Bands with numbers in their name seem to carry an air of mystery. Could those numbers carry an integral meaning that the band attempts to convey on every album, or is it just an aesthetic touch added for flair?
Well, in this article, I’m going to provide you with my absolute favorite bands that have numbers featured prominently in their name. Some of these bands will no doubt be ones you’ve heard, but hopefully, this list will contain one or two surprises that you’ll love so much, you’ll rush to add them to your Spotify playlist!
Bands With Numbers In Their Name You’ll Love
Let’s begin with 3OH!3.
Everyone would recognize 3OH!3 if I were to shout:
My first kiss went a little like this!
I have fond high school memories of listening to this band’s classic hits, like “My First Kiss” and “STARSTRUKK.” I’ll never forget attending homecoming celebrations and witnessing first-hand gender-bender pageant shows that featured men in dresses and a full face of makeup.
In the background, I could hear the lyrics for “STARSTRUKK” blasting:
Nice legs, daisy dukes, makes a man go – *wolf whistle*!
I was recently reminded of this band on the hilarious YouTube channel, Emo’s Not Dead. The channel is centered around a man who is still very much in love with emo music, a genre our parents often insisted was just a phase we’d eventually grow out of.
Well, mom, emo is not a phase; it’s a lifestyle.
Anyways, 3OH!3 made their cameo and dropped some of the best lines of the year on the track. The band has always been known for their quirky, high-energy verses that were finely mixed with electronic dance music. 3OH!3’s name comes from the area code of their hometown, Boulder Colorado, with an exclamation mark added to remind listeners their music is always full of energy!
This fun band creates a party vibe wherever they go!
30 Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars is a fantastic name for this band. Their vibrant vibe and powerfully profound lyrics will make you feel like you’re racketeering across the solar system in seconds. Starting out as an emo band, 30 Seconds to Mars gradually shifted to a pop-centered sound with post-apocalyptic flair.
Allow me to give you a glimpse of what I mean. Their song, “Dangerous Night,” from their 2018 album, AMERICA, seem to tell a story of two wildly unstable lovers—a love story many of us have heard on our favorite pop stations.
What a dangerous night to fall in love
Don’t know why we still hide what we’ve become (oh, oh)
Do you wanna cross the line?
We’re runnin’ out of time
A dangerous night to fall in love
AMERICA touches on several themes, such as the political state of the nation, as well as the crisis of widespread pharmaceutical addiction, yet they still take a standard approach to the pop-esque stories of love, lust, and loss.
Meanwhile, the band’s 2010 album, THIS IS WAR, takes a vigilante stance against the world powers that continue to wreak havoc in our everyday lives. There were so many hits on this high energy album, such as the gripping lyrics of their single, “This Is War”:
A warning to the people
The good and the evil
This is war
To the soldier, the civilian
The martyr, the victim
This is war
It’s the moment of truth, and the moment to lie
The moment to live and the moment to die
The moment to fight, the moment to fight
To fight, to fight, to fight!
A friend of mine listened to a few 30 Seconds to Mars songs I’d recommended to him, to which he insisted the singer, Jared Leto (yes, that Jared Leto), had “pastor vibes.” I didn’t really take his words seriously until I remembered how I grew up in a religious environment that thrived on complete devotion from its followers. It makes complete sense how I could feel such passion and invigoration from this band.
5 Seconds of Summer
5 Seconds of Summer is that type of band teenagers would fawn over and beg their parents to let them see in concert.
Would it fly with the parents? Absolutely not. But that is the impact 5 Seconds of Summer made on us impressionable kids at the time. Their name in itself carries the intense passion one feels during the brevity of summer. The sun is shining bright, flowers are blooming left and right, and school is finite; that means it’s time to dance!
I must admit that although I’d hear this band on the radio all the time, I didn’t get into their music until recently. Perhaps it was the art they created for the drama series, 13 Reasons Why, or perhaps their newest 2022 single, “Me Myself & I,” made a bigger impression on me than I initially thought. I’m now at an age where the band’s lyrics relate to my experiences in life now that I’ve had a decade or so to be free from societal obligations, causing me to live a little.
