Tuesday Ten: What’s In A Name?

By | August 19, 2014 at 6:00 PM

It’s not uncommon to see a band take their name from another artist’s lyric, but it’s less common that we actually take the time to wonder about the significance behind these choices. Sometimes the musical influence of one artist on the other is obvious; other times, the two seem to be on directly opposite sides of the musical spectrum (like how Between The Buried And Me are named after a Counting Crows lyric). So how do all these different names end up coming to represent their artist so perfectly? In this week’s Tuesday Ten, we’re exploring the connections between some of our favorite bands named after lyrics and the songs they’re titled for.

All Time Low
(New Found Glory’s “Head On Collision”)

When All Time Low first formed in 2003, the pop punk genre was riding a massive wave of commercial success. Pop punk bands enjoyed regular airplay on both Top 40 radio and MTV–a rarity nowadays–and one of these bands, New Found Glory, had just released their major label debut Sticks and Stones the year before. The last three words in the prechorus of their popular single, “Head On Collision,” was the perfect name for a brand new band in Maryland. “All Time Low” rolls right of the tongue as a name that’s memorable, easy to hear in a noisy venue, and has that slight emo edge perfect for self-deprecating pop punk bands. The first time All Time Low’s music ever graces your ears, it’s immediately obvious the enormous impact New Found Glory has had on their sound. The band institutes the same bouncy guitar riffs, relentlessly catchy melodies, and slapstick sense of humor that contributed to New Found Glory’s rise to fame. And the name choice was obviously a good omen because All Time Low have gone on to become another heavyweight in the genre, influencing new bands today as much as New Found Glory influenced them. (Catherine Yi)

(Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place”)

As much as we hate to admit it, it’s not entirely uncommon to sing the wrong lyrics to your favorite songs (and you probably do it more than you realize). But don’t be ashamed, because even your favorite rock stars have made the same mistake. Case in point: Stephen Christian of Anberlin. The band is even named after his lyric confusion. While in the midst of an infatuation with Radiohead’s Kid A, Christian was especially drawn to a word in the song “Everything In Its Right Place”. According to the history books, he was convinced the word “anberlin” was being repeated in the background of the song. But after some research, Christian came to the realization that he was mishearing the statement, and anberlin didn’t actually exist in Kid A’s lyric book (instead, he was most likely hearing things in the reversed vocal tracks). His error led him to what eventually became the name of his highly revered emo marked alt rock band, after putting it up against monikers such as Laredo and the Clamor.

While the name may have been derived from a mistake, it’s not entirely surprising that Christian would pull inspiration from a Radiohead song; the band is a clear influence on Anberlin’s sound. While the frontman and his bandmates aren’t known for anything quite as spacey as the galaxy-transcending “Everything In Its Right Place”, there are key elements in the atmosphere and emotion on the track that can be tasted on an array of Anberlin tracks. Plus, choosing a nonexistent word as a name proved to be a great call on the band’s part–it provided them with a blank canvas and the chance to define the word themselves. Although the band will call  it quits in a matter of months, the word “anberlin” will forever be associated with a killer live performance and music that has more emotion than a John Green book. (Emillie Marvel)

The Maine
(Ivory’s “Coast Of Maine”)

Though Ivory have broken up, their legacy and influence lives on, especially through The Maine. A candid line from Ivory’s self-titled EP inspired The Maine in their early days, back when the band was just starting out and didn’t have a name yet.  While covering “Coast Of Maine” during one of their first shows they picked out the lyric line and the name stuck. And it’s fitting, too. The name is simple, smooth, and fluid, much like the band’s musical style. While Ivory aren’t hugely well-known, listening to the band that inspired The Maine in their early days feels nostalgic and contemplative. In “Coast of Maine,” a  simple melody from both piano and guitar  weaves together to support Nathaniel Moon’s melancholy voice (John O’Callaghan, lead singer of The Maine, even sounds similar) for an irresistible song I can’t help but play over and over again. Ivory are no longer a band, and it’s not likely the Wisconsin-based rockers are going to reunite anytime soon, but their work won’t be forgotten thanks to The Maine. And that’s the most I could ever ask for. (Emily Yee)

Man Overboard
(blink-182’s “Man Overboard”)

It seems only fitting that the band who revived and continues to defend pop punk would have a name derived from none other than the genre’s forefathers:  blink-182. Their band name is a fairly well-known fact as many Man Overboard fans are likely  blink fans also, but we would be remiss to leave it off the list. Man Overboard pull their name from the blink-182 single “Man Overboard,” the sole studio recording off the band’s live album The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!). The fact that Man Overboard chose that particular blink-182 song as their band name instead of “Dysentery Gary” or “Dick Lips” says something about the younger band. They’ve incorporated blink’s style of accessible pop-punk while omitting the more immature parts, which has kept the comparisons between the two bands less obvious. If we’re being honest, most pop punk bands start off as blink-182 cover bands only to come in second place at the middle school Battle Of The Bands and break up by sophomore year, but Man Overboard have surpassed that rut and made a name for themselves apart from their heroes. And after seeing their continued success, we wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation of pop punklets start looking to Man Overboard songs for potential band names. (Alyssa Dempsey)

The Naked And Famous
(Tricky’s “Tricky Kid”)

