Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Punishment

OK, I've held it off for long enough. I've tried to present myself as something that I'm not. Sorry internet, I've been dishonest. Now that we know each other a bit better, it's time to come clean.

I have a weakness for puns. Plays on words. I'm not proud of it. As part of my therapy, I offer you a warning. Below are some of the worst album titles ever. Bearing in mind that these things needed to be approved by chains of important people, from the band through to beancounters working out how it will play with key demographics, it's amazing that these ended up on our record racks.

The Vinyl Countdown: Album Titles Pun-ching Above Their Weight

Public Enemy (1994): Muse Sick in Our Mess Age
Ouch! It's almost painful to look at, but let me, a soul made of sterner stuff, take you through it. Music and Our Message - yes, they're a political band with things to say, through music. Good so far. But they've been at it for a while, PE, and things haven't got any better: hence 'Mess Age'. That's fine. It's a pun, and both of the double meanings make sense. But, carried away on the power of the pun, they go too far. Music/Muse Sick. Yes, they sound the same, but they've just said, in the title of the record no less, that they're creatively bankrupt, they've run out of ideas; their MUSE is SICK. Too far. They've hoist themselves with their own pun-tard.

Smashing Pumpkins (1995): Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Right. You're a band of goths, you're doing ok out of having lived longer than some of your peers. You've decided that, prog be damned, you're going to release a double CD album which, for some reason best only known to yourselves, is by and large rubbish. You'll have made sure that the only tracks worth listening to have a number in them (Zero, 1979, and stretching credulity, and assuming that you are Prince, 2night, 2night). Now, not forgetting that you're a goth band, what are you going to call it? Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness? Yes, that sounds appropriate, you bald weirdo. What do you mean, it's spelt 'Melon Collie'? A type of fruit and a type of dog? Why, for the love of all that is decent and pure, why? Is it because you're the Smashing Pumpkins? Who knows? It's just a good job you've surrounded yourselves with craven yes-men, who wouldn't dare criticise a sequence of incredibly stupid decisions, eh?

Various: Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins
This one has been committed by the great and the good. And by My Life Story. Talking Heads (the great), started the ball rolling in 1991, by reforming and writing a track called Sax and Violins for a Wim Wenders film. A nice low-key pun there, that might just escape attention. Then came Sparks in 1995 (the good) with their extended version of the pun, the album Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins, which is acceptable, but it's been done before, lads. Still, I can accept this from the only man in the western world who persists with the Hitler 'tache. What I can't accept is My Life Story (the unclassifiably bad). For those who can't remember: you're lucky, lucky people. It was the heady days of Britpop, and the fine Divine Comedy were doing ok with their brand of orchestrated aphorisms and loucheness. Then, the unbearably smug Jake Shillingford, who, if you ever get to meet him, is owed a smack in the face from me and anyone who's ever had to listen to one of his records, tried to reproduce the formula, but taking out the charm, good music and human qualities from the mix. Their fanclub (or possibly they called it an information service, aware of the difficulties the word 'fan' might represent) was called 'Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins', and this was around '96, '97. Ugh, I feel sullied.

OK, in my very brief round-up of the genre, which has thus far only included records I've listened to, we come to the final entry:
Westlife (2004): Let Me Be Frank
It's a covers album of Sinatra songs. Supressing... urge... to kill... Westlife... Those pug-faced little stool-dampeners. I'll leave it at that - I'm wasting no more potential RSI on the little twerps.

Anyways, in the season of goodwill to most men, what album title has had you roll your eyes, bite your lip, contort your face and bawl like a baby?

2 comments:

  1. oooo good one (it really is a delight reading your blog Jim!)

    Well, the first one that sprang to my mind was Metallica's "S&M" because, if I remember rightly, they claim the "S" and "M" stand for "Symphony and Metallica".

    I also have to mention the appalling playground snigger-inducing title of Limp Bizkut's album "chocolate starfish and hotdog flavoured water". I only know what the chocolate starfish means (yuk) but have never figured out hotdog flavoured water but I guess it means something equally yuk. Not really a pun though.

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  2. Yuk, Limp Bizkit. Even today, the sight of someone walking down the street in a red baseball cap makes me cross over to the other side. 'Fred Durst' even became rhyming slang round my way for 'absolute worst'. 'Limp Bizkit' was also rhyming slang for something. Can you guess what, boys and girls?

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