Paul Fuzz Presents: Flew In From Miami Beach BOAC
Monday, October 15, 2007
  Beyond The White Album: Top 10 Albums Named After A Colour (But Not, Like, 'Green' by REM, It's Gotta Be A 'The (insert colour) Album' Type Title
.1. The White Album - The Beatles

AKA: The Daddy of colour coded albums. There ain't really nuffin more to say about this double LP, except that any fool who tries to lay the whole "oh, if they'd ditched some of the crap songs it woulda been a brilliant single LP" jive on you is a stone fool - the rummer ditties give the great songs (of which there are way more than on, say, Sgt Peppers) context. It's a collage. It's kaleidoscopic. It's a Fluxus art installation. As Paul McCartney himself says: "It was great, it sold - it's the bloody Beatles' 'White Album'! Shut up!"

.2. The Black Album - Jay Z

Features '99 Problems,' a Rick Rubin production, and by this writer's estimation the greatest Hip-Hop track of the Noughties. Sampling Billy Squier's 'The Big Beat,' Mountain's 'Long Red,' Ice-T's own '99 Problems' and uncredited portions of Wilson Pickett's 'Engine No 9' and - possibly - NWA's 'Straight Outta Compton', '99 Problems' represents the high watermark of Rubin's thundering, stripped down rock/rap sound, and is guaranteed to fill the dancefloor of any club. Despite claiming this would be his last LP J-Hova has of course returned to the mic, but he's yet to top the monsterous thump of '99 Problems'.

.3. The Grey Album - Danger Mouse

And whaddya get if you fuse the first two titles in our list together? You get The Grey Album, the mash-up LP which transcends the inherently gimmicky mash-up genre to become a truly great, coherent LP in its' own right, the vocals from Jay Z's 'Black Album' spat over 'White Album' Beatle Beats, to frequently astonishing ends. Pure pop-art, and sure to piss humourless so-called Beatles fans off while delighting real Fabs fanatics who recognise this as a concept Lennon at least woulda surely dug the most. Some tracks work better than others, and one could argue that it's a pretty one sided deal (the Beatles being cut and diced to fit the Jigga Man's rhymes rather than the other way around), but all this is small so much small beer when presented with the LP as a whole. The 99 Problems / Helter Skelter mix is a slam dunk, and the Encore / Glass Onion mix (check this brilliant mash-up video at youtube, featuring a breakdancing Lennon) is as groovy as they come. We all knew that Ringo was a funky muvva.

.4. The Pink Album - Tuscadero

One of the all-time shoulda-been-huge 90s bands, Washington DC's two girls / two boys Tuscadero (after 'Happy Days' leather bound hottie Pinkie Tuscadero) were indie-bubblegum-poppers par excellence, dealing in a hook heavy, girl-group informed trash racket unburdened of the cynicism of grunge or the sloganeering of Riot Grrrl. With goofy lyrics about boardgames, candy and Nancy Drew, the whole lip gloss and milkshakes thing might be sorta twee if the vibe weren't so damn infectious and, dammit, straight up cool. Guaranteed to give you a sugar rush like two bowls of Fruit Loops.

.5. The Yellow Album - The Simpsons

Seeing as The Simpsons reference The Beatles almost as frequently as it references Star Wars (in one instance dedicating an entire episode - 'Homers Barbershop Quartet - to a pastiche Beatles history), it makes sense that their second LP should be titled in their honour, and bare Sgt Pepper's aping cover art. While not in the league of 'Songs In The Key Of Spingfield', 'The Yellow Album' contains its' fair share of killer material, the highlights being Barts' 'Love' and Apu's '24 Hours A Day'. (Note: there's another cartoon 'Yellow Album' by Spongebob Squarepants. AVOID.)

.6. The Black Album - Spinal Tap

Nigel Tufnel: "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

.7. The Off-White Album - Dennis Miller

With a title like that it's gotta be a comedy album, and sure enough that's exactly what it is. Released in 1988, 'The Off-White Album' captures Saturday Night Live alumini Dennis Miller on top form before he had turned into an obnoxious, ranting, right wing reactionary, and stopped being, y'know, funny. Dated somewhat by the source material, but packed with some really great gags (some about 'Smokey & The Bandit', brilliantly) this is a fine late 80s US standup LP, the reputation of which has suffered somewhat due to Miller now being a Bush supporting Republican jackass.

.8. The Blue Album - Weezer

Like The Fab's 'White Album', geek rocking Weezer's debut has become popularly referred to by it's primary sleeve colour as a consequence of it being an untitled / self titled ('Weezer' by Weezer) LP. Some come-as-absolutely-no-surprise-when-you-learn-them facts about this album: it was produced by new-wave legend Ric Ocasek from The Cars, the 'Happy Days' video for 'Buddy Holly' was directed by Spike Jonze, and the song "In The Garage" includes classic mid-90s slacker references to KISS and The X Men. Of course it does. Of it's type, a wonderful album, since co-opted by alt. rock kids as a key proto-Emo LP.

.9. The Red Album - Manchester United FC

Subtitle: "A Mancunian Fantasy," though perhaps 'nightmare' might be more accurate. Featuring the hits: "Cantona Superstar" by Her! "Ryan Giggs We Love You" by The Rainbow Choir! And many (Brian) Moore! From what I can glean (which ain't much) this is a 1993 LP which includes a mixture of spoken word from the likes of Bill Shankley, Bobby Charlton etc and a buncha random pop tunes with a Red theme, from the inevitable 'Belfast Boy' (a cover by 'Chocolate Barry' - any ideas?) to Manchester United Calypso by Edric Connor. Sounds like an 'own goal' to me. Ha ha.

.10. The Blue Album - The Beatles

And we'll finish back where we came in, with der Fabs. This choice suggests a debate all of it's own; The Beatles 'Red Album' collects the best (?) of their work released between 1962 and 1966, The Beatles 'Blue Album' gathers together their 1967-1970 output. The question, therefore, is: are you an early period (Red) Beatles fan, or a late period (Blue) Beatles fan? I'm gonna nail my blue flag to the post and go 67-70, for Strawberry Fields Forever, Come Together, I Am The Walrus, Don't Let Me Down and The Ballad Of John & Yoko, but I ain't gonna argue with anyone who'd plump for their early stuff.

With Red, White and Blue Albums to their name, The Beatles are the sho ' nuff masters of The (insert colour) Album, but who else has released awesome LPs in this micro-genre? I know that I've missed a bunch off this list (including a major heavy metal debut), so howsabout you make a few suggestions of your own. Come on guys, "Colour Me Bad!" (Sorry.)
How's this for your number 11 - The Black and White Album by The Hives.Great idea for a post by the way.
Mama Waits
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IN GLORIOUS 3D FUZZ-O-VISION! A journey through the psychedelic world of cult movies, obsessive record collecting and pop-culture ephemera of all kinds. The Fuzziness is baked right in.

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