When Bands Sing Their Own Names

Just like when a character in a movie speaks that movie’s title, I often apply special significance to it when a song’s lyrics include the band’s name. Ego? Self-confidence? Self-promotion? You decide. Here are some examples–and please mention in the comments if there are other ones you like.

1.  AFI’s 1997 album Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes begins with “Keeping Out of Direct Sunlight (an introduction)…” “We are the ones who have a fire inside…”

2.  A Perfect Circle’s “Orestes” can be found on Maynard and company’s first album, 2000’s Mer de Noms.

3. Exodus’ “Exodus” can be found on the 1985 thrash classic Bonded by Blood. It contains promises of violence from the band to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUoBDy4HBDA

4. “P.L.U.C.K.” is the powerful closing track from System of a Down’s 1998 self-titled debut album. Slightly NSFW lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXwLxcSniGw

5.  The chorus of Nirvana’s “Paper Cuts” from 1989’s Bleach includes repetition of the band’s name. I’m pretty sure Kurt’s pronunciation of the word was incorrect, but these are the types of things I need to learn to move past.

6.  Counting Crows’ “Murder of One,” from August and Everything After, not only includes the two words, but also the poem they refer to.

7.  “Bad Religion” is not only a song, but also “high speed tough guys,” apparently.

8.  Iron Maiden: a torture device, a band, an album, and a song.

16 thoughts on “When Bands Sing Their Own Names

  • February 19, 2015 at 8:33 am
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    Fight for your right, beastie boys

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  • February 19, 2015 at 8:51 am
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    The Clash: Clash City Rockers. I won’t mention We Are The Clash from Cut the Crap (because it was)

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  • February 19, 2015 at 8:53 am
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    The Hold Steady reference more the phrase ‘Hold Steady’ then themselves in a number of songs. ‘A Positve Jam’ , ‘Knuckles’, ‘Most People Are DJ’s’ are a few. They are the best band ever!

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  • February 19, 2015 at 8:56 am
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    Pick almost any song from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The blues is No. 1!

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  • February 19, 2015 at 9:51 am
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    I will nearly always give a pass to a band’s name appearing in a lyric when it could stand on its own as a lyric if the band had a different name (the Counting Crows song is a perfect example$, but I find it almost cringe-worthy when a lyric is explicitly a self-reference. The worst offender I can think of is “we’lol never stop, we’ll never rest, ’cause we are Metallica!” from “Hit the Lights”.

    I’m also fascinated when a band has a song with the band name as the title. “They Might be Giants” is my favourite, and it’s a delightful song that can be interpreted as self-referential, or not, depending on how you look at it. And does anyone else remember the one-hit wonder “Living in a Box” by Living in a Box?

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  • February 19, 2015 at 10:38 am
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    Everybody Wang Chung tonight……

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  • February 19, 2015 at 10:39 am
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    And The Escape Club (Wild Wild West). Beginning to think this was popular among lousy 80s pop bands.

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  • February 19, 2015 at 10:54 am
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    I think you need to exclude Rap and Hip Hop from the discussion since its so narcissistic in the first place.

    We can give the Beastie Boys a pass if you buy the argument that Fight for Your Right to Party is a parody. I’m not totally convinced of that given that other songs on the same record have such similar sentiments.

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  • February 19, 2015 at 11:42 am
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    Skid Row…Youth Gone Wild…”I tell ya Park Avenue leads to Skid Row”

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  • February 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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    “In a Big Country” by, of course, Big Country. Three marginal 80s bands and counting now,

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  • February 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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    And if you want to go back to the 1970s:

    “Bad Company”, by Bad Company, from the album “Bad Company”
    “Just Another Band out of Boston”, by Boston
    “Be My Lover”, by Alice Cooper (“She asked me why the singer’s name was Alice”)
    And do we count “Who Are You?”

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  • February 19, 2015 at 9:23 pm
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    NWA name dropped themselves in Straight Outta Compton. Full name too, not just initials.

    Every Jason derail song starts with him singing his own name. Not a band, but that makes it even more narcissistic.

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  • February 20, 2015 at 6:58 am
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    Roughly 25% of KMFDM’s songs…

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  • February 20, 2015 at 9:26 am
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    “They say I’m Tragically Hip” (live) – Grace Too

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  • February 25, 2015 at 6:20 pm
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    Proximo, Living In A Box were not a one hit wonder. They had other hits, in particular, ”Blow The House Down” and ”Room In Your Heart” They were a bl**dy good band and shame they folded. The singer Richard Darbyshire had a powerhouse voice.

    Reply

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