Discussion: Worst Album Titles?

We don’t do as many discussions as we used to at CU, and it’s possible that we already did this one. But seeing the title of this week’s #1 country album, I couldn’t resist:

Jerrod Niemann, Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury

I’d call it juvenile, but I don’t think I would’ve laughed as a kid, either. But I’m sure some people found it funny.

Here are a few others that make me wince:

Pam Tillis, Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey

I. Don’t. Get. It.  “(You Just Want to Be) Weird”, indeed.

Cross Canadian Ragweed, Soul Gravy

Oh, yeah? But where are the lumps? Ha ha!  Oh, no…

Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul II

Though it would go from worst to first if she’d called it  Mountain Soul II: Bluegrass Boogaloo.

Carlene Carter, Blue Nun

Why is the nun so sad? Or choking? Or a smurf?

Those are some of my favorite bad album titles. What are some of yours?

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31 Comments

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31 Responses to Discussion: Worst Album Titles?

  1. I’ve never liked it when artists titled any album of theirs (with the exception of their debut one) by their name. (ie: Martina, LeAnn Rimes, Mindy McCready, Reba, and so on) For the reason that I feel that artists could be a whole lot more creative with an album title rather than slapping their name on it. And the reason I prefer name titled albums to be their debut ones is because it is an introduction to the artist and therefore having their name on it makes sense to me.

    I was never partial to Reba’s and B&D’s If You See Him And If You See Her album titles, since they didn’t really make sense with regards to the content (although I know they were titled mostly for the promotion aspect). And they are pretty stupid album titles if you ask me. (IMHO)

    I like artists who take a spin on their names for their album titles (IE: The Whole SHeBANG), or at least are creative with them or they are reflective of the album content (For My Broken Heart (McEntire), Stones In The Road (Carpenter), HHPOL (Yearwood), and so on).

    Reba’s Sweet Sixteen title really doesn’t hit me well, (though I know it was called that because it was her 16th album), it still doesn’t sit right with me.

  2. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    My choice in this area, and it pains me a bit (but only a bit, even though she is a favorite), is SILK PURSE, the title of Linda Ronstadt’s only Nashville album, released in 1970. It’s a pun on the old saying that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Granted, the cover does have Linda cavorting in a barnyard with its porcine occupants, so at least the album isn’t totally false in its advertising. But it’s not an album she’s proud of; she’s all but disowned it…save for the impassioned, aching hit she had off of it, “Long Long Time.”

  3. KentNo Gravatar

    I don’t like it when artist use their latest single as an album name. A single should only be used as an album title if it truly encapsulates the theme of the album.

    Example: Josh Gracin’s second album was originally going to be titled All About Y’All. The release date was pushed ahead, and they planned to call it I Keep Coming Back when the single of the same name was release. The album release got postponed again, and it was finally released as We Weren’t Crazy, when the song started doing well. That’s a no no in my books.

  4. I know it’s blasphemy to nitpick The Man in Black, but “The Fabulous Johnny Cash” makes me chuckle every time I hear it. Maybe it’s just from the overuse of the word in “Sex in the City,” but “fabulous” just doesn’t fit Johnny Cash in my mind.

    I’ve always been on the fence about Toby Keith’s “Shock’n Y’all.” On one hand, it’s just a bit too…cute, I guess. On the other hand, it really did sort of reflect his place in the politics of country music at the time of the album’s release, so it’s an interesting sort of time capsule.

    Totally off topic, but I’ll always have fond memories of buying that album before I went to vote that morning, playing “I Love This Bar” as I pulled into the parking lot. This was amusing to me because my county put alcohol on the ballot that year, and we went from dry to moist.

    I don’t mind eponymous album titles, but I think it’s an outright act of laziness when an artist releases a “Greatest Hits” package without any kind of subtitle. Not only does it demonstrate (to me) a complete lack of creativity, but it makes organizing my iPod aggravating!

  5. KNo Gravatar

    “I don’t like it when artist use their latest single as an album name. A single should only be used as an album title if it truly encapsulates the theme of the album.”

    Agree. I don’t mind when artists use a song off the album as a tittle, but it’s just lazy to do that simply because the song was a huge hit.

    A distinct example that comes to mind is Kellie Pickler’s choice to name her first album “Small Town Girl,” and then chose to use her name as a tittle for her second album.

    Kellie fully refelected the artist she protrayed during Idol-but after she chose to use “Kellie Pickler”, it meant that she did so because she felt using her name truly showed her coming out as an artist, and it wasn’t just a show of unprovoked effort.

