M.I.A. is one of the music world’s most colorful personalities, and her fashion sense, visual flair penchant for melding together disparate styles of electronic music into a rugged stew have kept her in the conversation since she first dropped her debut album Arular back in 2005. She just let the world know the title of her new album, and it’s worthy of a double-take. The record, which will hit stores in July, will be called ///Y/. Sure, it sort of spells out her name (her government moniker is Maya Arulpragasam), but it’s mostly just a bunch of slashes with a “Y” tossed in there for good measure.
In fact, it immediately ascends onto the list of these confounding album titles that are either bizarre, uncomfortable or simply unpronounceable.
Limp Bizkit, Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water
For a band whose signature song was called “Nookie,” Limp Bizkit crammed an awful lot of words into their chart-topping third album. Though everybody assumed that the phrases “chocolate starfish” and “hotdog flavored water” referenced some sort of truly heinous sex act, it was never actually clarified by Fred Durst. (It’s probably safe to assume the same of their upcoming album Gold Cobra.)
Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
Sure, it’s a loving tribute to late DMB saxophonist LeRoi Moore, but like the Bizkit album before it, Big Whiskey has way, way too many words in it. Still, like Chocolate Starfish, it managed to top the charts, proving that the lengthy name of your album doesn’t necessarily disqualify you for success.
John Frusciante, Various Albums
The former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist has floated in and out of that band for nearly two decades, and in between funky jams with Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith and Flea, he put out a steady stream of bizarre solo albums with even weirder titles. Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt is a monster of nonsense (especially considering the song title “Your P—y’s Glued to a Building on Fire”), as are Shadows Collide with People and To Record Only Water for Ten Days.
The Purple One had a bit of an identity crisis once the ’90s rolled around. His second album with the New Power Generation was titled an unpronounceable symbol — a symbol that Prince later used as a name, which is why he was known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” for a while. It’s a shame, because “Symbol” contains some great mid-period tunes like “7” and “Sexy MF,” but it’s damn-near impossible to sort.
Fiona Apple, When the Pawn…
Apple’s legendary sophomore album (which remains grotesquely underrated) was known as When the Pawn… but actually had a title that was over 400 characters long. It’s an eight line poem that Apple wrote in response to letters she read about herself in Spin magazine. She held the record for the longest album title ever recorded until 2008, when Chumbawumba (no, seriously) put out an album that had an 865 character title (perhaps one for each copy sold).
Aerosmith, Honkin’ on Bobo
Who is poor Bobo, and why are we honkin’ on him? And why did Aerosmith record a bunch of blues standards in the first place? These are the questions the Hard Rock Monks meditate on, never coming to any conclusions but getting pretty spacey in the process.
What are your favorite over-the-top album titles? Let us know in the comments!