It is reasonable to expect that a fair amount of thought goes into naming an album. Whether a band is looking for a title that’s straight to the point, stand-out bold, clever and complicated or even plain barmy there’s usually a good reason behind labelling your record.
Maybe you’re committed to becoming a marketing man’s dream, can see your shiny title up in lights, imagine PR professionals drooling over the myriad promotional possibilities or simply want to cause a stir, there’s generally some kind of method in the midst of the naming mayhem.
Or there should be.
If your band is called …And You will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, then there’s almost an assumption that a leftfield album title will follow. If you’re called Motley Crue and you’re the kings of sleaze then calling your latest record Girls, Girls, Girls is a masterstroke. But if you’re Metallica then a chillingly blunt album by the name of Death Magnetic clearly fits the bill.
Similarly those who compile collections of rock tunes normally know what’s going to appeal to their market. The Heavy Metal Box Set does exactly what it says on the tin. Hollywood Rocks suggests hair metal at its hairiest and you can almost hear the aerosols. Mass market stuff like The Greatest Air Guitar Album In the World…Ever gets straight to the point and sells by the bucketload.
It’s not rocket science and yet every so often an album leaps out at you with the most ill-conceived title of all time and you wonder just who had the final say.
Take the following as a fantastic (in all the wrong ways) example:
This Is Peterborough
Pause, just for a moment, and revel in the utterly ridiculous title of a genuine CD released earlier this year. It does exist and can be bought in HMV Peterborough (obviously) for the princely sum of £7.
Defenders of the commuter city’s rock, punk and indie scene will argue that, as with The Heavy Metal Box Set above, this 19-track compilation does what it says on the tin. It does, indeed, feature bands from in and around the Peterborough scene. But then outside of that scene who on earth will want to waste the cost of two and a half decent pints of real ale on this compilation?
Bringing together the best of the city’s rock talent is no bad thing. But if the idea is to promote Peterborough’s finest far and wide there is surely a need to draw the unsuspecting punter into buying the CD before he or she realises what’s inside. Instead the title only serves as a stark warning of what to expect.
Calling your CD This Is Peterborough leaves far too little to the imagination and is as lazy as it is ludicrous. This Is New York, maybe. This Is London, ok. This Is Tokyo, yep. This Is Peterborough? This is possibly the worst album title of all time.