Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’ & 15 Other No. 1 Albums With Made-Up or Obscure Words in the Title


“Chromatica” is far from the first made-up word to appear in the title of a No. 1 album.

Chromatica, the title of Lady Gaga’s new album, which enters the Billboard 200 at No. 1 this week, is a variation of the word “chromatic,” but strictly speaking “chromatica” isn’t a word.

Talking about the album’s title, Gaga described “Chromatica” as a planet where equality rules, and also as a location in her mind where all sounds and colors mix.

“Chromatica” is far from the first made-up word to appear in the title of a No. 1 album. Even discounting titles that jam two words together (Soundgarden’s Superunknown) or are intentional misspellings of existing words (Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz) or both (Musiq Soulchild’s Luvanmusiq), there have been more than a dozen cases where made-up or obscure words have appeared in titles of No. 1 albums. Take a look:

Fulfillingness’ First Finale, Stevie Wonder: “Fulfillingness” is a variation on “fulfill” and “fulfillment,” but it isn’t a word. That didn’t keep the album from winning the Grammy for album of the year. No. 1 for two weeks in 1974.

Zooropa, U2: Zooropa is a portmanteau of “zoo” (from the band’s Zoo TV Tour) and “Europa.” No. 1 for two weeks in 1993.

Vitalogy, Pearl Jam: The title comes from an early 20th-century medical book on which the cover art is based. Vitalogy means “the study of life.” No. 1 for one week in 1994. 1995 Grammy nominee for album of the year.

From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, Nirvana: The title refers to the Wishkah River near Aberdeen, Wash., where Kurt Cobain was born and raised. Fun fact: The name “Wishkah” is an adaptation of the Chehalis Indian word hwish-kahl, meaning “stinking water.” One week at No. 1 in 1996.

The Don KilluminatiThe 7 Day Theory, Makaveli: This was 2Pac’s first posthumous release and the only one released under his Makaveli stage name. “Killuminati” merges the words “kill” and “illuminati.” No. 1 for one week in 1996.

Lateralus, Tool:  The title is supposedly a portmanteau of the leg muscle Vastus lateralis and the term lateral thinking.  No. 1 for one week in 2001.

Meteora, Linkin Park: The title is taken from the Greek Orthodox monasteries originally bearing the name. No. 1 for two weeks in 2003.

Ancora, Il Divo: Ancora is the Latin word for anchor. No. 1 for one week in 2006.

Stadium Arcadium, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Not sure if was the inspiration, but Arcadium was a British psychedelic group that released one album in 1969. (It never made the Billboard 200.) No. 1 for two weeks in 2006. Grammy nominee for album of the year.

Trilla, Rick Ross: In a March 2008 interview with AllHipHop, Ross spoke about the album title’s origins: “Trill is a term we been using down south. I’m sure you heard Bun B use it. Pimp C been saying that since forever. You know in the Texas/Florida panhandle, that’s what we say. And I just put my twist and my spin on it. I kind of took a little from Michael Jackson‘s Thriller album and put that on mines and that’s how we came up with Trilla.” No. 1 for one week in 2008.

Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, Dave Matthews Band: In an April 2009 interview with MTV, the group’s drummer Carter Beauford said the word “GrooGrux” was a nickname for the group’s late saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Beauford added that the made-up word was used to describe the vibe and energy of the “wild-sounding rhythms” the band made when they started playing music together. No. 1 for one week in 2009.

Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay: Mylo and Xyloto are characters in Coldplay’s concept album. No. 1 for one week in 2011.

EVOL, Future: The album’s title is love spelled backward. (This wasn’t the first case of a title that spelled something out backward to reach No. 1: See: N.W.A’s 1991 album EFIL4ZAGGIN.) No. 1 for one week in 2016.

IGOR, Tyler, the Creator: Igor adheres to the Gothic “Igor” archetype as a villain’s assistant and represents Tyler’s darker, apathetic side.  The character Igor is mentioned by name on the tracks “Igor’s Theme” and “What’s Good.” No. 1 for one week in 2019.

Eternal Atake, Lil Uzi Vert: In July 2018, Lil Uzi Vert posted this message on Twitter: “Eternal means forever. Atake means 2 overtake” Eternal Atake was released 20 months later. No. 1 for two weeks in 2020.





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