A (Brief) Tour Through the History of Musical Parentheses

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A (Brief) Tour Through the History of Musical Parentheses

With today's release of Wilco (The Album), we celebrate not only a band, but also a rich musical tradition. No, not album-cover camels, or even rock 'n' roll groups with frontmen named Jeff. Rather, musical parentheses.

From Was (Not Was) to Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), SunnO))) to Sigur Rós' ( ), parentheses have been invoked throughout music history for various reasons, across all genres. Most often, though, and arguably to greatest effect, they are used in song titles. Below is a playlist of merely 40 (there are so many!) of the Paste staff's favorite parenthetical songs. But first, a brief word from Terence of Sling Blade:

"Morris is real smart with philosophies and things. That's why him and me are the songwriting team of our group. I make up good tunes or melodies as we call them and Morris is the lyrics... We wrote one last night standin' outside the Mini-Mart. Morris called it "Stuart Drives a Comfortable Car." Then, you know, like on country songs in parenthesis it says, 'There is usually someone in the trunk.'"

Enjoy, and leave your favorite musical parentheses in the comments: