Albums Named After the Worst Track on Them

Albums Named After the Worst Track on Them

When I was writing about my anticipation of the new Little Boots album a little while ago, I re-listened to the original, rather than just listening to some choice cuts, and realised how bad the title track, Hands, is. So, I’ve dug a little deeper into my music library to see where pop and rock history could be rewritten to make everything a little neater.

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Subject A. Little Boots’ ‘Hands’

Although the debut Boots album had many good electropop songs on it, this dodgy piano ballad lent its name to the entire album, despite sounding like a Kate Nash demo. There is no Tenori-On, some of the vocals are pretty rough and, most worryingly, the lyrics are awful. EXAMPLE:

I said ‘Why don’t you go to the clouds,
I hear they’ve got a really good laboratory up there’,
So she went up to the heavens,
About quarter past eleven,
And they said ‘Now what seems to be the problem?’

A far superior name for the album would be ‘Stuck On Repeat’, which makes far too much sense for it to be bypassed, really. It was the name of one of the best songs on the album, for sure, and just imagine having an album called Stuck on Repeat! It would make it sound like it was so good that you couldn’t help listening again and again. That’s obviously not the case, what with the dip in quality to the end, but people might have been fooled into buying more copies.

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SUBJECT B. Arcade Fire’s ‘Neon Bible’

Arcade Fire’s second album had some huge depressing indie-rock tunes on it, all the way from opening track ‘Black Mirror’ right through to organ and accordion heavy closing tracks ‘No Cars Go’ and ‘My Body is a Cage’. Yet there was one huge blip in the middle of it all, track 3, ‘Neon Bible’, a 2:17 long blip, a needless whispery interlude, which simply plodded along with its ‘ne-on-bi-ble-ne-on-bi-ble’s until a real track comes on, one with some kind of power behind it, unlike Neon Bible, which has all the power of a wind-up torch.

A good name for the album would have been ‘Intervention’, named after one of the many songs on the album better than the real title track, and typical Arcade Fire, with heavy organs and Régine’s wailing backing vocals ‘YOUR LIFE WILL FALL APART’ etc. It would have also nicely followed debut album ‘Funeral’ and be a good start to a list of albums all named after depressing family events, perhaps followed by albums 3 to 5,  ‘Divorce’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Conjugal Visit’.

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SUBJECT C. Marina and the Diamonds’ ‘The Family Jewels’

The Family Jewels being on the album depends on which album you’ve got; if you have the standard edition, the worst track is of course ‘Girls’, but if you have the iTunes version or the American version,  TFJ takes that particular biscuit. It could probably be improved as a track if it had a bit more work done to it, but it’s just Marina plonking a piano, and not in a good way, like in ‘Obsessions’. There is lots of bad rhyming, particularly in one bridge where Marina rhymes ‘it’ with ‘it’ and ‘fit’ with ‘unfit’. I understand the whole jewels/diamonds thing but I think my main problem with The Family Jewels is that as a title it is very genital. I suppose in a way it is a relief that she didn’t name the album ‘Shampain’, and ‘Oh No!’ would be as off-putting an album title as Franz Ferdinand’s ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’.

A better title for the album, from the selection presented by Miss Diamandis, would be ‘Obsessions’. I think it pretty much sums up all of the themes covered in this album, from being famous, to choosing crackers, to her obsession with America, or to her constant feeling of being an outcast. This obsessive aspect of her personality became quite clear when the album didn’t sell as much as she wanted it to and she did approximately 100 interviews complaining how crap she was and how she wanted to be a star. It is telling enough when you read an article about Marina on NME and the related articles have names such as “I worried people wouldn’t allow me to become a pop star” and “UK didn’t understand Electra Heart”, but that might just be the old NME making everything sound more dramatic than it is.

A further note: ‘I Am Not a Robot’ would be a great name for an album in today’s world of faceless, auto-tuned, disposable pop whores, but I’d rather that be saved for the next Nadia Oh album.

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SUBJECT D:  Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’.

It’s not a great song, what with it being lyrically abysmal, allegedly plagiarising and graphically overblown, but it’s definitely not the worst on the album (COUGH – HIGHWAY UNICORN). The problem was that everything about the whole album campaign and content was so fake and completely unnatural: stage name, weird  facial implants, endless wigs, motorbike body and banal, shallow, faux-emotional lyrics, that Born This Way was unbelievably far from the truth and ‘Entirely Fictitious Construct’ would have been a more fitting name. Perhaps it was ironic? But then, I don’t think anything Lady Gaga does is ironic anymore.

By far the best possible title track on the album, ignoring the obvious Scheiße jokes, would be ‘Edge of Glory’. It would perfectly express how she had come so close to being the perfect new pop star, on the edge of glory, if you will, but then royally cocked it all up.

 

Is there anything I’ve missed?

Are there any more albums where the title track is piss poor and there
is in fact a more suitable one lurking in the track listing?

