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 Spoken Word Tracks of 2010

Originally posted 2010-12-27 10:00:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The BEST SPOKEN WORD TRACKS of 2010

Welcome back to the second and final week of the Weekend Review Presents… lists.  This is your source for twelve categories (plus a thirteenth honoring original Christmas music) designed to recognize a wide span of new music from the year of 2010.

The list today revolves around spoken word tracks.  Granted, there are not all that many songs with spoken word components, never mind the number out of those that are standouts.

That being said, there are a few that deserve mention.

The best of the year has to be “Things You Think,” the spoken word collaboration between Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, and Pomplamoose.  It’s a quirky little track with an outstanding set of lyrics and a pleasant chorus that’s sure to get stuck in your head.  This one’s not a surprise, as it was Ben Folds who orchestrated William Shatner’s spoken word/rock/alt/country/(insert genre here) album Has Been, one of the best albums of 2004 and arguably one of the best albums of all time.  (That is, if you can decide which genre it belongs in…)

Another highlight of the year in music is the closing track to the Scissor Sisters’ Night Work.  “Invisible Light” concludes with an excellent spoken word delivery that conjures — and respectably so — vintage late sixties/early seventies Moody Blues.  And, with that, I think it’s official: enough said.

A final addition to this brief list comes, surprisingly (for me), from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, an album that has more than made the rounds on this year’s “best of” lists.  I’m as surprised as anyone who knows me or is familiar with my tastes and opinions, but West’s album is a fine example of gathering the best aspect of several genres, perspectives, and directions in sound.  The opening track “Dark Fantasy” begins with a brief but fitting spoken word track that caught my attention for what followed.

All in all, this hasn’t exactly been a big year for great spoken word tracks.  As always, if I’ve missed any, please add them in below, and I’ll check them out immediately.  Barring that, these are my picks, and I invite you back for another list tomorrow!

1)  “Things You Think” – Ben Folds & Nick Hornby feat. Pomplamoose (Lonely Avenue bonus track)

2)  “Invisible Light” – Scissor Sisters (Night Work)

3)  “Dark Fantasy” – Kanye West (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)