03 May 2010

Music in me: longest album titles ever

Have you ever wondered what was the longest music album title ever?

Until today, I thought the record belonged to Fiona Apple. It did for a long time and was even mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records for 2001. Ladies and gentlemen, it's When the Pawn!

When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring
There's no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter, cuz you'll know that you're right.

You can also listen to it here, told by the author herself - I recommend checking it out.

Fiona Apple held the record for quite a few years, until 2007. Then came Soulwax with an album of remixes, Most of the Remixes, with a title of 552 characters:

The following year, Chumbawamba went even further, 865 characters in The Boy Bands Have Won:

I only quoted the first one, as the two others have pretty clear covers (or you can read them on the Wikipedia pages). Plus, Fiona's one is way more creative: it's a real poem with lots of rhymes, structure, and most importantly, a deep message. Soulwax's title is like a long explanation of what to except from the album, written in a very casual tone: I except more artistic value and sweat and tears in the creative process. Chumbawamba is not poetic either, but definitely does carry a message, and an interesting one, although the words "the boy bands have won" almost discouraged me from reading the rest. (Last time I listened to a boyband was when I was eleven and a friend made me a mix tape, then I totally moved on to the Spice Girls, so I don't really feel like the boy bands have won anything with me.)

Giving your album a very long title is an easy way to attract attention to it (honestly, I have never heard of Soulwax before and here I am blogging about them), but it doesn't make it automatically remarkable. To me, Fiona's one is definitely the longest great album title ever.

02 May 2010

China gymnastics 2000 medal revoked

Remember how back in 2008, I was wondering if the China olympic female gymnastics team had cheated by sending underage girls? Remember how while investigating the matter, I found that a gymnast from the 2000 team had admitted to cheating the same way?

Well, I learned recently that China's 2000 team medal got revoked! One of the gymnasts, Dong Fangxiao, was found to have falsified her age. (It's not the one I was writing about two years ago. Yang Yun is considered innocent due to lack of proof.) The team taking the spot is U.S.

Well, I'm happy. I'm not happy for the Chinese girls themselves, as they were just put in the middle of such a situation. You can't really put all the blame on a fourteen-year-old for anything: it's also the parents, the coaches, the teachers who are co-responsible. Plus, the incident doesn't change the fact that both Dong and Yang put thousands of hours into perfecting their skills. But, so did other girls, and competition should be fair: putting younger girls against older ones is not. China nor any other country should be allowed to cheat that way.

[Article, picture credit]