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
To The Sea – Jack Johnson
High Violet – The National
Y Not – Ringo Starr
Bad Books – Bad Books