I’ve been listening to “Me Myself & I,,” as well as “COMPLETE MESS,” on repeat and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Some of my favorite lyrics from “COMPLETE MESS” are:
Hang on to moments like they’ll never drift away
‘Cause you’ll never get to say goodbye
I ask no questions as your colors take their hold
As my darkness turns to gold inside
I learned my lesson when I felt you slip away
And I’m missing out on half my life
Oh, you make me complete
You make me complete
You make me a complete mess
Maybe it’s the revitalizing sound of the music that brings forth memories of the complete euphoria I experienced during my teens, or perhaps it’s the lyrics that reach into the depths of me and caress my soul. Now that I’ve had my fair share of heartbreaks, I understand where the band is coming from as they self-reflect on the roles they played in their dysfunctional relationships.
5 Seconds of Summer reminded me that growth is not just for the young.
Three Trapped Tigers
I’ll never forget the first time I was introduced to Three Trapped Tigers. I had recently returned home from studying abroad and spent a few enervating weeks working in the small hometown where I’d grown up. Then I got an offer to move to a big city, which was new to me, at least in the USA. I tentatively took this offer and spent a week mulling over my options before I finally said yes.
I was driving down the interstate for roughly 5 hours in my beat up sport car that was just as old as me. The windows were down and I was definitely racing over the speed limit. My Spotify had been on shuffle for a while, then it just started playing random recommended songs tailored to my tastes. Suddenly, “Engrams” began to blast through my speakers, and I couldn’t believe my ears.
Here, a purely instrumental track took my breath away as complex melodies, insane drums, and the faint sound of a singer “oo-ing” and “ah-ing” his way across the noise reverberated through my car. I felt a rush of passion course through my veins, as all my fears and doubts of the future began to dissipate.
For some reason, I knew everything was going to be alright. I still feel very honored to have heard “Engrams” when I did, because the meaning of that word is essentially a biophysical or biochemical imprint of a memory in our brains. I was creating new memories at the time and trying my best to forget old painful memories; yet no matter how uncertain I was feeling at the time, it sure felt good to be alive.
I’m not sure what the band’s name means, though I have a few theories. One theory is since the band is made of three people, perhaps they see themselves as three tigers trapped in human bodies, which would explain their euphoric music full of energy.
Either way, it’s very clear they enjoy numbers as much as I do, for they have an entire album dedicated to numbers. I for one enjoy their track, “5,” from their album, Numbers: 1-13.
I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t know the life-changing classic hit from M83, “Midnight City.” Every time it plays on the speaker, I’m singing with at least one other person,
Waiting in the car
Waiting for a ride in the dark
Drinking in the lights
Following the neon signs
Waiting for a word (Word)
Looking at the milky skyline (Skyline)
The city is my church (The city is my church)
It wraps me in its blinding twilight (Twilight)
M83’s reference to the “milky skyline,” i.e., comparing the thousands, if not millions, of lights in the city to the Milky Way galaxy, is an allusion to the band’s name. In an story by The Guardian, Anthony Gonzalez of M83 expresses:
“The name M83, to clarify, is not some Gallic street parlance or “txt” speak that’s lost in translation, it comes from the spiral galaxy Messier 83.”
I remember the day I looked up the band’s name because my inquisitive nature, innate for us nerds, wondered whether their name had a deeper meaning than just a string of text. I was amazed to find a giant, marvelously beautiful galaxy in my search results.
M83, standing for Messier 83, is also referred to as the Pinwheel Galaxy by NASA. It is one of many spiral galaxies in the known universe, including the Milky Way, where the large concentration of stars, dust, planets, and gas all revolve around the many “arms” of the galaxy that constitute its pinwheel appearance.
M83 has a superpower of creating music that evokes introspection and a desire to create a better tomorrow for humanity. Their musical video series that featured songs from their album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, like “Midnight City” and “Wait,” tell a story of children with psychic abilities whom the government tried to exploit for warfare.
The children escaped the confines of the militaristic government, but not without casualties. Over the many years, the children witnessed the earth become more and more ravaged with humanity’s constant warring with one another, until there was nothing left but a child, a drop of water, and the tiniest hope for a better future.
