The Best Packaging of 2010

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 Gaslight Anthem’s “American Slang” (2010) – Yes, No, or Maybe So

The Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang (2010) – MAYBE

The Gaslight Anthem's "American Slang" (2010)

The Gaslight Anthem's "American Slang" (2010)

(June 15, 2010)


If you ever wondered what Bruce Springsteen would have sounded like had he been born into the alternative/punk rock legacy, well… the time has come; American Slang suffers a bit from homogeneity of sound, but each of the ten tracks here unfolds as a vivid landscape that transports the listener to a new and yet not entirely unfamiliar locale.

Top Two Tracks:

“Orphans” & “The Diamond Church Street Choir”