Mariah Carey is no dummy. No, I'm not talking about her decision to sign with Interscope Def Jam Group. I'm not talking about her decision to return to ballads in an attempt to become a hitmaker again. Or her choice of three of the top music industry execs to run her career.
Those were all no-brainers considering the options she had open to her. I'm talking about her decision to put off naming the label she will launch with her new album until she can come up with the right name.
Names are serious business.
Since she's in the studio working on her new album, she probably won't have a lot of time to think up names, so it seemed like a good time to help her out.
The best record label names tend to be the simplest, like Sun or Chess, though chances of Carey's picking something like Sympathy for the Record Industry or Kill Rock Stars weren't high, anyway.
She could try something meaningful from her life - such as Greenlawn, where she went to high school, or Huntington Bay, where she grew up. But where's the street cred in that? She could call on some of her favorite symbols, which also happen to be her hit albums, such as Rainbow or Butterfly or Music Box.
There's Wisegirl, after her new movie, in which she gets better reviews than her big-screen debut, 'Glitter.' In fact, if she were really daring, she could name the label Glitter after the movie and the record that unexpectedly put her on this new career path.
Taking the name of her most public failure and whipping it into a success could be the ultimate revenge for her unceremonious treatment at Virgin Records - that and enjoying the $ 28 million check the company gave her to sever their ties.
One music industry type jokes that she should call her label Slut, as in the 'anti-Virgin,' but something tells me that won't win out. Another suggests Shoes, after the 'MTV Cribs' episode done while Carey was still 'exhausted,' a look into her lavish lifestyle that became even more entertaining as she showed off hundreds of pairs of shoes in a closet the size of many Manhattan studio apartments. Others say it doesn't matter what she calls her company, waxing Shakespearean about 'What's in a name?'
What they forget, though, is when the name doesn't come first, you end up with an unfortunate mouthful like, well, 'Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre.'
Now, I don't begrudge the Jones Beach folks' desire to make some extra cash or Hilfiger's desire to further attach himself to the rock and roll lifestyle. But let's face it, that's quite a name.
Of course, the move is already on to shorten it. Obviously, the easiest way is to return it to the original Jones Beach, but that's not fair to Hilfiger, who shelled out a reported $ 40 million for the naming rights. After all, change is good.
Nevertheless, Jones Beach now desperately needs a new nickname.
Here are some possibilities:
The Tommy: The 'the' is very important to familiarity, as in the Garden, and it also seems friendly, as if Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre is somehow a friend. If Mr. Hilfiger wants to take this friendship to the next level, he can hand out free jeans to Long Island, and I'm sure we'll agree to call it 'My Tommy' and force Rosie O'Donnell to come up with a new nickname for Tom Cruise.
Hilfiger: Yeah, it's a lot of brand extension, but it also makes the huge amphitheater sound like a hip little club in the East Village. Hipster One: 'Did you see Bonnie Raitt last night?'
Hipster Two: 'Yeah, I caught her set at Hilfiger. She was amazing.'
THA Jones Beach Theater: The 'tha' is very cool, very today, as in Jennifer Lopez's new album, 'J to tha L-O.' Of course, the next step would then be 'THA J.BeT,' or 'J.BeT' for short. That has a certain ring to it, but it depends on context. Please do not say, 'Dude, are you going to THA J.BeT to check out Michael Bolton?'
Considering the importance of Jones Beach to the summer concert season, finding it the right nicknames is worthwhile - unless, of course, they decide to sell the name to someone else in 2004 and we're stuck coming up with creative ways to avoid calling it 'Verizon Jones Beach' or 'The Clear Channel.'
Which brings us back to Mariah. She seems well on the road to recovery. She's got a braintrust in place to bounce ideas off of this time. Maybe she should name her label after the famous Jay-Z rhyme, one of my personal favorites: 'On Fire.'
Contact Glenn Gamboa at 631-843- 3434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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