Over recent posts in the past month or so, I’ve been working with the shortest one-word song titles we could think of. There was only one way I could go after that, and that was longer.
Or, in some cases, the longest. I asked my army of contributors for the longest one-word song titles they could think of, that were actual words. The results were intriguing, and I ended up picking the most interesting ten, rather than the ten longest words that featured. That said, the longest suggested – a forty-five letter word used by three different artists (at least) – did get included.
There were 112 suggestions in total (remarkably eleven of which had been used before). Out of those, there were ninety-nine unique suggestions, and forty-four people got involved and suggested songs. As ever, thanks to everyone who joined in.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me, or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
Quite possibly one of the darkest albums ever to sell over three million copies, The Cure’s majestic 1989 masterpiece included some of their greatest, most memorable singles as well as likely some of the darkest, most insular pieces they wrote, and the bass-led gloom of the title track is one of the latter. What’s remarkable is that while Robert Smith was seemingly at his lowest ebb, disillusioned with fame and using hallucinogens, he’d recently married and potentially had the life he wanted ahead of him. This song, then, maybe reflects his fears that everything might fall apart at any moment. That turned out to be unfounded, with the now veteran band having recently celebrated their fortieth anniversary, and finally respected as the trailblazers and vitally important band that they always were.
/Love Ire & Song
An ancient FT song these days (coming from the late-2000s release Love Ire & Song), and it is perhaps one of the first examples of his songs of betterment, that detail his struggles with continuing to live his life the way he chooses, while making a better man of himself and – critically – making a better place and life for those around him, too. Photosynthesis sees him specifically saying that he’ll stand up and fight, rather than staying a quiet, inactive person (i.e. photosynthesising like a plant!), and continuing to take his own path. As always, too, this song is best experienced live, like pretty much all FT songs…
/Regular Urban Survivors
One of those weird quirks of my music-loving life is that despite having listened to Terrorvision since the early nineties (How To Make Friends And Influence People being an album I still know by heart from start to finish), I’ve never seen them live. You could say that despite the perseverance of still listening to them (sorry), I’ve thus never been able to sing “Whales and dolphins, whales and dolphins, yeah!” with the crowd at a show. Anyway, one of the band’s biggest, most-loved hits, that as this interview about writing it notes, there isn’t a great deal of meaning to it. But then, why should it? Terrorvision were and are a rock band who wrote immense pop hooks, without ever taking themselves too seriously…
/Alles Wieder Offen
A wonderful word that translates as “incompleteness”, and actually, an equally wonderful song, the nine-minute epic that anchors the generally mellow Alles Wieder Offen (mellow, that is, with the notable exception of the joyous dancefloor clatter of Let’s Do It A Dada). Here Blixa appears to be cleansing himself and his mind of negative thoughts, thoughts that wake him in the night, and this song eventually drags itself into chaotic, noisy life thanks to Blixa’s vocals that gain in weight and volume across it, as if his words conjure the noise out of nothingness. Neubauten have always been (and still are), the complete band – a band as machine, chaotically improvising and finding unexpected ways to create noise and beauty, and this song does both.
/Boarding House Reach
Misophonia is a trigger reaction to specific sounds and stimuli, usually, as I understand it, a reaction to noises made by other people, and that reaction can be one of flight, or even aggression. Having heard this song – an attempt, apparently, to make annoying sounds “beautiful” – I can rather see how such noises might drive you into a rage. I certainly couldn’t make it through the three-minutes and thirty-four seconds of this. I managed seventy seconds before turning the fucking thing off.
Just the second release from the nascent Pitchshifter back in 1992, and it’s fair to say that they were still in their Godflesh period, releasing grinding, thumpingly heavy industrial metal that could, at points, feel a bit one-dimensional. That said, Deconstruction is for me the first track where their future direction starts to be signposted. A slightly faster tempo, dramatic dynamic shifts and JS Clayden’s vocals are discernable, more than ever, and I can’t help but feel that elements of this track might have been reused on Cathode, on the following Desensitized…
Outkast were never strangers to lengthy one-word songtitles (the title track to their still-great debut is Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, while SpottieOttieDopaliscious appears on Aquemini), but on their last, perhaps underwhelming album Idlewild, they actually released a song with a long, one-word title that wasn’t a made-up phrase. Chronomentrophobia is related to chronophobia (an irrational fear of time and time passing), but is a specific phobia related to timepieces (i.e. watches and clocks), and on this relatively short, laid-back track, Andre 3000 assesses his place, and how he doesn’t have the time left to do everything he wants to do…
The longest word in the English language (more about it here) is an invented word that is basically a longer version of saying silicosis, an occupational lung disease. Naturally, it has also been used in song titles by a number of artists, including the equally-ridiculously named xAxVxLxExGxBxMxAxOxFxFxFxAxSxSxSxSxIxTxIxMxIxWxOxAxMxNxDxUxTxRxOxAxBxCxWxAxPxWxAxExIxIxPxPxOxHxFxFxFx (a South African goregrind band) and Dasu (who was suggested for a number of other really long songtitles, suggesting that there’s a general pattern afoot). The most interesting suggestion, though, came for a Scottish artist by the name of Kaelin Halcrow, and on one specific EP, they created a rap EP “centred around the use of uncommon words”, and perhaps unsurprisingly, this insanely long word features on one song, but is actually – and impressively – used in context, rather than just as a headline-grabbing song title.
Phantasmagoria means “a sequence of real or imaginary images like that seen in a dream.” Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator draw us into a nightmarish situation like this on this track, a galloping, thrashing monster of a track that is entertaining from start to finish, and delivers exactly what I might expect – a fast pace, kick-ass guitar solos, dramatic vocals, a distinct nod into power metal. I don’t listen to this kind of thing too often, but maybe I should dig into more of what Annihilator were doing back then…
Interestingly, a band who released an album titled Phantasmagoria, but here, it was perhaps fitting that the last song I wrote about was the one titled Procrastination. The Damned hardly procrastinated in their early days, being the first UK punk band to release a single (beating the Sex Pistols to the punch by a matter of weeks), but here, Dave Vanian is keen to kick back and not push things too hard, doing things…later. I mean, Evil Spirits was their first album in a decade when it was released in 2018, even if they had been playing live in the meantime.