100 Days Project

Michael: Saving the languishing lyrical gems of modern pop

My aim is to trawl through my memory, my "record collection" and quotation references to unearth great pop poetry, drop it in, shine it up, make a comment or two as to its origin and personal impact. Enlighten? Hmm. Entertain, amuse, I hope. 100 times.

Day 6:

Got Any Gum?

A little artistic licence surely allows us to segue from lyrics into great album titles? Just for one day? Like a true anorak, I have been making a list (checking it twice) as I've gone along of the more unusual offerings that unsuspecting record companies have accepted from artists as album titles. Surely this must be the case: no record company would think they've got a smash on their hand when a band suggests, "Dear God, I Hate Myself," as a title? What are the chances of that keeping Barry Manilow's Golden Greats out of the #1 spot?

The more creative bands often end up on their own or independent labels and thus have free reign anyway, hence our image of yet another great album title from Ohio's finest Budweiser enthusiasts, Guided By Voices. "Motivational Jumpsuit." Of course. This is the band responsible for "Fast Japanese Spin Cycle" so you kinda know what's coming, at least.

There are plenty of other eclectic monikers to fill the archives: Flaming Lips, "Finally the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid" makes a very good point, (like Wayne and The Guys had been sitting around, looking at their watches, sighing) while Pete Townshend's contention that "All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes" is a notion likely to go unchallenged.

There's the directional, e.g.Bauhaus' "Press the Eject and Give Me The Tape" which, if nothing else, locks that puppy into a certain time warp; the cleverly cute, The Hasselhoff Experiment's "Out of the Sandpit and Onto the Driveway" I've always thought rather charming, as is smarty pants Edwyn Collins' "Hellbent on Compromise". Therapy? got too clever with "Suicide Pact: You First" while the world is probably grateful that The The never got a release deal for, erm, "Gun Sluts". Yep. Though it would have sat nicely alongside Sister Of Mercy's "A Slight Case of Overbombing." Considering the latter is a greatest hits comp from one of the most bombastic bands ever, one may have to give them points for some long time coming self-awareness.

The directional ones are fun, Boz Scaggs' "Down Two Then Left" (to what, Bosley?), Led Zeppelin of course came "In Through the Out Door" while trumpeter Herb Alpert found himself "North on South St". As you do. Joe Walsh was obviously just lost in general when he decided to name an album "Got any Gum?" The record company were at full rights to come back with, I dunno Joe, got any hits? Eric Clapton finally revealed his basic needs with "Money and Cigarettes" while Frank Zappa (Francis Vincent Zappa to his mum) shuts down all arguments with the perverse "Hot Rats". I don't believe it set the charts on fire, to be fair.

Whitesnake get no prizes for "Slide It In", Bon Jovi echoing the sentiment in a Kit Marlowe referencing the bard kinda way with their globe-straddling be-leather-trousered "Slippery When Wet." It's about a road sign. Yep.

The best? The simplest. Whaddya call a live album? Dunno. Maybe entitle it with the words ringing in your ears as you leave the stage (No, not, "where are the girls?"). The Man With The Horn, so to speak, and the not altogether tiny ego, nailed it with his 1982 live album: "We Want Miles."