There’s a saying that goes, “everybody wants to be naked and famous”. At least, that’s what trip hop artist Tricky claims in his song, “Tricky Kid”. While The Naked And Famous may have taken a more alternative road, the lyric they took their name from is a fitting critique of today’s celebrity-obsessed society. You can definitely hear that rebellious influence in their music, with lines like “trying to find the in-between” reflecting their free-spirited, upbeat rejection of mainstream style. Keyboardist Aaron Short said, “We agreed [the lyric] was very fitting for how we felt about the current music culture, and the name stuck!” It’s true. Here is a band that refuses to be bound by just one genre of music, just like Tricky himself–who blends high art and pop culture together to make his mark. Preferring to experiment at every turn, The Naked And Famous will surprise you with sudden bursts of scratchy guitars and synths that often push them from the dance floor into the realm of indie rock. Of course, there are still echoes of Tricky’s influence running through their music, with bass-heavy drum beats, odd time-signatures, and a soulful ambience you can’t help but dance along to. But instead of a spoken-word style that Tricky is known for, floating female vocals from Alisa Xayalith seek to bring in an everlasting summer vibe that captures the overall feeling  of trip hop and ushers it into the world of alternative. (Alex Bear)

Neck Deep
(Crucial Dudes’ “Boom, Roasted”)

You probably know Neck Deep by now. (If you don’t, you might be living under a rock and may want to reconsider your life decisions.) The band is getting popular fast, and not without reason. They fit into the pop punk genre–which can be so fickle–like a glove, and their music has more hooks than you can count. But where did the band name come from? The phrase is a commonly known idiom, but the name actually comes from the little-known Crucial Dudes song “Boom, Roasted” with the lyric, “Neck deep in what you couldn’t be.” Though short, the seven words act as hook and chorus for the song and proved memorable enough for the UK band to use for a name. Crucial Dudes are also a pop punk band, hailing from New Jersey with a single full length under their belt titled 61 Penn. Their music tends toward the grittier side of the genre, with spitfire vocals on the verge of shouting and a frenzy of backing percussion, while Neck Deep maintain a more melodic and clean sound. Maybe it’s the nature of this genre, maybe it’s just influence, but there are definitely similarities between Crucial Dudes and Neck Deep. They both share the simplicity that makes up the very foundation of pop punk. Straightforward lyrics, addictive guitar riffs, and vocals with varying degrees of severity add up to the kind of jams that keep you coming back for more. All in all, the name boils down to the way it sounds. Ben noted in an interview that he liked how the term was “nice and snappy” and “short.” With their music to back them up, the title is certainly a memorable one that’s sure to stay on the tip of your tongue for the foreseeable future. (Hannah Pierangelo)

Panic! At The Disco
(Name Taken’s “Panic”)

While Name Taken may have called it quits before they were able to reach the same heights as their fellow early 2000’s contemporaries, the impact they had on our scene ended up going even further than the excellent music they released while they were around. When the young members of the about-to-be-titled Panic! At The Disco were first starting out, they ended up using a particularly memorable line from the Name Taken song “Panic” to brand their wild blend of musical styles, cementing those four words in the hearts and minds of much wider audiences than the California emo band had ever been able to reach. (Interestingly, Brendon Urie and co. had initially considered  the Smiths lyric “burn down the disco” as well–a line that was also taken from a song called “Panic”.) The bands may share only vague musical similarities, with audible traces on Panic!’s first record of the early to mid-2000’s pop punk and post hardcore that Name Taken had perfected on their sole full-length Hold On and that was dominating MySpace at the same time as Panic! were blowing up on the site. But somehow, the name still fits like a glove (probably a glove that looks like this). Think about it: if you told me to imagine a bunch of panicked disco-goers not knowing what to do as a Vegas-meets-Warped-Tour spectacle rolled through the door and started jamming with the club’s house band, I would hear them playing A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. And while the band has seen countless musical reinventions in the years since that first record, their name is a nice reminder not only of their roots, but of how far they’ve come. (Eleanor Grace)

Texas Is The Reason
(The Misfits’ “Bullet”)

Appropriately ripped from a Misfits song, “Texas Is The Reason” is an ideal name to brand these New York emo rockers. Obviously the name sounds punk as hell, but its etymology takes the meaning to a whole new level of morose aggression. The name is derived from the lyric “Texas is the reason the president is dead” from the Misfits song “Bullet”, and alludes to the conspiracy that Texas Democrats assassinated John F. Kennedy in order to get Lyndon B. Johnson into the Oval Office. The band name is perfect as both an aesthetic and a message. As a punky emo band, paying homage to punk legends like the Misfits is pretty much a given, but the imagery and implication of political assassinations and the Deep South is perfectly suited for a band that wavers between the assertive roots of punk and the melancholy delivery of emo. (Ethan Rose)

Walk The Moon
(The Police’s “Walking On The Moon”)

It should be almost impossible for a band to be as fun, playful, and energetic as Ohio four-piece Walk the Moon. They manage to pull it off with a flair that’s seemingly unmatched–their live shows have themselves (and the crowd) decked out in face paint and neon colors. There’s another band who have that same sort of energy that you may be familiar with:  None other than The Police, who Walk the Moon pay homage to with their band name. In an interview with Interview Magazine they revealed their name is  taken from the Police song “Walking on the Moon.” Both bands are a little left-of-center and a little strange but still immediately accessible–making it a perfect fit. If you’re looking for a band that radiates only the best vibes, look no further than the sunshine-drenched sounds of Police-loving Walk the Moon. (Tarynn Law)

Related Content

(Un)Covered: Alejandro

May 11, 2016 | By Sam Devotta

Save The Date: Winter 2016 Edition

February 9, 2016 | By idobi Staff

Photos: All Time Low in Orlando

October 22, 2015 | By Maysa Askar