Yeah, such a clever title for a post. I’ll just go ahead and quote myself here: “Sometimes I’m so fucking predictable I can’t stand it.”
Which brings me rather nicely to the real point of this post, which is to expound on my thoughts of what it means to name something well. I’ve never been particularly good at naming things, especially things of which I am a part, such as bands (the main band I was in during high school had several awful names including but not limited to: footfalls, commonground, product, thirst, division and finally, fixture; all of these names were uncapitalized as such), or even websites (this lovely domain was itself alternatech.org at first).
But I am however incredibly particular when it comes to the names of things I consume. I could never have used a JooJooPad, even had it been a decent working product that anyone would buy, because the name is just so fucking ridiculous. When we started Alternate.org in March of 2000, Tai really wanted to make it a site like ArsTechnica, but I couldn’t bring myself to visit that site on a daily basis because I was reading a lot of Irvine Welsh at the time and “arse” in British-colony speak of course means “ass” and I just couldn’t visit a site that had “ars” in its pronunciation.
This spills over most importantly into music and bands. As I have made abundantly clear, Voxtrot is basically my favorite band of all time and yet when I was way into reading music blogs, I ignored posts regarding them at first because I felt the name was just so stupid (I’ve since gotten over that), and it kept me from checking out other bands too, notably SOUND Team (now defunct like Voxtrot) as well as my most recent bout of this selective blindness, a band that was at one point called (yes, really) “Say Hi to Your Mom.”
Now, seriously. What a stupid fucking name. I mean just awful. If I had to guess (and I usually did when I came across this band, again and again and again referred to me by friends saying I’d enjoy their music), I essentially wrote them off entirely as a pop-punk band that probably sounded very much like Fallout Boy or 30 Seconds to Mars or something like that. Why my friends would be referring me to a band that sounded like that I had no idea, but I didn’t really think about it much. When I heard “hey, you’d probably like this band Say Hi to Your Mom” my immediate reaction was “Fuck you, you have no idea what I like, apparently.” Not because I’d heard the music of course, but because the name simply made me want to shove my or someone else’s head in a bucket and kick it repeatedly.
And so then I was recently on a trip to San Diego where I spent many nights hanging out with my old friend Scott who has this habit of turning his TV onto MTVu while people are at his house. It’s great because random music comes on that you can have a conversation over, and it gives you something to look at on the TV without having to pay too much attention, and every now and then some music comes on that you hadn’t heard but find really interesting (can you see where this is going yet?). And so of course, this music video comes on and when I’m paying attention enough to say “Hey, this is pretty good, I wonder who it is,” his quick response is “This band’s called Say Hi to Your Mom, I think you’d really like them.”
Which of course I did. A lot.
So in investigating which albums to get from iTunes, I find that they’ve even changed their name recently, so now they’re just Say Hi. Which feels like cheating to me and basically means I was right about the name. No lessons learned here.
But holy fuck should you check out their music. The name’s not so bad any more, and I can’t get enough of them lately.