On the exact opposite end of the spectrum from Long Title
, when a work is given no actual title by its creator. This may be due to artistic intentions, a desire to avoid influencing potential audiences, inability to think of a good one, or simple laziness. In any case, fans will usually get around this by using working titles or making up their own descriptions
Some works tend to be untitled more often than others:
- Classical music works, where unnamed ones are typically referred to by composer, type, and number ("Beethoven's Fifth Symphony", for instance).
- Poems, which are sometimes known by their first lines, or by numbers as with William Shakespeare's sonnets.
- Songs on a record album, especially hidden tracks (which don't get official titles because they're not mentioned on the sleeve at all).
- Works of visual art, including sculptures and paintings.
For works that technically have
titles, but compose them entirely of unpronounceable symbols, see Lucky Charms Title
. Other uncreative naming approaches include Running Time in the Title
and the ever-popular Self-Titled Album
. If the work does
have a name, but it's a name claiming it has no name, then that's an "Untitled" Title
If an in-work character doesn't get a name, that's No Name Given
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Anime and Manga
- In Naruto, Sai doesn't give names to his pictures because of his lack of emotions. After his Character Development and Heel-Face Turn, he makes a picture of himself going out to join his team, and titles it "Friendship."
- One episode of the 1969 Himitsu no Akko-chan series is called "__________", because it involves Akko meeting a deaf-mute kid.
Live Action TV
- Most TV pilots are just called "Pilot", although they may be given retroactive titles later.
- Smallville justifies this as Kal-El's ship piloted to Earth in the first episode.
- The original series of Doctor Who ran in serial format, with plots being spread out over multiple episodes. In the early days, the individual episodes were given onscreen titles, but not the overall plots. As a result, many early stories are known by multiple names, as a result of conflicts between BBC sources, creators, and various fan nicknames.
- The 1996 TV movie is known only as Doctor Who. One of the film's producers suggested "The Enemy Within" as an alternate title, but to date there is quite a bit of disagreement within the fandom about what to call it, notwithstanding those who'd prefer not to call it anything at all.
- The tenth episode of the second season of 30 Rock was written immediately before the writer's strike of 2008-2009, and apparently nobody "wrote" a title for the episode before the strike started. Therefore NBC never came up with a title for the episode before it aired and it is still referred to only as "Episode 210". (Despite this, the episode is generally considered a strong one, particularly for its memorable rendition of "Midnight Train to Georgia" by the cast towards the end.)
- Primeval episodes don't have names. Instead, they're known as "Episode 1" and "Episode 2" and so on.
- Showtime sitcom Episodes also names its episodes this way, appropriately enough.
- Episodes of Eastbound & Down are called "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", etc.
- Wings' Band On The Run is actually the final song of a three-song medley; the first two (unofficially known as "Stuck Inside These Four Walls" and "If I Ever Get Out Of Here") are untitled.
- Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II gives none of its tracks titles, except for "Blue Calx". There are, however, some bizarre diagrams with symbols reminiscent of pie charts, each of which is matched up with one of Richard D. James' own photographs. Fans usually refer to the tracks by some obvious feature of the corresponding photo.
- Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music For Airports refers to its tracks by track/side — "1/1", "2/1", "1/2", and "2/2" — with no actual titles present.
- Korn left their eighth album untitled. Jonathan Davis reasoned, "Why not just let our fans call it whatever they wanna call it?"
- Led Zeppelin's fourth album is usually called Led Zeppelin IV, in the style of the first three album titles, or Zoso, after Jimmy Page's symbol on the cover. Officially, the title is the string of symbols that represent the four members of the group.
- Nas' untitled 2008 album was originally going to be titled Nigger, but that title was withdrawn after predictable controversy.
- Oasis put a couple of short untitled instrumental interludes on (What's the Story) Morning Glory? The full song from which the excerpts were pulled eventually made it onto B-sides collection The Masterplan as "The Swamp Song".
- Track 10 from Plankeye's album Strange Exchange. It wasn't a hidden track at all, it just had no title or lyrics listed in the liner notes. It later acquired the title "My Daughter".
- Sigur Ros' third album, ( ), has no pronounceable name, and all of its tracks are officially untitled. The band refer to it as "the bracket album", and fans usually use working titles to refer to the actual songs. Many retailers simply title the tracks "Untitled #1" through "#8".
- The final track on REM's Green is " ".
- The level "Hell Keep" (E3M1) in the game Doom has the music track "Untitled", possibly because "MIDI Version Of Mouth For War" was too cumbersome and litigation-prone.
- Orbital's first two albums, nicknamed Green Album and Brown Album, respectively.
- KMFDM's "symbols" album is sometimes called "untitled" or "self-titled".
- blur frontman Damon Albarn formed a band with Paul Simonon, Simon Tong, and Tony Allen and released an album called The Good, the Bad & the Queen. According to Albarn, that was just the name of the album, and the band didn't have a name.
- The Hidden Track on Xorcist's Scorched Blood EP.
- Old-style emo bands of the mid-90s (which sound nothing like the most common modern-day use of the term) very frequently did not bother to title their songs. A couple years later when digital downloading took off they became frequently swapped, and as a result names were made up for the songs by fans, most such songs today thus have well-known titles even if they initially had no official title. The records themselves were rarely titled either though since the output of most bands was small, simple descriptive titles would work (Such as "the first 7", "the LP", "the split with Band X", etc.) Other works had titles but not in the traditional sense, all I Hate Myself records were simply titled by the number of songs they had for example, at least one record was released with the song titles simply being the track length and another more recent band, ¡Forward, Russia!, simply gave all their songs numerical titles in the order in which the songs were written (but do not appear on the album in order.)
