Album titles can be the most annoying or marvelous aspect of an artist's work. Judging by Goo, Sonic Youth's 1990 major-label breakthrough, or Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon's 2007 retro-pop smash, titles can be as stupid as the music is sophisticated. But if the idea is to set the recording apart from all others, choosing a bizarre (but memorable) name like Zaireeka -- as the Flaming Lips did in 1997 -- isn't a bad strategy.
Upon hearing today's news that West Palm Beach experimental psychedelia outfit Weird Wives' full-length debut features a 29-word title, we got to thinking about other albums that are remembered best for being a mouthful of words. And there are plenty that zoom way past Modest Mouse's 1996 debut, This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, both in terms of length and syntax. We're talking album names that are so long that they piss off your iTunes library, they are certainly relinquished to a nickname of some sort, and they're probably complete nonsense.
Here are the ten longest album titles we could find -- each is 20 words or more, and we dare you to memorize any of them.
10. T. Rex - My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... but Now
They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows (Regal Zonophone; 1968)
This title from the glam pioneers' debut album sounds like a limerick construction to these ears, and honestly it's one of the least strange of this list. We can't say the same for "Frowning Atahuallpa (My Inca Love)," the album's closing track, which features celebrated DJ John Peel reading a fairy tale penned by T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan.
9. Devendra Banhart - Oh Me Oh My... the Way the Day Goes by the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit (Young God; 2002)
Oh... brother. This weird folkster isn't fooling anyone with the title of his second album. Although he has never been shy to pick strange titling for his songs as well ("Tit Smoking in the Temple of Artesan Mimicry" succeeds in proving that point), many of his lo-fi tracks are completely serious and beautiful. The acoustic "Pumpkin Seed" from this collection is one of his finest. Whether it is a "lovesong of the Christmas spirit," we're not so sure.
8. Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today, I'm Sorry They Washed Away // No
More Stories, the World Is Grey, I'm Tired, Let's Wash Away (Sony; 2009)
The title comes from the lyrics for Danish rock group's song "Hawaii Dream." The piano-based ditty itself is only two minutes long, sweet and quiet, and arguably would have been a much more evocative name for their fifth album than what they settled on.
7. Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies - Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One
Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will
Lead Us All to Happiness (Fierce Panda; 2004)
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This English postrock act just seems to be pretty verbose all around. Look no further than "A Little Late He Staggered Through the Door and Into Her Eyes" from this collection. Clocking in at 6:08, it is the shortest song on the EP.
6. Cap'n Jazz - Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports, Cards in the Spokes, Automatic Biographies, Kites, Kung Fu, Trophies, Banana
Peels We've Slipped On and Egg Shells We've Tippy Toed Over (Man With
The album known to fans as Shmap'n Shmazz was the only full-length the influential Chicago emo act Cap'n Jazz ever released before it broke up. And really, how would you top this extended stream-of-consciousness? Dudes from the band went on to be in Promise Ring, Joan of Arc, Owls, and several other bands with much more reasonable titles.
5. Weird Wives - Some Motherfuckers Gonna Be Walking 'Round With a Size 9 Diehard Up
Their Ass, Cause Apparently They Ain't Never Seen a Short AC Man Get Bad
Ass on Methadone (West Palm Beotch; 2011)
After a series of wild EPs featuring shades of punk and Prince covers, Weird Wives -- which features current and former members of the local indie rock group Surfer Blood -- unleashes its first full-length cassette October 7 as part of an album-release extravaganza hosted by West Palm Beotch Recordings at Snooze Theatre in Lake Park (details below). Judging by the polarizing effect this band has already had on the local scene, this title (assuming it's real) is bound to provoke just as many strong reactions.
4. Marnie Stern - This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and
He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That (Kill Rock Stars;
Credit guitar goddess Marnie Stern for at least selecting very short words for her exceedingly lengthily titled second album. Do not disregard the sonic firepower of "The Crippled Jazzer." Stern totally blows the Strokes' 2001 debut Is This It out of the water in terms of determining what "It" is and credits Zen thinker Alan Watts for inspiring the title. Be warned: After this point in the list, things really start to get unruly.
3. Fiona Apple - When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You'll Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You Know That You're Right (Epic; 1999)
Eccentricity does not begin to describe songstress Fiona Apple, who decided to name her second album after a poem she wrote when she was pissed about a Spin article about her. Hopefully she felt better about having done this, because she's the only one.
2. Soulwax - Most of the remixes we've made for other people over the years
except for the one for Einstürzende Neubauten because we lost it and a
few we didn't think sounded good enough or just didn't fit in
length-wise, but including some that are hard to find because either
people forgot about them or simply because they haven't been released
yet, a few we really love, one we think is just ok, some we did for
free, some we did for money, some for ourselves without permission and
some for friends as swaps but never on time and always at our studio in
Ghent. (101 Distribution; 2007)
This is not really an album title, is it? The
British Belgian remix crew got especially cheeky in a very unappreciated fashion on this otherwise acceptable collections of their versions of songs by DJ Shadow, LCD Soundsystem, Lords of Acid, and Daft Punk. Yawn.
1. Chumbawamba - The Boy Bands Have Won, and All the Copyists and the Tribute Bands
and the TV Talent Show Producers Have Won, If We Allow Our Culture to Be
Shaped by Mimicry, Whether From Lack of Ideas or From Exaggerated
Respect. You Should Never Try to Freeze Culture. What You Can Do Is
Recycle That Culture. Take Your Older Brother's Hand-Me-Down Jacket and
Re-Style It, Re-Fashion It to the Point Where It Becomes Your Own. But
Don't Just Regurgitate Creative History, or Hold Art and Music and
Literature as Fixed, Untouchable and Kept Under Glass. The People Who
Try to 'Guard' Any Particular Form of Music Are, Like the Copyists and
Manufactured Bands, Doing It the Worst Disservice, Because the Only
Thing That You Can Do to Music That Will Damage It Is Not Change It, Not
Make It Your Own. Because Then It Dies, Then It's Over, Then It's Done,
and the Boy Bands Have Won. (No Masters; 2008)
They did it. Chumbawamba came up with something more asinine than "Tubthumping." And the TLDR part of your brain probably took over before getting past the first line. Good grief.
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Get a copy of Weird Wives' debut cassette, which probably seems like it has a completely reasonable title by now, at this show:
Weird Wives' CD-Release Show. With Russian Tsarlag, Haves & Thirds, Love Handles, and Universal Expansion. 7 p.m. Friday, October 7, at Snooze Theatre, 798 Tenth St., Lake Park. Tickets cost $5. Click here.