With that speck of hope, one of the children was able to use her power to restore the Earth not only to its former glory, but its former magic as well. A magic that reminded humanity that we are all like the children: a part of the source with a powerful ability to make the world a better place for all.
Surprisingly though, I truly love the album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, as my first and most impactful introduction to M83 was the amazing collaborative work they did for the soundtrack of the futuristic movie, Oblivion. Needless to say, their message has remained consistent across all albums.
Here is a snippet of “Oblivion,” featuring Susanne Sundfør:
Since I was young
I knew I’d find you
But our love was a song
Sung by a dying swan
And in the night, you hear me calling
You hear me calling
And in your dreams (your dreams)
You see me falling, falling
Breathe in the light
Though the movie sang of love between two people, I believe the artists fostered a deeper meaning for this song. A meaning that encourages us to have a strong relationship within ourselves.
They encourage us to “breathe in the light and say goodbye,” goodbye to the lives we once knew that were entrenched in greed, poverty, and desire. Instead embrace the life that is broiling within us like a hot, young star.
The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 truly paved the way for musicians and artists as a whole. Here, 5 young siblings, the youngest being only 5, were taking television and radio by storm with their vigorous dances, heartfelt lyrics, and out of this world vocal talent.
If you haven’t guessed already, The Jackson 5 got their name from 5 siblings who all shared the same last name. Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, and Michael Jackson were all brothers taught to perform some of the world’s most beloved classic pop favorites by their strict father, Joe Jackson.
The sensational Jackson 5 were able to immortalize their popularity, which later helped to launch the successful careers of the youngest of the group, Michael Jackson, and his sister, Janet Jackson.
I would often joke that I got “Joe Jackson’ed” as a kid because I too grew up as the youngest in a musically talented family. My sister would often bribe me to harmonize with her while I was in preschool. She’d always make me sing, “Who’s Loving You,” an amazing song that I can’t help but hate. I still get shivers whenever I hear those Iconic first words:
When I (When I)
Had you (Had you)
I treated you baaaaaaaaad!
Don’t get me wrong, The Jackson 5 knew how to make timeless hits that are amazing even after a few generations later, but I certainly don’t miss singing this song in the slightest. I’m sure the beloved late Michael Jackson didn’t either.
I’ll never forget having the privilege of being a middle schooler in a high school choir where all of the high school choir altos and sopranos were utterly obsessed with Maroon 5. I only got introduced to the band because one of my choir friends lent me her iPod with a complete playlist of the band’s albums.
Their hits like “Payphone,” “Makes Me Wonder,” and “Memories” will forever live in the minds of schoolyard kids of the past and present. Maroon 5 has a habit of striking the hearts of that part of us that learned life lessons at tender ages.
Now that I’m older, it’s much easier to relate to their music; for instance, the lyrics of “Beautiful Mistakes” featuring Megan Thee Stallion speaks of how memories of an old relationship still linger like a bad smell for a while.
I know it’s hard to let go, I’m the best (I’m the best)
Best you ever had and best you gon’ get (gon’ get)
And if we break up, I don’t wanna be friends (be friends)
Beautiful mistakes I make inside my head
OneRepublic is one of the few bands I discovered all on my own. My first introduction to the band was their album, Dreaming Out Loud, an album that completely changed the trajectory of my life. Each song was carefully curated to inspire a listener to reflect on their life choices, question their old beliefs and habits, then try a different approach to life that could have a better outcome.
Everyone knows their first couple of hits like “Apologize,” “Secrets,” and “All the Right Moves,” but this band is special because every album they produce has so many hits. Recently, their single “I Ain’t Worried,” featured in Top Gun: Maverick, has been stuck in my head and certainly the heads of many who saw the movie.
As for me, I wasn’t even interested in the movie until I saw OneRepublic’s new single was on Spotify. That should give you a glimpse into my 15-year long obsession with the band.
OneRepublic’s name was reported to evolve from This Beautiful Mess, to Republic. Then, after a conversation with Columbia Records, the name was finalized as OneRepublic to avoid potential lawsuits from businesses with similar names.