 

Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 1 – Janelle Monáe

2013’s Most Anticipated Albums

For me personally, pop music in 2012 was a pretty big let down.  188.6 million singles were sold in the UK, which is a pretty hefty number, but the biggest hits of the year were Gotye’s overplayed, xylophone-bothering Somebody I Used To Know and Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy and world-uniting yet lyrically- abominable (“Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad”) Call Me Maybe, neither of which appealed to me.
In 2012 I didn’t purchase very many albums. There was Marina and the Diamonds’ Electra Heart in April, which she this week admitted was supposed to be a side project thing but her label wouldn’t allow it.
 Despite being an excellent pop album and entering the charts at No.1, it was handled pretty badly by the label (who also messed up Marina and Little Boots’ first albums) and sunk without a trace due to the wrong choice of singles and Marina’s insistence to release a non-album single, which eventually got a video after months of faffing. I’m still fairly sure How to Be a Heartbreaker still hasn’t been released officially, but nobody cares anymore.
The month of May gave us Scissor Sisters’ Magic Hour, which was a bit of a step backwards from their career high of Night Work and featured only a handful of tracks worth revisiting. When the first track was released online on 2nd January yet had its release pushed back indefinitely, it was clear something was wrong (though it may have just been Azealia Banks messing everyone about again) and the group later announced they were going on hiatus later in the year.
The third and final album that I purchased in 2013, (aside from numerous Greatest Hits albums) all of these being digitally/online, much to my guilt, what with the closing down of reliable old HMV, was Amanda Palmer’s ambitious crowd-funded Theatre is Evil, which came out in September and was well worth the optional $1 price tag. More on that here.
Those were the only albums I forked out for in 2012, so 2013 doesn’t have to do much to eclipse that. Fortunately, a host of greats have got new albums due out this year, so there’s plenty to look forward to. Here are my top 5 most anticipated of the year:

5. Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady

WARNING: Video contains audience call and response.
Estimated release date: When she feels like it
Following Janelle’s 2010 debut, The Archandroid, the lack of Suites in the new album’ title leads me to believe that she is taking a break from the Metropolis/Cindi Mayweather android concept, which may be advisable if she intends to tap into the mainstream market. Janelle featured on the third highest-selling single of 2012 in the UK, Fun’s We Are Young, but her part was so minor that it didn’t help her to become a household name, unfortunately. Hopefully it will at least give her a leg up onto some radio playlists.
When Janelle first came to my attention, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive reviews The Archandroid was receiving, she was a breath of fresh air for female pop. Appearing with her strange android love story concept album and wearing a tuxedo, she stood out from the rest of today’s pop sluts by promoting art rather than prostitution. As she sang on Sincerely, Jane, “When you take off your clothes, all your dreams go down the drain”, with much appreciated brass backing. The first track I heard from the Metropolis suites was Many Moons, with its video featuring funky footwork and the best middle-eight list of words since Vogue and We Didn’t Start The Fire. Suite II started off with an excellent handful of danceable tracks which eventually petered out and led to more orchestral numbers but this just showed off the variety of genres that Monáe meddled with: rock, pop, soul, rap, jazz, RnB etc  and showcased Janelle’s excellent musical ability, while her appearances at music festivals throughout the last few summers have shown her to be an incredible live vocalist who knows how to treat an audience, making her performances unmissable.
What can we expect?
Performances of two songs that may be due to appear on the new album have appeared on Youtube, Electric Lady and Dorothy Dandridge Eyes, with the former, the title track and first single, featuring heavy amount of brass, making for a jazzy treat. I hope Janelle manages to cut down her tracklisting this time to a manageable 10-12 tracks, more in the vein of up-tempo tracks such as Cold War and Come Alive, yet with a few of her film score-like slower tracks. I would be rather pleased if she cut out all interludes, intermissions, backwards tracks and overtures and just stuck to some excellent tuens this time, but whatever happens, she can’t go wrong with a nice load of brass, in my book.

SPOILED MILK, STALE BREAD, WELFARE, BUBONIC PLAGUE, RECORD DEAL, LIGHT BULB
Still Janelle’s best song.
What artwork can we hope for?
The artwork for The Archandroid was pretty good, what with our Jane having a big city on her head, so for The Electric Lady I don’t think it’s too much to hope for a wind farm nestled into her big Swiss roll hairdo.
What is the worst thing Janelle can do now?
It would be sad to see Janelle start advertising herself as ‘that lass off the Fun song’, as her own songs are far superior. In addition, Janelle has been a very vocal supporter of the Obama campaign recently, but I hope none of that seeps into the new record. Pop and politics should stay separated. Nobody like poplitics. Finally, Janelle will be ok as long as she doesn’t take her clothes off and start marketing herself as a sex symbol, but I don’t suppose there’s much chance of that; the tux is probably staying on.
How good does the album need to be?
An 8 out of 10 would give Janelle the push she needs.

Part 1: Janelle Monae
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots