Chronological Album Title
An album title that makes reference to the album's position in the chronological order of album releases by the artist. This generally only counts full-length studio albums; the numbers are usually (but not always) off if you count EPs and live albums. In some cases, this will only be one title among other non-numbered titles, but in other cases there are multiple, often consecutive, numbered titles.
The main reason for this is to give a sense of weight, history, context and inevitability to the albums. The name suggests (but does not guarantee) that the album is not just a lone work, but part of a wider body that will likely tie together consistent themes. It echoes the cantos and books of epic poetry, and thus has a great deal of appeal to musicians influenced by these sources, although it can come across as pretentious or facetious if handled poorly
Some albums simply have the band's name followed by a number (in which case this overlaps with Numbered Sequels
), but others are more clever with it, using a phrase related to the number.
- Big Star - #1 Record
- Colosseumnote - Chapter 1: Delirium
- Hurt - Vol. I note
- Traveling Wilburys - Volume 1 note
- Johnny Winter - First Winter
- ZZ Top - ZZ Top's First Album
- Black Label Society - Hangover Music, Vol VI
- Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
- The Beatles - Beatles VI (see: Second Album)
- Procol Harum - Procol's Ninth
- Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass - Alpert's Ninth
- Anvil - This Is Thirteen (Yeah, they managed to use this trope while continuing to have alliterative Idiosyncratic Episode Naming)
- The Cure - 4:13 Dream (as for the "4" in the title? It refers to the fact that the record marked the first time that the band had been a quartet since the 1990 remix album Mixed Up)
- Megadeth - TH1RT3EN
Artists with Numerous Examples
- Elton John - 21 at 33 (33 was Elton's age at the time. The total includes live albums and compilations.)
- Almost every album by Chicago is simply titled with the band's name followed by the number.
- Averted with Chicago 2, which is actually a Fan Nickname. The band shortened their name from "Chicago Transit Authority" to "Chicago" between their first and second albums, and these are both self-titled according to the band's name at the time.
- Soul-Junk's entire catalogue is like this, but the system takes some explaining. His first album was titled 1950. Every subsequent full-length album was numbered counting up from there, while his EP's have been numbered counting backwards from 1950.
- Every full album from Morning Musume. Some examples are: First Time, 4th Ikimasshoi!, No. 5, Rainbow 7, Sexy8Beat, and 10 My Me.
- Hello! Project albums in general have this; Berryz Koubou, C-ute and S/mileage currently all do the same, and many of H!P's former soloists did as well until leaving the label.
- Led Zeppelin's first three albums. The fourth album is commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV but it really has no title at all.
- Meat Loaf and his Bat Out Of Hell trilogy, which is linked principally by the involvement of songwriter Jim Steinman.
- Nine Inch Nails and its "Halo numbers", which are attached in chronological order to both its album and its single releases.
- Irish folk group The Chieftains titled nearly all of their first ten studio albums The Chieftains __, with the accompanying numeral for each. (The lone exception was their sixth album, Bonaparte's Retreat.)
- Autechre's discography features, to name just a few examples from many, the Tri Repetae, LP 5 and Exai(Roman numerals for 11) albums and the EP 5 and Move of Ten EP's.
- Focus have Focus II (though it's better known under its original title Moving Waves), Focus III and Focus 8, their second, third, and eighth studio albums - well, the title of Focus 8 apparently renders a collaboration album with PJ Proby non-canon. Somewhat interestingly, all three of these albums also have title tracks.
- Soft Machine have Volume Two, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Six, and Seven.
- Brad Paisley has two examples in Part II and 5th Gear.
- She & Him's "main sequence" of albums are numbered Volume One, Volume Two, and Volume Three (so far). There's A Very She & Him Christmas between the second and third, but they don't seem to count that.
- Scott Walker's Scott 2, Scott 3 and Scott 4
- Baroness' first two E.Ps are named First and Second, while their first album, A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk is sometimes known as Third
- Kanye West's first three albums are sequential chronological theme naming. First was The College Dropout, then when it was apparent he'd be a continuing artist came Late Registration (someone still going to school, at least), then came Graduation. What comes after Graduation? If you answered a Good-Ass Job, you'd be half right. The Call Back title was the working title for the album 808's and Heartbreak, but during the album's creation, the theme was dropped on its last leg in favor of something a bit more literal.
- Every album by both the Bronx and their mariachi alter-egos Mariachi El Bronx is self-titled, and generally referred to by their number. They've released two as Mariachi El Bronx and they've announced the upcomign release of IV for the main band. Their reasoning is that they would rather have the focus be on the album art rather than a title.
- Bob James' One, Two, Three, BJ4, Lucky Seven, 12. In addition, his fifth album (Heads) features a nickel on its cover (a nickel being a five-cent piece), and his sixth album (Touchdown) features a football on its cover (a touchdown being worth six points in football).
- Don Williams' first three albums were named Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3.
- The above-mentioned British Progressive Rock band Colosseum is a band example, in which the band broke up and was later relaunched under the name "Colosseum II". Each iteration of the band recorded several albums.
- Doujin group IOSYS has a Stealth Pun version of this trope: Their ninth Touhou arrange album is Touhou Hyousetsu Kashuu, an album devoted completely to the leitmotif of fan-favorite character Cirno. Where does the Stealth Pun example come in? Cirno is associated with the meme "(9)".
- Chickenfoot released an album titled Chickenfoot III. It is their second album.
- Morbid Angel does a variation on this trope. Instead of using numbers, the first letter of the album reflects which number of album it is, A being 1 B being 2 etc.
- Monty Python's Previous Record and possibly Another Monty Python Record.
- Adele's studio albums are named 19 and 21, for the ages she was when she started recording them.
- Weezer subverts this by having several albums named simply "Weezer", commonly referred to by the color most predominant on their cover ("The Blue Album", for example). Some see each self-titled album as representing a new chapter in their musical career.
- Six Feet Under released an album titled 13. It is their sixth album.
- While Iron Maiden already has two above, the Continuity Nod on The Final Frontier comes on the Title Track, "Satellite 15... The Final Frontier".
- Roy D. Mercer, a Prank Call series created by Brent Douglas and Phil Stone, was released on seven albums titled How Big a Boy Are Ya? volumes 1 through 7 between 1997 and 2000. After that, they broke away from the theme.