Since that fateful day, OneRepublic has grabbed the pop genre by the horns and created popular sounds with lyrics that could change someone’s perspective on life entirely. At least that’s what’s been happening to me. The vocalist of OneRepublic, Ryan Tedder, is renowned for his lyrical capability, writing songs for well-known artists such as “XO” by Beyoncé, “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, and “So Good” by B.O.B.
That’s just the tip of the musical iceberg! I could marvel over the lyrics of so many songs OneRepublic has created, but the one on my mind the most nowadays comes from “I Lived.”
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived
Listening to Fifth Harmony brings fond memories of my first couple of years of university. My music theory professor at the time was stressing out over the “saxophone” in Fifth Harmony’s hit single, “Worth It.” She couldn’t bear the fact that the sound wasn’t a real saxophone, moreover she found it to be quite annoying.
Her rants about this song were quite amusing. As a band nerd, I understood her frustrations, but I loved the song from the music to the awesome dance party vibe, and boundless confidence. This song was life!
Then their song, “Work From Home” would eventually become my anthem since I happily attract all of my hefty bags of money by working from home. I feel so inspired when I hear the lyrics:
I know you’re always on the night shift
But I can’t stand these nights alone (Oh, oh)
And I don’t need no explanation
‘Cause, baby, you’re the boss at home
You don’t gotta go to work, work, work, work
Work, work, work
But you gotta put in work, work, work, work
Work, work, work
Sure, this song may be about putting in a different type of “work,” but for me, it’s about taking my power back and refusing to be a part of the rat race outside. I’m honored to use my talents to earn every cent strictly from home!
The 5 Heartbeats
When I was a kid, I grew up on VHS tapes of movies that depicted the lives of famous musicians before, during, and after their rise in fame. I learned about The Temptations, Tina Turner, and The Jackson 5.
But nothing moved me more than watching the 1991 film, The 5 Heartbeats. As a child, I saw a quintet of 5 quirky, lively young kids who had a love for music. They spent their free time playing in clubs until one day they were offered an opportunity to go pro and be taken under the wing of a record label. They created so many classics that are still loved today such as “A Heart is A House for Love” and “We Haven’t Finished Yet.”
The movie recreated amazing scenes, such as the creation of “We Haven’t Finished Yet,” where one of the singers and his sister were having a disagreement over him writing music and not doing chores. But as they were cleaning up, they found scraps of thrown away lyrics that created one of the most impactful hits of the band’s history.
This scene brought forth memories of my sister and I doing the same thing in our free time; one moment we’d be arguing over who was going to do the dishes, and the next, I’d be writing lyrics as she sang.
Some people run at the first sign of stormy weather
Some people hold on and work it out together
I believe in you you believe in me
The rainbow ahead may be hard to see
We gotta hang on to this dream don’t let go
No matter how hard it gets we haven’t finished yet
There’s so much of life ahead we got so much to do
No matter how hard we try
We just can’t say goodbye
Don’t leave me with regrets
‘Cause we haven’t finished yet
The “5” in The 5 Heartbeats isn’t just about the number of band members, but it’s also a tribute to the core of the band’s mission: to promote love. Despite the horrors of the music industry, the band fought to stay together and sing about working through hard times as a unit.
This of course could be an endless list, but I wanted to give a quick shoutout to three additional bands/groups:
In the midst of tons of R&B acts over the past couple of decades, 702 may get a bit lost in the shuffle over time. That’s a bit of a shame, so be sure to check them out online if you’ve never heard of them.
This rock group is of course very well known, as was pretty much everywhere throughout the 1990s.
Boyz II Men
There were probably a lot of babies conceived to the crooning of Boyz II Men, and they remain the gold standard (along with New Edition) for modern boy band groups–especially in R&B music (and certainly for any and all 90s bands with numbers in the name).
Bands with numbers in their names all have a unique backstory. Whether that number reflects an area code, the number of members in the band, or even a galactic phenomenon, every number counts.
Moreover, the quality of the bands’ music has made an impact on listeners around the world. Take some time to reflect on the bands you enjoy in your life; revel in those memories and be curious about their names!
You Might Also Like: