Sunday, 15 June 2008

E=MC² Indeed!

Do my eyes deceive me? Did I really just see that? Did I really just see that Dippy Diva Maria Carey has titled her recent album, ‘E=MC²’, thus aligning herself with a discovery by one of the most brilliant scientific minds ever to grace this earth? Is hers the most inappropriately named album of all time?

Well, maybe. The audacity is breathtaking, but it probably isn’t the worst case of naming albums in direct contradiction to the content or provider. For example, in the ‘Does What it Says on the Tin’ award category there is ‘Like A Virgin’ by Madonna to be reckoned with and indeed the later ‘Music’, so clearly there are numerous instances of this type of misrepresentation littering rock’s dubious past.

After all, I could name you a whole host of bands or artists whose ‘Best Of’ compilation could form the basis of a Trade Descriptions infringement so the problem is deeper rooted than we might first imagine. Further research reveals the existence of workaholic Phil Collins’s 1982 effort ’Hello, I Must Be Going’. If only! Not only did he not go, he stayed around for another 20-odd years bothering us with all sorts of insipid MOR fare.

There is also the case of The Beach Boys’ 1971 album, ‘Surfs Up’ foisted on a public who had known for simply ages that none of the Boys actually surfed (bar Dennis Wilson whose subsequent death by drowning still had nothing to do with falling off a funny-shaped board).

Album titles are strange concoctions being a sort of advertisement and insight to the purveyor all in one. The trouble is that it sometimes gives away more than was intended like a slipping towel on exiting the shower. It comes to light that a few confused souls are in a bit of a tizzy over their sexuality, like Susanna Hoffs’ ‘When You’re a Boy’ and Neneh Cherry’s ‘Man’, but I’m glad to report that Debbie Harry has no such doubts with her solo project, ‘Rockbird’.

Conversely, there are a number of album titles that hit the nail squarely on the head. ‘Fried’ by Julian Cope probably needs no further comment, nor does ‘Oops...I Did it Again!’ by Britney Spears so at least there is a bit of honesty in the industry to be applauded. I bet the marketing execs who came up with those two are wringing their hands now!

But the last, painfully poignant word goes to Nirvana whose ‘Nevermind’ now seems dreadfully inadequate given what happened to Kurt Cobain a few years later.

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