    I love it when artists use a line from a song that wraps up the purpose of the album in a creative way; Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride comes to mind, especially because it neatly explained the direction of album and how Carrie felt about her journey as an artist up to that point.

  6. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Time* Sex* Love*” – short for “Time is the great gift – sex is the great equalizer – love is the great mystery” – I think that’s just a little over the top.

    While I’ve definitely heard of worse titles than Tim McGraw’s “Set This Circuis Down,” I’m going to mention that one just because there were so many other songs on that album that would have made better titles. I would have named that album “The Cowboy In Me” or “Unbroken” probably.

    LeAnn Rimes, “Family” – Great album, boring title

    Trace Adkins, “X”, Joe Nichols, “III” – numbers don’t work in my book.

    Taylor Swift, “Fearless” – It was a good title when Terri Clark used it, but once is enough. Possible alternative: “Love Story,” “White Horse.” It’s also funny that three songs from the album shared titles with past country hits – “Breathe” (Faith Hill), “The Best Day” (George Strait), and “Tell Me Why” (Wynonna).

  7. highwayman3No Gravatar

    Lorrie Morgan’s ‘War Paint’ comes to mind. I know its a song on the album, but to name it after something that’s applied to the face or body in preparation for a battle doesn’t make me want to go out and buy it.

    I guess I don’t like it when people title their albums as Roman Numerals as well. Like Joe Nichol’s – III
    If his core audience was Roman I’d understand and I get it’s his third album but it wouldn’t hurt to be more creative.

  8. Michael A.No Gravatar

    Fun topic. I’ll need to think about it for awhile but I can say that not a lot of those mentioned bother me. I don’t mind epononymous, Greatest Hits or roman numeral album titles.

    I even kind of like Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey.

    Travis, The Fabulous Johnny Cash? Hah! :)

  9. Michael A.No Gravatar

    I do like when a lyric is chosen from a song instead of the song title or when it’s slightly altered to make a better album title.

    Also regarding self-titled albums, George Strait released one in 2000 and even that didn’t bother me.

  10. Michael A.No Gravatar

    Sorry for the third comment in only a few minutes, but I’ve done my thinking after looking at my CD collection. I also realize how strange many of my reasons are, but here goes anyway.

    Worst:
    Brooks & Dunn – Hillbilly Deluxe
    Garth – Oh, jeez, um, No Fences, Ropin’ the Wind, In Pieces, Fresh Horses, Sevens, Scarecrow
    Suzy Bogguss – Nobody Love, Nobody Get Hurt (I realize that’s the name of the song, but it’s awkward.)
    Vince Gill – Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye (Too long and boring. I also don’t like I’s, You’s, and We’s. The whole first person thing is a little strange in an album title.)
    Faith Hill – Cry (I don’t like album titles with a sad or negative tone.)
    Kathy Mattea – Walking Away a Winner (Unfortunately it was kind of the end of her hitmaking days at radio.)
    Darryl Worley – Have You Forgotten (I don’t actually own this album but naming it after the song was such an obvious ploy to grab impulse shoppers who like the song. I don’t think it was representative of the album as a whole.)
    Pam Tillis – Sweetheart’s Dance (I know I’m strange but I don’t know what it is. The apostrophe? The fact that it’s a contraction?)
    Dwight Yoakam – Tomorrow’s Sounds Today
    George Strait – Honkytonkville, Always Never the Same
    Reba’s had a lot that I don’t like too. I usually like the song but not as an album title i.e. Whoever’s In New England

    Best:
    Shania Twain – The Woman In Me
    MCC – Come On Come On
    AKUS – Lonely Runs Both Ways (Kind of ambiguous but there’s a poetic quality to it.)
    Martina McBride – Waking Up Laughing (A little awkward but I like the idea of it.)
    Sawyer Brown – Outskirts of Town
    Bobbie Cryner – Girl of Your Dreams
    Dwight Yoakam – Under the Covers
    Patty Loveless – When Fallen Angels Fly
    Emmylou Harris – Spyboy
    Pam Tillis – Rhinestoned
    George Strait – Easy Come, Easy Go

    A lot of times the artwork can make me either love or hate the title too.

