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.)
And The Award For Most Pointless Awards Ceremony On The Music Biz Calender Goes To....
THE Q AWARDS! I mean, who cares, right? Who even knew this celeb back-slappingpalooza was happening today? (Apparently it was held at "London’s" Grosvenor House Hotel.) The thing is: what does it matter in 2007 what Q Magazine thinks about anything? Back in the mid-90s Q was a reasonably entertaining rag, well written, funny, never cool per se, but had a certain sardonic charm and as long as there was a decent interview with Noel Gallagher you were pretty happy. In 2007 Q Magazine is basically one long advert for i-tunes, lazily churning out arbitrary ALL TIME TOP 100 GREATEST ROCK SONGS YOU MUST DOWNLOAD (from i-tunes) lists, endless Dave Grohl interviews and throwing Snow Patrol albums 5 star reviews. It is the Bible Of Bland. I don't even know who it's aimed at anymore. £50 Bloke buys Uncut. Klaxons Kid buys The NME. Still Buys Vinyl..uh...Guy reads Mojo. So who reads Q Magazine? Who cares what Q Magazine thinks? And what, therefore, is the value of a Q Award? A top musician getting a Q Award is like a top chef getting a Wimpy Award.
....so, Kylie won the Q Icon Award. With all due respect to Ms Minogue, this was a cynical exploitation of her tabloid column inches grabbing potential, and nothing to do with whatever baloney they span about Kylie's post-Cancer recovery determination to re-launch her career, or, y'know, her music, which has been brilliant on occasion (Slow, Confide In Me) and deserving of recognition in it's own right. As it happens I think Kylie deserves every award going, good luck to her, rather her than the relentlessly dull Manic Street Preachers (Q Magazine stalwarts) who - yawn - won Best Track for "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough," a song which said less about 2007 than the Beaux Tapestry, or The Enemy (Best New Act), who are just plain godawful, and ugly as sin to boot.
Elsewhere, The Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Damon Albarn and Ian Brown won awards for various contributions to mainstream indie-rock, Kate Nash & Amy Winehouse picked up awards for actually producing decent pop music ( I know I'm in a minority with this Kate Nash thing, all my mates hate her, but I think she's just fine), Paul McCartney was granted 'Icon' status, because it's a rule that Paul McCartney has to win something at every Q Awards, and Muse won Best Live Act, because it's a rule that Muse win Best Live Act at every awards show, even at non-music award shows like the Booker Prize or The Kings Lynn Annual Sunflower Growing Contest. (For the record, I hate Muse.)
Finally, dig this: The Q Classic Song Award went to...'Local Boy In The Photograph'. By The Stereophonics. I mean, you gotta be kidding me. They pick one song to be The Q Classic Song every year. ONE SONG. There's millions of great songs in the world. Billions. And they choose this, an average late 90s rock song by a band who have never been any good, ever. I mean, shit, why doncha just go ahead and pick The Verve's 'Urban Hymns' as the Q Classic Album and have done with it...oh. You already have. (For the record, I love their first two LPs.) This all gives you some idea of where Q are at in 2007; they're in 1998. And nobody likes 1998. (Paul Fuzz)