Best Packaging of 2012: A Weekend Review Special Edition

Originally posted 2013-02-11 23:25:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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

The BEST ALBUM COVERS of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-21 20:00:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Even with digital releases, there are album covers.  This seems to be the final facet of the artistry of the album that will survive into the next generation of music consumers, especially considering just how much we like colorful displays on our technology.  Still, there’s something so much more gorgeous about a CD booklet or, even better, a vinyl LP.  The five selections below – with an honorable mention thrown in because I couldn’t ignore it – are examples of the artists who still give attention to the complete package of their albums.  It was a tight contest between the top three, and these are all albums worth checking out the next time you’re in a store that offers records, even if you’re only going to take a glance.

1) Sky Full of Holes – Fountains of Wayne

2) The King of Limbs – Radiohead

3) Cloud Maintenance – Kevin Hearn

4) The Valley – Eisley

5) The Whole Love – Wilco

 

Honorable Mention:

Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

The BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCES of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-01-16 20:00:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

This is a tough category.  All of the songs on the my upcoming top fifty songs list have excellent vocals, many of which are standout performances.  However, there are also songs that go unrecognized on the top fifty list that are notable for their outstanding vocals.  Thus, as a rule, songs included in the top fifty list are not considered here.

I suppose you could consider this my way of sneaking in an extra ten songs that I didn’t find room for on my best songs list, but I hope you’ll consider it an additional category.  These ten songs are great in their own rights, but especially by virtue of the excellence of their vocals.  Some are smooth, some are rough; some are passionately outraged, some are tenderly heartfelt.  Taken together, they’re the standout vocal performances of 2011:

1) “Something to Believe In” – Parachute (The Way It Was)

2) “Estate Sale Sign” – The Mountain Goats (All Eternals Deck)

3) “Blue Spotted Tail” – Fleet Foxes (Helplessness Blues)

4) “Shakin’ All Over” – Wanda Jackson (The Party Ain’t Over)

5) “2012” – The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (La Carotte Bleue)

6) “When You Wish Upon A Star” – Brian Wilson (In the Key of Disney)

7) “Talking At The Same Time” – Tom Waits (Bad As Me)

8 ) “Sunloathe” – Wilco (The Whole Love)

9) “Bridge Burning” – Foo Fighters (Wasting Light)

10) “Amy, I” – Jack’s Mannequin (People And Things)

 

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

Originally posted 2012-01-21 10:00:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Every year, there are a wide variety of compilations, best of’s, essentials, greatest hits, and retrospectives that are released.  I usually only buy one here or there.  This year, there were three outstanding compilations, which are recognized below.  In each case, the packaging is excellent, notable if only for the excellent attention to liner notes that provide further context and insight into the tracks.  Even though all three were of high quality, Ben Folds’ reasonably-priced, beautifully packaged, well-selected Best Imitation of Myself takes the prize without debate.

1) The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective – Ben Folds

2) Twenty – Pearl Jam

3) Outside Society – Patti Smith