The Best Packaging of 2010

Originally posted 2012-05-28 12:25:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

As compact discs increasingly earn the distinction of endangered species, it is important to point out artists who are still taking the medium seriously, offering up packages that include not simply a CD and a cover but also a larger, thematic concept that unites the physical components of the release.  The albums listed below have distinguished themselves in various ways, avoiding the temptation to release a cheap digi-pack with minimal thought evident.

The Ben Folds/Nick Hornby collaboration Lonely Avenue earns top honors here, as the special edition packaging included not only the CD and cover, but also a cleverly designed back cover, complete lyrics, and a hard cover booklet that features four short stories written by Hornby.  This is a unique arrangement and is clearly a standout example of packaging in 2010.

Others have created eye-catching covers and included multiple facets, such as lyrics booklets, posters, slip covers, and more.  The Gaslight Anthem was particularly creative, initially including a set of postcards which featured images of relevant locations and lyrics on the backs.  Arcade Fire, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Stone Temple Pilots have earned their places here with well-designed booklets that transcend the norm.

As always, I encourage you to share others that belong on this list (see the comments below), and I remind you to return every day for the rest of the year for a new list.  The best is yet to come, including the best music videos, songs, albums, and more!

1)  Lonely Avenue – Ben Folds & Nick Hornby

2)  American Slang – The Gaslight Anthem

3)  The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

4)  Mojo – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

5)  Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots

Honorable Mentions:

To The Sea – Jack Johnson

High Violet – The National

Worst Packaging:

Y Not – Ringo Starr

Bad Books – Bad Books

The BEST PACKAGING of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-22 10:00:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Album covers are nice, but there is something transcendent about artists who put their full effort into designing an album package that elevates their work beyond music alone and into the realm of physical art.  This year, the award for best album packaging has to go to Sonic Youth member Thurston Moore’s solo release Demolished Thoughts.  Though a fairly minimalist black and white design, there are – in addition to lyrics, the presence of which is no longer a foregone conclusion – a slew of drawings and a collection of poetry to complement the music.  Tom Waits’ deluxe edition of Bad As Me comes in a close second, the booklet alone being a visual and lyrical experience, and the four bonus tracks providing a little extra for the true fan.  Wilco’s deluxe edition design for The Whole Love, another close contender for the top spot, offers four additional tracks (with the wry take on Nick Lowe’s “I Love My Label”) and a beautiful booklet that includes a visually brilliant set of drawings.

Each of these albums is proof positive that there are quality physical releases still being produced, even in what is clearly the age of the digital release.  This being said, I couldn’t help but point out two of the many terribly thin and unrewarding packages to see the light of day this year.  These are, inversely, reason to stay at home and download.

1) Demolished Thoughts – Thurston Moore

2) Bad As Me (Deluxe Edition) – Tom Waits

3) The Whole Love (Deluxe Edition) – Wilco

4) Ukulele Songs – Eddie Vedder

5) Mine is Yours – Cold War Kids

6) Tripper – Fruit Bats

7) Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

8 ) So Beautiful or So What (Deluxe Limited Edition) – Paul Simon

9) The People’s Key – Bright Eyes

10) Wasting Light – Foo Fighters (includes a piece of the original master tape!)

 

Honorable Mention:

All Eternals Deck – The Mountain Goats

 

Worst Packaging:

No Color – Dodos

El Camino – The Black Keys

Best Packaging of 2012: A Weekend Review Special Edition

By Chris Moore:

The BEST PACKAGING of 2012

 

For this year, I’ll reserve my perennial rant on the decay of the album as an art form and the loss that is represented by the turn to digital delivery of music.  Instead, I’ll take this opportunity to point out three special albums this year that embraced the possibilities that are available for expanding the vision of the album to a more total view, including the physical representation of the themes and images of the music and lyrics.  The highlight of the year was Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel…, which presents drawings and handwritten lyrics which give the sense of flipping through a writer’s notebook.   Go Fly A Kite can be  fitted into place as a 3-D diorama, which is unique at the very least, not to mention that the lyrics include chords.  Finally, The Sound of the Life of the Mind is brilliantly designed, but for the fact that far too much space is taken up by names of fans who bought into the project as sponsors, particularly considering that there are no lyrics in the CD version, which is a shame based on how artful they are.

 

1)  The Idler Wheel… – Fiona Apple

2)  Go Fly A Kite – Ben Kweller

3)  The Sound of the Life of the Mind – Ben Folds Five