Sunday, February 05, 2006

Song titles

I mentioned in a previous post that "Zero Tolerance For Silence" was a very good title for an album. No doubt, it is important to choose a good title for an album, like it is important to pick up a good one for a book. However, more important than an album title is a song title. And that's specially true if you write instrumental music, since the title represents the only lyrics that you have, the only verbal content of the song. A good title must give a clue about what the song is about, preparing the listener to experience the music in the right context.

I always find it easy to find titles I like for my songs; it seems quite logical once the song has been conceived, but I like to think about them and always try to find a better one. And whenever I listen to a new song, I always want to know its title beforehand, if possible.

Jazz sensibility is not only present in the music itself, but also in the titles of some of its songs, most of which are among the best ones I have ever found in any genre. Here's a little list of my favorite song titles that I want to share with you all. Hope you like it!

- I Guess I'll Hang Out My Tears To Dry, by Dexter Gordon

- The Day You Silenced The Sea With Your Words, by Gonzalo Mico.

- A Picture Of Me Without You. Cole Porter was a great poet, and demonstrated it in every single one of his songs, from the title to the very last note.

- Poem for Eva. Bill Frisell is one of my favorite players, and this is, for me, his best song. I could not imagine it with a different title. Pure poetry, both the music and its title.

- E's Flat Ah's Flat Too. By Mingus, who loved weird (yet amazing) titles for his compositions. "Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk" is also a great one by him.

- You Are What You Is. This is not jazz, the song has lyrics (in the same style as the title), and I'm not a big Zappa fan, but this has to be here. I guess Zappa was some kind of modern Mingus, in his own style. Another one that I like is "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama".

- Last Mango In Paris. Like Zappa, Jimmy Buffet is not a jazz musician and I'm not among his fans, but his creativity with song and album titles is simply amazing. A few other examples are "Barometer Soup" or "License to Chill"

My favorite song title, however, is one found on a rather simple country tune by Mr. Guitar, the late Chet Atkins, entitled "I Still Write Your Name In The Snow". I found this in one of Chet's latest releases, "Almost alone", and felt rather dissapointed when listened to the song and discovered that it was a live performance and that people found the song funny and laughed as he was singing!! Being a long time Chet fan, and admiring the tenderness of his playing (something seldom found on guitarists), I expected maybe something more sentimental like the well-known song he dedicated to his dad,"I Still Can't Say Goodbye"... Anyway, the title still remains as my all-time favorite.

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