  11. @Ben Foster – I thought “Set This Circus Down” was a perfect title for that album. Consider that, at the time of its release, he’d just gone through the legal ordeal with Kenny Chesney over that police horse in Buffalo. Throw in the hectic touring schedule and demands of marriage, young kids to raise and being in the spotlight constantly and I can see where the guy really just felt like his life had become a circus. Plus, I absolutely LOVE the cover painting for that album; it’s actually the reason I impulsively bought it…despite never really liking McGraw’s music before.

    @Michael A. – Agreed on “Hillbilly Deluxe.” I didn’t care for the title when Dwight Yoakam used it, either. It’s easily B&D’s weakest album next to “Tight Rope,” and I don’t know who thought up the album art, trying to conflate the honky tonkers with urban life, but someone should have insisted on another idea. I still love “Play Something Country,” though I agree with a friend of mine who insists it should have been recorded by John Anderson.

    I always liked that Garth Brooks was the one artist who *didn’t* just title his albums after the lead single. In fact, none of his album titles come from song titles. You can debate whether they’re “good” or “bad” titles, but I think you’ve got to at least give the guy credit for putting some thought into them.

    Also, Darryl Worley’s “Have You Forgotten” was a compilation of songs from his first two albums thrown together quickly to include the title song. In that regard, it was the perfect title for the very reason you suggest: it *was* a shameless cash-in release.

    As for Pam Tillis’s “Sweetheart’s Dance,” I don’t see the apostrophe as a contraction, but rather possessive. It should probably have been “Sweethearts’s Dance,” but then I’m entirely unfamiliar with this release so I don’t know the context.

    I did like “Tomorrow’s Sounds Today” as a title, and as an album, but the one problem I would cite with it is that it’s not really a very progressive sounding album. It sounds like what we’d come to expect from Dwight by 2000, which isn’t a bad thing…but it doesn’t smack of “Tomorrow.”

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  13. claudiaNo Gravatar

    Loved Radney Foster’s “Del Rio Texas 1959″ and a compliation of early Reba songs, “Oklahoma Girl”. Great titles that really sum up the artist and the material. And although it’s my favorite Brooks and Dunn album…”Steers And Stripes”? Ehhh.

  14. Barry MazorNo Gravatar

    About Carlene’s title: A reminder that “Blue Nun” was a popular wine brand at the time. You can still buy it, but rarely hear about it.

  15. NicolasNo Gravatar

    I’m not a fan of the self-titled albums, but other than that I can’t think of any bad titles from albums I own, aside from the lack of creativity in self-titling it.

  16. TomNo Gravatar

    …katie armiger’s new album title “confessions of a nice girl” makes a truly nice girl sound rather boring. then again, it was chosen by her fans – with fans like that you don’t need foes anymore.

  17. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    THE FABULOUS JOHNNY CASH was released in the mid 1950s before the public had completely denuded words like “fabulous”, “fantastic” and “amazing” of any discernable meaning.

    There aren’t that many really terrible album titles but there are many great ones. Three that come to mind: COOL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT (The Cornell Hurd Band), OLDER BUT NO WISER (The Clancy Brothers, the premier Irish folk balladeers) and ROGER AND OUT (the original title of Roger Miller’s DANG ME album, which was renamed when “Dang Me” unexpectedly became a huge hit)

  18. @Paul W Dennis – I’m perfectly aware of the era in which “The Fabulous Johnny Cash” was named and released and that the word’s place in society has changed since then. I still think it’s a laughable title, and Cash himself recalled his reaction to being asked what the title of the album would be: “Try answering, without a shred of ego, ‘It’s called The Fabulous Johnny Cash’.” I figure if The Man in Black can chuckle about it, so can I.

  19. bllNo Gravatar

    Actually anyone who has worked cattle or been around cowboys/rodeo completely ‘got’ Garth’s No Fences (driving on the open range, no boudries), Ropin’ the Wind (missed the calf, or longing for something you can’t have) and Fresh Horses (changing out mounts on a long drive, renewing your energy) as they are all terms familiar to a cowboy. I thought the titles were pretty clever myself.

  20. bllNo Gravatar

    boudries= boundries..ugh!

  21. JoshNo Gravatar

    “Pam Tillis, Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey”…I believe she’s paraphrasing literally the “Above and beyond the Call of Duty”. Hope this helps your befuddled mind, regardless if it makes sense or not.

  22. @bill – I thought “In Pieces” was an appropriate title for that album, since just about every song has a distinctively different aesthetic. “Ain’t Going Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)” is loud and fast arena rock; “Kickin’ and Screamin’” has a blues vibe; “One Night a Day” has a jazz feel; “The Cowboy Song” is something out of old school country & western; so on.

