Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Title Tracks

A quick note about an issue I have with albums that have a title track. Well... some of them anyways.

Generally, I prefer albums with titles to self-titled ones, because they can give you a sense of what the artist was thinking when they wrote it, or an overall feel for the tone of the album. If they have cryptic lyrics, knowing this can be a real help in figuring out what the individual songs are about.

Not all titled albums have title tracks. Some are a summary of the story told within, and some are just titles ('Five Days in July' was recorded over five days in July, 'Odelay' is an English pronunciation of Spanish word Orale). On top of that, some of the title tracks therein are fantastic.

My real problem lies when the songs are not good ones. Sometimes the title track gets buried as the 13th or 14th song on the album and/or is just a piece of garbage. I was listening to this album by Los Campesinos called Romance is Boring when I thought of this. The title track came on and I thought 'this SONG is boring' and boy, is it ever. And then I was thinking, 'why would you make this the title song?' The rest of the album, while not the best thing in the world, is certainly not terrible. I understand that as a band or singer, you might have lyrics written that embody everything about the album itself, or maybe you are the type that writes your lyrics to the song. Either way, wouldn't you at some point stop and say 'hey, this is the namesake of our album, shouldn't it be a little better than this?' Add your important lyrics to a catchier or better musical composition, or swap them out with another, better song with similar phrasing.

I'm not asking for it to be the best song on the album, just that it be decent and definitely not the worst song. Also, it doesn't have to be the first song on the album, but maybe don't bury it at the end with the other last-written afterthoughts that are there to qualify it as an LP instead of an EP (not true in every LP case, might I add!)

Anyhow, that's where I stand on that issue and I'd love to hear if you have a favourite or hated title track.

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