With Beyoncé’s recent revelation that her upcoming summer album will be titled 4, she joins the ranks of other musicians who went with numerical titles for their albums. Here are some the ones with the best backstories.
Beyoncé, 4 (2011)
Sure, it’s her fourth album. But Beyoncé has made no secret of the number four being a “special number” in her life, citing her birthday (September 4), husband Jay-Z’s birthday (December 4) and their wedding date (April 4, or 4/4) as examples. The pair even got matching “IV” tattoos on their ring fingers. But we’ll have to wait until June to see if lucky album 4 will be Ms. Fierce’s fourth Number One.
Nelly, 5.0 (2010)
Things rappers love to brag about: their jewelry, their ladies, their liquor and their cars. St. Louis native Nelly kept it simple when he named his fifth LP – the album’s artwork shows him walking away from his prized Ford Mustang GT 5.0.
Pearl Jam, Ten (1991)
Eddie Vedder and the gang originally named their band Mookie Blaylock after their favorite basketball player. But lawyers intervened and the band changed their moniker. They still managed to honor Blaylock, though – they named their debut album after his jersey number.
Kylie Minogue, X (2007)
Australian disco-pop pixie Minogue listened to her legions of worldwide fans when it came to naming her 2007 album. Fan forums were referring to the anticipated release (her first following a battle with breast cancer) as ‘Album X.’ Quite conveniently, the Roman numeral X coincided with it being her 10th release.
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Blur, 13 (1999)
Named for the studio just outside of Manchester where the British alt-rockers recorded their sixth album (but perhaps also in part for its 13 tracks and Graham Coxon’s frequent use of 13th chords), the experimental LP contained breakup songs penned by lead singer Damon Albarn (now best known as the frontman for Gorillaz), as well as Coxon’s catchy single “Coffee and TV.”
Adele, 19 (2008) and 21 (2011)
British soul songstress Adele took a very personal approach to her naming her Grammy-snagging debut and chart-topping follow-up – each title represents her age at the time the songs were penned.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Twenty (1997)
The Southern rockers showed their sentimental side when they named their eighth album Twenty. The album was released 20 years after a tragic 1977 plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines, and caused the band to go on a decade-long hiatus.
Prince, 1999 (1982)
The Purple One planned his pre-apocalyptic millennial dance party nearly two decades early, but the title track from his breakthrough fifth album propelled the underground funk-rock genius into the Top 10 in 1982 – and onto wedding and bat mitzvah playlists for all time.