My friend Cara and I have a special ritual. Every time Mariah Carey releases a new album, we have a good long laugh over the title. Come on, join us in a nice round of laughter:
Music Box. Daydream. Butterfly. Rainbow. Glitter. Charmbracelet.
A few months before the release of Mariah's current album, Cara sent me the following email: "Her new album will be called.... Wait for it.... Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel."
Laugh out loud. (Thankfully, the music was a million times better than the title.)
Coming Soon: Little Fluffy Bunnies.
Thankfully, when it comes to album titles, all is not dreadfully vomit-inducing. Over the years, some pretty good ones have come along. I realized this recently while getting my Church fix by listening to their 1990 album Gold Afternoon Fix for the first time in countless afternoons. Now there's a solid gold title. Not so much the Church's 1992 follow-up, Priest=Aura, which the lead singer, Steve Kilbey, once told me came to him after misreading a street sign.
While coming up with A-Z lists of hot and not album titles, I noticed some interesting trends. Too many of them unoriginally begin with the word "Song" -- but at least they are, for the most part, pretty good: Songs In The Key Of Life (Stevie Wonder). Songs From The Big Chair (Tears For Fears). Songs To Learn And Sing (Depeche Mode). Songs Of Faith And Devotion (Depeche Mode). Songs From The Last Century (George Michael). Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop (Stone Temple Pilots). Songs In A Minor (Alicia Keys). Songs Of Mass Devotion (Annie Lennox). And simply, Songs (Luther Vandross).
Other observations: Boy George did great album titles, with and without Culture Club (Kissing To Be Clever, Colour By Numbers, Waking Up With The House On Fire, From Luxury To Heartache, Sold, Tense Nervous Headache, Cheapness & Beauty). Michael Jackson, though he got off to a good start (with Off The Wall), didn't. Not that I have anything against ego-tripping titles -- Angela Winbush's Sharp is precisely that -- but Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and Invincible are ego-tripping and kind of cheesy.
And now, the good, the bad & the ugly, from A to Z.
After The Gold Rush Neil Young
Busy Body Luther Vandross
Coming Down Daniel Ash/ Coming Up Suede
Diva Annie Lennox
Elegant Slumming M People
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) AC/DC
Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby Terence Trent D'Arby
Infidels Bob Dylan
King's Record Shop Rosanne Cash
Life, Love And Pain Club Nouveau
Music For The Masses Depeche Mode/ Magic And Loss Lou Reed
New Adventures In Hi-Fi R.E.M.
Private Dancer Tina Turner
Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town Emmylour Harris
Red Hot Rhythm & Blues Diana Ross
The Southern Harmony And Music Companion The Black Crowes
Tenement Symphony Marc Almond
Urban Hymns The Verve
Vinyl Confessions Kansas
The World Is Full Of Trouble Joi Cardwell
Young, Gifted And Black Aretha Franklin
Zagora Loose Ends
THE BAD & THE UGLY
Baby Making Music The Isley Brothers
Chicago III, V, VII, VIII, X, XI, 13, XIV, 16, 17, 18, 19, XXX Chicago
Don't Get Weird On Me Babe Lloyd Cole
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Van Halen
The G Spot Gerald Levert
Hummin' Comin' At 'Cha Xscape
Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 Janet Jackson
Kihntinued/ Kihnspiracy/ Kihntagious The Greg Kihn Band
Lawyers In Love Jackson Browne
Melon Collie And The Infinte Sadness Smashing Pumpkins
Neither Fish Nor Flesh (A Soundtrack of Love, Faith, Hope & Destruction) Terence Trent D'Arby
OU812 Van Halen
Pubic Fruit Curve
Quiet Lies Juice Newton
Rhyme & Reason Missing Persons
A Salt With A Deadly Pepa Salt-N-Pepa
12 Songs Neil Diamond
Uh-Huh John Cougar Mellencamp
Veni, Vidi, Vicious The Hives
Who's Zooming Who? Aretha Franklin
X INXS, Def Leppard, Kylie Minogue
You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs LeAnn Rimes