An exploration inspired by the new Lana Del Rey album announcement
Molly Marsh
20:32 8th December 2022

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Earlier this week, Lana Del Rey revealed the title of her next studio album – Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. Lana is no stranger to lengthy song titles, with her 2019 single ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it’ sticking out as a particular offender, but she’s never been quite so bold with an album name before. Aside from its ungrammatical lack of a question mark, I quite like it as a title, though it did make me chuckle that she’s chosen to abbreviate ‘boulevard’, as if snappiness was somehow her goal.

Lana’s lengthy title got us at Gigwise thinking about some other times musicians have released studio albums with chunky titles – and a few times when they did the opposite. Strap in and prepare some pretentiousness!

1.Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent – Lewis Capaldi

Kicking us off is the debut full-length by Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi, whose title may not be as long as some of the others in the list but nevertheless gets my back up anyway. I resent Capaldi’s humble-braggy use of the phrase ‘divinely uninspired’, but what really irks me is that it’s the sort of title that he himself would readily mock. Having appeared to have fully embraced his role as the music industry’s class clown, I’m just not sure the Glaswegian crooner can get away with being this verbose.


By the time Billie Eilish released her debut record WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, far too many artists had already opted for all-lowercase album titles in attempts at quirkiness. So to stay quirky, Eilish had to do something drastic – and fast. So she did the unthinkable, and stylised her album title in all-uppercase! And then she made it nice and long for good measure.

3. I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it – The 1975

Never ones to shy away from obnoxiousness, Matty Healy and co. have a long history with long titles, with their third and fourth albums being called A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships and Notes on a Conditional Form respectively. A Brief Inquiry’s title literally has a spelling mistake in it (it should surely be ‘enquiry’?!) and I remain as baffled by the phrase Notes on a Conditional Form as the day I first heard it. The band’s most ludicrous album title though is of course I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. As 1975 fans we’re forced to have a high tolerance for cringe, but this pushed many of us over the edge, despite Healy lovingly describing the title as ‘emo’ in interviews. Raw-steak-at-Madison-Square-Garden-gate was nothing compared to this.

4. When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right. – Fiona Apple

For many years, Fiona Apple held the Guinness World Record for the longest album title ever with this, the title of her sophomore record. It takes the form of a full poem, which is plastered over a portrait of Apple on the cover. In an effort not to waste years of their lives every time they mention the album, fans and critics alike have taken to dubbing it When the Pawn…

In 2012, Apple released another cumbersomely titled album - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – but by comparison, the name sounds positively punchy!

5. Most of the remixes we’ve made for other people over the years except for the one for Einstürzende Neubauten because we lost it and a few we didn’t think sounded good enough or just didn’t fit in length-wise, but including some that are hard to find because either people forgot about them or just simply because they haven’t been released yet, a few we really love, one we think is just ok, some we did for free, some we did for money, some for ourselves without permission and some for friends as swaps but never on time and always at our studio in Ghent. – Soulwax

In 2008, Apple’s Guinness World Record was snatched away from her by this, the title of a remix compilation by Belgian electronic group Soulwax. The album includes remixes of songs by the likes of LCD Soundsystem. Daft Punk, Sugababes, and Klaxons, and is long in terms of its actual duration too, with its 19 tracks adding up to 136 minutes of music. Its title may not be the most poetic title on this list, but it certainly does a good job of describing the record you’re about to listen to. If only more things so successfully did what they said on the tin.

6. The Boy Bands Have Won, and All the Copyists and the Tribute Bands and the TV Talent Show Producers Have Won, If We Allow Our Culture to Be Shaped by Mimicry, Whether From Lack of Ideas or From Exaggerated Respect. You Should Never Try to Freeze Culture. What You Can Do Is Recycle That Culture. Take Your Older Brother's Hand-Me-Down Jacket and Re-Style It, Re-Fashion It to the Point Where It Becomes Your Own. But Don't Just Regurgitate Creative History, or Hold Art and Music and Literature as Fixed, Untouchable and Kept Under Glass. The People Who Try to 'Guard' Any Particular Form of Music Are, Like the Copyists and Manufactured Bands, Doing It the Worst Disservice, Because the Only Thing That You Can Do to Music That Will Damage It Is Not Change It, Not Make It Your Own. Because Then It Dies, Then It's Over, Then It's Done, and the Boy Bands Have Won. - Chumbawumba

Soulwax’s time on the longest-album-title throne didn’t last long, because in March 2008, Chumbawumba released their thirteenth studio album, which has this 156-word, 865-character title. It’s obnoxious to say the least – and unlike the other albums listed here, seems to represent a deliberate attempt to break the world record. If you actually read the title, the whole sentiment seems a bit old-man-shouts-at-cloud, but since Chumbawumba were a highly politically engaged band still trying to break out of the shackles of a one-hit-wonder thirteen albums into their career, I’ll let them off. Sooner or later, I’m sure somebody will come along and take their Guinness World Record away from them, but I’m sure the group will cope just fine. After all, they get knocked down, but they get up again. (Okay, I’ll see myself out!)

7. Marti Pellow Sings the Hits of Wet Wet Wet and Smile – Marti Pellow

This one makes me laugh every time I read it. Due presumably to record contract complications, former Wet Wet Wet frontman Marti Pellow was forced to record this, a compilation of re-recordings of his former band’s hits alongside tracks taken from his debut solo record, Smile. I’m obsessed with the fact that the album’s title makes no attempt to disguise how transactional its production evidently was. It must have been a degrading exercise for Pellow, but he gets plenty of work in musical theatre these days, so good luck to him.

8. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends - Coldplay

I’m not sure what’s funnier here – the pretentiousness of Coldplay giving their fourth album two names like it was a Victorian novel, or the fact that they so clearly wanted to call the record ‘Death and All His Friends’, but included the name of the big single for marketability reasons. What I do respect is that the music on here fits well with the title – Viva la Vida still stands up as Coldplay’s prog-rock Magnum Opus.

Almost as pretentious as this was the title of their next effort, Mylo Xyloto. In interviews, none of the band could ever agree on what it meant.

9. ( ) – Sigur Rós

At the opposite end of the spectrum is this, an album by Icelandic band Sigur Rós. Its title or lack thereof is represented by two parentheses, and members of the band tend to refer to the record in Icelandic as ‘the brackets album’. As if all of this isn’t pretentious enough, none of the tracks have names either, with every song also being listed on the sleeve as ‘( )’. On digital platforms though, presumably for computery reasons, the tracks do have names, which is a cop out if you ask me. Commit to the bit, lads!

10. i,i – Bon Iver

Almost as ludicrously short is the title of Bon Iver’s most recent album, i,i. I like to amuse myself by calling it Justin Vernon’s ‘pirate album’ and imagining that its full title is ‘i, i, captain’. A title this obnoxious was no surprise from Vernon, whose previous album had been called 22, A Million and had contained tracks with non-alphabetical symbols in their names.

11. – Led Zeppelin

Finally, an album with no title. After their third album, Led Zeppelin III, had flopped commercially, the rock band decided to go crazy and release their fourth with no text on the sleeve. Everybody sensible advised them against doing so, warning the group that the decision would be career suicide, but they did it anyway, with no care for how ungoogleable their new record would be. Thankfully, it all turned out okay, and the nameless masterpiece turned out to become the most revered of their career. That said, it’s undeniably ironic that everybody now refers to the album as ‘Led Zeppelin IV’, therefore giving it the very name that the band wanted to avoid in the first place.

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