Sometimes musicians just can’t be arsed. Here’s a collection of the laziest album titles, starting with Madonna, ‘Music’ On the surface, it looks like an invitation to crack a gag. “Music? Madonna? Haha.” But then you listen and it’s all, “Music makes the people come together”. That’s meta. Madonna: always thinking. Except when she’s dabbling in hokey religions and marrying Guy Ritchie.
Deep Purple, ‘Purpendicular’ Nothing says 15th album and total absence of iconic lead guitarist (that’s Ritchie Blackmore, who left for good a couple of years earlier) like an excruciating pun. Deeplorable.
50 Cent, ‘Curtis’ As a demonstration of how head-spinningly soon 50 Cent reached the threshold of artistic bankruptcy, using his real first name as the title of his third album is hard to beat. Just to rub salt into the wound, Kanye West pitched his ‘Graduation’ album against ‘Curtis’ in the market and trounced it comprehensively.
Beyoncé, ‘4’ Believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, this was Beyoncé’s fourth album. According to her extraordinary claims, it was prompted by fans reminding her it was her favourite/lucky number. And, um, not just her fourth album. Pull the other one, Bey.
Bloc Party, ‘Four’ According to Wikipedia, “‘Four’ is the fourth studio album by British indie rock band Bloc Party”. Which is about as interesting as the truth gets. Also, when they’re not splitting up or pretending to split, there are four people in the band. That’s deep, man.
R Kelly, ‘R’ Would it have been more or less lazy to call it ‘Robert’? At least it would’ve revealed one of pop’s greatest secrets (that’s, um, easily unveiled by a quick google). What really shows up the full shiftless nature of ‘R’ is the fact Mr Kelly’s previous album was called ‘R Kelly’. He’d be fresh out of can’t-be-arsed options for the next one.
Rihanna, ‘Rated R’ This one’s got an ingenious double meaning. One, the US classification rating denoting naughtiness, and we sure as hell know Rihanna’s got a saucy streak; two, it’s “rated Rihanna”. Which of course means absolutely bugger all. Perhaps thinking too deeply about the pun isn’t exactly playing ball.
Arctic Monkeys, ‘AM’ Speaking of layers of meaning, this one’s like an onion. It could stand for “morning”, it could stand for “am” like “Arctic Monkeys am…” in a grossly ungrammatical construction. Thinking about it, and bear with us here, it could also stand for “Arctic Monkeys”. It stands for “Arctic Monkeys”, doesn’t it?
Justin Timberlake, ‘Justified’ There’s a sneaking suspicion though that Justin Timberlake wanted us to run with this, to allow him to wholly take over the word “justified”, so whenever anyone claimed something was “justified” we’d all immediately think it’d been infused with sub-Michael Jackson beats and bubbly blond hair.
Cannibal Corpse, ‘Eaten Back To Life’ This one’s very clever because that’s what cannibals do – eat people back to life. Well, it’s possible there’s some kind of miraculous property to cannibal regurgitation whereby… No, we’re not speculating any further.
Maroon 5, ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long’ If you think about it, it’ll be soon several times before long. Still, it was nice to see Maroon 5 indulging in some obscure wordplay after the astonishingly literal ‘Songs About Jane’, which turned out to be an album comprising a dozen songs about a lady called Jane. They’d soon return to blinding literalness with ‘Overexposed’.
Beady Eye, ‘BE’ Here’s what we can parse from various Beady Eye interviews this year: it either stands for “Beady Eye” or just “be”, man. It can be whatever you want it to be. Just be. We’re not going to dictate what its meaning should be because, frankly, we can’t be bothered.
Duran Duran, ‘Arena’ You can imagine the meeting. Simon Le Bon’s chowing down on his fourth breakfast, John Taylor’s swinging his mullet, a couple of the others are marveling at the fact they’ve got the same surname as John, and Nick Rhodes is saying, “Look, it’s a live album culled from various arena shows over the last year or so. I’m going to call it fucking ‘Arena’.”
Steps, ‘Steptacular’ There was absolutely nothing spectacular about Steps. There was, however, a lot “steptacular” about Steps, so it stands to reason really. The upshot is a pun with only one plausible meaning, which isn’t a pun in the strictest sense. One to ponder, H.
Aqua, ‘Aquarium’ You’ll like this one. Originally called Joyspeed, Aqua renamed themselves after seeing the word “aqua” on the poster for an aquarium. They then called their debut album ‘Aquarium’. Wow. It’s hard to square this smidgen of a scintilla of effort with a work of unimpeachable genius like ‘Barbie Girl’. Truly they channeled their talents in the right direction.
Will Smith, ‘Willennium’ The leap of imagination required to use your own name to make a pun on the millennium that would arrive just six weeks after the release of your album is genuinely awesome.
Soulja Boy Tell Em, ‘Souljaboytellem.com’ Everything sounds amazing and futuristic if you slap a “.com” on the end. Especially if you’re in the 90s. Unfortunately, Soulja Boy released this one in 2007 by which point it had all the gleamingly modern cultural cachet of a Soulwax mash-up.
Talking Heads, ‘The Name Of This Band is Talking Heads’ Could have been worse. They could’ve called it ‘Arena’. This is a live double album featuring recordings gathered over four years of touring, but what seems like album-title-as-literal-intro is actually meant to be a sniffy rejoinder to people calling them “The” Talking Heads. So, not lazy. OK, maybe a bit lazy.
Oasis, ‘Definitely Maybe’ Definitely lazy. There’s not much reward in examining Noel Gallagher’s reasons for naming something or putting a certain phrase in his lyrics. Essentially he plucks words out of the air or off a poster, and hang the meaning. Just be thankful Oasis’s stellar debut wasn’t called ‘Will This Do?’ or, um, ‘Is This It?’