Feb 28, 2023

Ten album titles that are puns - the good, the bad and the willie

Recently, Drowned in Sound's Twitter account posed the question: Has there ever been a good song or album title containing a pun?

Let's find some kind of answer. Here are ten albums with punny titles along with my thoughts on each and every dang one of them. 

The Orb: Orblivion
Plays into the ever-pulsating galactic dramatics of The Orb. Certainty works better than "Armageddorb" or "Catastrorbphe". Undermined by their other album UF Orb which sounds like a pun but really doesn't work. In fact, it's terrible.

Sleaford Mods: UK Grim
Nottingham’s mouthiest geezers have been knocking about for yonks, but it’s only until now that they’ve concocted the perfect album title. This play on ‘UK grime’ speaks to the core of the band: rap music, British vibes, everything being crap. This is excellent pun work from the guys that gave us Tied Up In Nottz and Eton Alive.

Blink-182: Enema of the State 
Just thinking about this album title makes me empty my bowels. Which is exactly what the California rock imps wanted. Even the cover is awful, with its sexy gloved nurse. A childish embarrassment to puns everywhere. Jeez, guys, what’s your age again?

Salt-N-Pepa: A Salt with a Deadly Pepa
For a band with a wordplayed DJ in the form of Spinderella, you'd think everyone's fave condiment-themed rappers would nail a pun. Not so. The album title starts well, but like the album it runs out of ideas. "Pepa" is standing in for the word "weapon". Unless you're talking about pepper spray, this doesn't cut the mustard gas. Poor. 

The Shirehorses: Our Kid Eh
As suggested by Thomas Ragdale on Twitter. It feels like puns come with the territory with Mark & Lard's parody project, and indeed the first track on the album is If You Tolerate This Piss by the Manic Street Sweepers. What raises this above the average pun is the delightful audacity of knocking off Kid A only a mere seven months after that seminal album's release. Talk about poking sacred cows with a stick. Impressive.

Rednex: Sex & Violins
Sparks: Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins

David Bowie: Aladdin Sane
Bowie really didn’t have many options after Ziggy Stardust. He’d been to Mars, he’d invented the bisexual alter-ego as icon, he’d made a synthesiser sound like a saxophone. A-Lad-Insane is a pretty solid pun which carries all the weight of the craziness of stardom. It's a bit naff but, whisper it, Bowie often was. (Complaint letters to the usual address.)

Will Smith: Willennium
Big Willie Style is perhaps a more famous album for this freshest of princes, which is unfortunate because in UK slang this is definitely not the kind of pun you need. Willennium is Will Smith’s wild wild western era, and it feels like there were greater puns to be found here rather than this millennial mediocrity. The Good, the Bad and the Willie, maybe.

Bola: Soup
Bola: Fyuti
Bola: Gnayse
Bola: Kroungrine
Bola: DEG
I had to include Manchester’s downtempo maestro in this listing. The albums listed here are puns on a bowl of soup, a footballer, bolognese, crown green bowler, and boiled egg. This should be awful, but Bola somehow managed all this while maintaining his creative integrity. Quite frankly, I’m Bola-d over.

Phats & Small: Now Phats What I Small Music
Sometimes you don’t know whether something is absolute genius or the worst thing ever invented, like Marmite or crocs or the jelly toaster. I may have made that last one up. The jury is still out on the title of Phats & Small’s debut album. Considering the album is only ten tracks long and Turn Around features twice, let’s not lose any sleep over it.

Punning album titles are still all the rage, as evidenced by the title of Orbital's brand new album Optical Delusion. Which punning album titles impress you? Which make you feel all Blink 182ed? Let me know on Twitter.