- Similarly (and most probably in reference to The White Album by The Beatles), Metallica's self-titled album is known as "The Black Album."
- Although Spinal Tap's Smell The Glove album eventually mutated into something similar, following record company misgivings and feminist intervention.
- There's a story that Filter's second album got its name when the woman doing the cover art showed Richard Patrick her concept design for the album cover. He thought it was perfect, and told her to use it exactly as it was. She pointed out that the title of the album wasn't even on the cover, she'd just put the words "Title of Record" in the spot where she was going to put the title. Patrick hadn't come up with a title for the album yet, and decided to go with "Title of Record."
- Similar to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II, Butthole Surfers' Hairway To Steven features poorly drawn, Toilet Humor-filled sketches in lieu of song titles. However, almost every song on the album was later featured on the live album Double Live, where they did get proper song titles: The remaining track is usually referred to as "Julio Iglesias", due to it's lyrics.
- Prince's "love symbol" album, released when he was still officially known as Prince. The symbol later became his artist (and supposedly legal) name, since Warner Bros. Records was screwing Prince out of royalties by holding rights to his name. Strange as that sounds, it's not the only example. Bob Moog went out of the synthesizer business for about twenty years while Gibson held the legal rights to the Moog name.
- When the record label asked Joe Walsh what his new (at the time) album's title was, he responded, "You bought it, you name it". That became the title. One would presume that his later album Got Any Gum? went through a naming process that was just as agonizing and strategic.
- Jazzman Anthony Braxton uses diagrams as titles for his compositions. This really screws with his documentarians, and as of yet, Google doesn't let you sketch in the search field to find a song that way.
- Flake Music's When You Land Here It's Time To Return has three untitled tracks. These are spread out around the album (tracks 5, 8, and 10), but since the back cover lists 8 song titles with no track numbers in front of them, it's very easy to mistakenly assume that it's the last three tracks that are untitled hidden songs, and thus get the track listing mixed up entirely. A reissue settled the confusion by putting track numbers on the disk itself, although it also mistakenly lists four untitled tracks instead of three.
- None of the songs on the Quake soundtrack CD (by Nine Inch Nails) have names (though there are numerous unofficial, fanmade names).
- The ninth song from the CD called "Yo soy", from the the album Revés/Yosoy by Café Tacvba, has no title. Other songs from this album have pictures as titles.
- The two unlisted tracks at the end of Queen's Made in Heaven. The first one is unofficially titled "Yeah" because that is literally the whole song (though it's actually the final "Yeah!" from "It's a Beautiful Day (Reprise)—which is sampled from their song "Don't Try Suicide"). The second one is a 22-and-a-half-minute experimental ambient instrumental that is either called "Untitled" or "Track 13".
- The ninth track of Sonic Youth's Washing Machine - the track-list on the back cover doesn't even list a track 9, it just goes straight from 8 to 10. This song is typically referred to as "Untitled" or "Becuz Coda" (because it was originally intended as the ending to the song "Becuz").
- The tenth track on Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, the album's only instrumental, has no title. Popular fan names for it include "Untitled" (and variations thereof, largely dealing with various bracketing and capitalization to denote lack of a title), "10" and "The Penny Arcade in California", the name Allmusic gives in its listing and review of the record.
- Most songs in the classical music genre—especially songs in operas—are untitled, so the first line usually serves as an unofficial title. Occasionally, a description serves as an unofficial title, e.g. "The Major General's Song".
- Most classical instrumental pieces just describe the ensemble or form, order of composition, key, and sometimes a catalog number. "Mozart Piano Concerto Number number such-and-such in X Major, K.###".
- None of the songs on Blut aus Nord's What Once Was EPs are given titles. They're usually referred to either with Roman numerals or album side and track number (i.e., A3).
- Black Metal band Fell Voices have five untitled songs and indeed two untitled albums. The fact that their first album was self-titled and the following two (which are untitled) were printed with just the band name on the album sleeve contributes further to the confusion, as does the fact that things that look like song titles are printed on the back sleeve of the band's second album. A lot of sites have the album titles wrong (for instance, last.fm has the band's first album titled as Fell Voices Demo and the band's second album titled as Fell Voices). It also doesn't help that the band members are Reclusive Artists who prefer their work to be distributed via analogue formats.
- Following Fell Voices' lead, fellow black metal band Ash Borer, who recorded a split with them, also didn't name four of their tracks (incidentally, each band's side of the split is untitled). One of these, however, was re-recorded for their self-titled album, on which it was given a title ("Rest, You Are the Lightning").
- The instrumental sixth track on Krallice's Dimensional Bleedthrough is untitled.
- The track "Untitled" on Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson is also an example of this trope.
- The overwhelming majority of Emily Dickinson's poems (numbering nearly 1,800) are untitled. They are usually referred to by their first lines or the mostly chronological numbers given to them by Thomas H. Johnson's 1955 compilation.
- E. E. Cummings's poems are also mostly untitled, and hence referred to by their incipit.
- The original manuscript of Beowulf lacked a title, so it was named after the main character.
- William Shakespeare's sonnets. Shakespeare being Shakespeare, they're generally known simply as "Sonnet #X", the author going without saying.
- The William Blake poem from which the song called "Jerusalem" gets its lyrics doesn't have that name; it's known by its first line, "And did those feet in ancient time".
- Hello Cheeky didn't give titles to any episodes. When they moved to TV, they gave the episodes intentionally confusing Word Salad Titles instead. ("Quarter-Final Second Leg", "Episode 214", "Unabridged Version" etc.)
- In the Katawa Shoujo, Rin doesn't give any of her paintings titles in order not to influence how other people interpret them.
- Some writers, both professional and non-professional, won't come up with a title for their works in progress until very late in the process.