    “The Chase” and “Scarecrow” never did a lot for me as albums, or as titles, though. (And yes, I’m aware that the title and cover photo for “Scarecrow” were done as a nod toward a Mellencamp album.)

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  24. Lee Kernaghan’s “Hat Town” – I still shudder.

  25. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    I found some of these titles inherently amusing, and some amusing because of the comments you attached to them, Kevin. “Mountain Soul II, Bluegrass Boogaloo” is an example of the latter. I gotta admit, that made me laugh..

    I think the title “Mountain Soul” perfectly and succinctly reflected the contents of the orignal project. But adding a “II” for the follow up was a little unimaginative, although I do like the continuity it conveys.

    Then there’s Brad Paisley’s “Part II.” At least Patty put some Mountain SOUL in the title of her wonderful, most recent record. ;)

  26. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    “I’d call it juvenile, but I don’t think I would’ve laughed as a kid, either. But I’m sure some people found it funny.”

    *Raises hand shamefully*

    Partially I like it because it’s very in keeping with the stupid/silly nature of the album itself, which I’m hoping to review soon here.

  27. bllNo Gravatar

    (And yes, I’m aware that the title and cover photo for “Scarecrow” were done as a nod toward a Mellencamp album.)

    @travis -

    No actually the cd was made at a time in his life when he was going through a lot (death of his mum, divorce) and his youngest daughter suggested he was acting like the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. He said it was a wake up to him to get through the grief he was going through and he picked the title to remind him he wasn’t as big a failure as he felt.

  28. Jerrod’s tile also comes from the fact that when deciding to record the album while with his band in the bus (or ‘stalker van’ as Jerrod called it), the band all had ideas and a band member said “Man we’re nothin’ but a hung jury.” Then they did laugh, but it was a middle of the night conversation when even the silliest of things seem funnier…

    As for titles, I like when artists name their albums after something that Isn’t an album title.

  29. @bill – The title may have originated with his daughter’s remarks, but I defy anyone to look at Mellencamp’s “Scarecrow” album and tell me Garth’s album photo wasn’t conscious of it.

    While we’re on the subject, I was greatly disappointed in that album. I expected something much, much darker than the final product. He’d talked about it for a while as though it was one bad night away from amounting to a suicide note, and yet the album’s darkest track is probably “The Storm,” which is still several shades away from reaching the depths of, say, “I Don’t Have to Wonder” from the previous album.

    I’m not saying I want to see anyone in severe agony, so much as just I was under the impression that was the kind of album it would be.

  30. LindaNo Gravatar

    I absolutely hate self-titled albums, especially if it’s their debut album. It’s so cliche. Try something different, people!

    The Doll of Cutey one sounds really stupid.

  31. TimothyNo Gravatar

    Favorite titles:

    1. KT Oslin “Love in a Small Town”
    Every song on the CD is a story about love in a small town, how appropriate.

    2. Trisha Yearwood “Hearts in Armor”
    Classy yet heartfelt.

    3. Garth Brooks “Ropin’ the Wind”
    Country yet boundless as the songs are.

    4. Carlene Carter “Little Acts of Treason”

    5. Lee Greenwood “A Perfect 10″
    10 cuts, 10 duet partners, 10 beautiful ladies, 10 good songs.

    6. George Strait “Chill of an Early Fall”
    Picturesque, sentimental, poetic, and romantically sad.

    7. Suzy Bogguss “Aces”

    8. Dolly Parton “Eagle When She Flies”

    9. KT Oslin “Songs from an Aging Sex Bomb”
    Humorous yet so true.

    10. Dwight Yoakam “Just Lookin’ for a Hit”
    What a title for a greatest hits package!

    Boring Titles

    1. Travis Tritt “The Storm”
    2. LeAnn Rimes “Family”
    3. John Anderson “Solid Ground”
    4. Tayor Swift “Fearless”
    5. George Strait “Holding My Own”
    6. Ronnie Milsap “My Life”
    7. Rascal Flatts “Me and My Gang”
    8. Lady Antebellum “Need You Now”
    9. Jewel “Sweet and Wild”
    10. Reba “Reba Duets”

    Titles that Promise Too Much

    1. Wynonna “Revelation”
    Good album but not really a revelation.

    2. David Lee Murphy “Out with a Bang”
    Not really was the album received with a bang.

    3. Martina McBride “Shine”
    Not every song did shine.

    4. Alan Jackson “Good Time”

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