EP) by Pavement: This just cracks me up.
Vampire Can Mating Oven (EP) by Camper van Beethoven: Is there a word for something that's like an anagram except it scrambles syllables rather than letters?


MJN said...

"Pacific Trim"? Maybe I'm dense, but I don't get it.

"Dookie" defines Green Day at least as well as "Nevermind" does Nirvana.
Nobody but the Who could have come up with "Quadrophenia".
But the best album title I can think of (so far) is Talking Heads' "Fear of Music". That title, plus the monochrome embossed diamond safety-step pattern on the album cover, just commanded you to find out what sounds were inside.

T. Nawrocki said...

I actually meant to include "Who's Next" on the list. I love the way it works either as it is or with the implied question mark.

T. Nawrocki said...

I actually meant to include "Who's Next" on the list. I love the way it works either as it is or with the implied question mark.

MJN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MJN said...

I would also like to add The Mothers of Invention, "Weasels Ripped My Flesh". Rzzzzz!

Joe said...

"Pacific Trim" refers to the California marijuana harvest. And there's a double entendre. Pretty funny, though not sure it's one of the greatest titles of all time. But then, I'm not sure why "Blonde on Blonde" is a lame title.

I'd nominate "Locust Abortion Technicians," by the Butthole Surfers and "America Eats Its Young" by Funkadelic. Both titles are better than the records themselves. That may be another list altogether.

Also, you have to admire "The Songs of Leonard Cohen" for its truth in packaging, topped only by his album entitled "Ten New Songs" thirty-three years later.

T. Nawrocki said...

Blonde on Blonde is hard to pronounce, doesn't really look like anything, and has nothing to do with the record itself: I guess it supposed to be a sexual reference, but for all of its many attributes, Blonde on Blonde is not a sexy record. It's not a terrible title, but I think it's kind of weak.

I also think the Randy Newman 12 Songs/Paul Westerberg 14 Songs school of album titling is weak, but Leonard Cohen puts just enough spin on that style to make it seem austere rather than just lazy.

joe said...

Right. Blonde on blonde is a sexual reference. It's also "B o B." It's not a sexy record. It's a sexually viscious record. But hard to pronounce? Are you kidding?

The genius of "Ten New Songs" is that he'd already put out: "The Songs of Leonard Cohen," "Songs From a Room," and "Songs of Love and Hate." Each economical title is itself a gem. The genius of "Ten New Songs" was that he hadn't made a new studio ablum in nine or ten years. He had ten new songs. (Not 12, the usual number on an album, thus the Randy Newman title. Just ten.) So he put out an album. And called it "Ten New Songs."