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Friday, July 06, 2007

Top 5 Album Artwork of 2007 (So Far)

The artwork of an album is pretty important. That old adage of "Never judge a book by its cover" is true, but rarely adhered to. Back in the day when I had money to blow, I'd walk through the record store looking for a CD to buy, and I would decide which random CD to buy solely by its album cover. It worked well once or twice, but it had disastrous results on more numerous occasions. Nowadays, I've stopped my random CD buying ways and I stick to buying what I know will be good. But still, the artwork of an album is pretty important to me and one of the main reasons why I still buy hard copies of music rather than download it all through iTunes. With that in mind, please enjoy my list of the Top 5 Album Artwork of 2007 (So Far).

#5: Cocorosie: "The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn" - Sure, not the most complicated or gimmicky artwork of the year, but highly effective. This creepy portrait really captures the essence of some of the album's darker moments ("Werewolf"). The blood-written text in the top corner really just seals the deal.

#4: Metric: "Grow Up and Blow Away" - When I first saw the artwork to this album, I thought it was perfect. The combination of photography and toddler hand-drawn people is pretty brilliant, if not just really cute. The rest of the artwork with the album is pretty lackluster, however and it comes packaged in one of those non-jewel case cardboard thing (which I hate). Still, the cover is enough to win me over.

#3: "Bright Eyes: Cassadaga" - The artwork for "Cassadaga" was really not there. Peel off the plastic wrapper with the cool logo on it and what you're left with is an incomprehensibly gray album. What? That's when you discover the decoder that, when placed against the album reveals hidden pictures and messages. Very cool, but entirely gimmicky. My only complaint is that I now have to keep an eye on that decoder for the rest of my life or else the whole package is worthless. Thanks Conor!

#2: Boddicker: "Big Lionhearted and the Gallant Man" - For as much as I absolutely hated Boddicker's album (I gave it a 1 out of 10, if you recall), the artwork on the album was entirely cool. Not only were the samurais on the front cover neat, but everything from the type of paper it was printed on to the font used was really perfect. But I swear, if there was ever a deceiving piece of album art, this would be it. The only thing worse than Boddicker is death by drowning.

#1: Of Montreal: "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" - After 2005's pitiful artwork for "The Sunlandic Twins," the other Barnes brother came through big time with this beautiful piece of CD art. While the image itself may not be David Barnes' crowning achievement, the packaging is flawless. The shiny plastic slip case, the four-fold design, the glossy insert; everything about this one was perfect. You can judge this book by its cover, and chances are you'll hit the nail on the head. The music contained within is exactly what you'd expect from such a weird, yet awesome package.

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