12 March 2010

[type] The Greatest Modern Album Cover To Date

I love album covers, even though they've become small.

Hey, things change. Vinyl LPs are a niche product now, and that's just the way things are. But the big covers … aaah, I digress.

The Chumbawama release, The Boy Bands Have Won, is not one I've ever listened to. But I would pick it up on the strength of this cover:

The Boy Bands Have Won is the title you'll usually hear, but it's not the whole title. The whole title is that big block of text, which runs:

The boy bands have won. And all the copyists and the tribute bands and the TV talent show producers have own. If we allow our culture to be shaped by mimcry, whether from lack of ideas or exaggerated respect, you should never try to freeze culture. What you can do is recycle that culture. Take your older brother's hand-me-down jacket and re-style it. Re-fashion it to the point where it becomes your own. But don't just regurgitate creative history, or hold art and music and literature as fixed, untouchable and kept under glass. The people who want to try to 'guard' any particular form of music are, like the copyists and manufactured bands, doing it the worst disservice, because the only thing that you can to do music that will damage it is NOT change it, NOT make it your own. Because then it dies, then it's over, then it's done and the boy bands have won.

So that's the whole title. I understand it holds the world record for the length of album titles. I like the way it tells us that what we do should be influenced by what comes before, if any sort of art is to be healthy, and even though we all stand on shoulders of giants if we try to create anything our own individual humanness is what makes things unique.

And I don't mean to say I dislike pictures as cover art – far from it. But every time I tell people you can draw pictures with type, I want to point out things like this. Color. Arrangement of type. Message. It hooks you, or you need to check for a pulse.

I've already crufted too much commentary on this. Add your own – here or in yo'head.

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Benjamin Lukoff said...

Hmm. Are there more words on the Chumbawumba cover, or on the cover for XTC's Go2? http://publish.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/xtc_go_2_cover_500.gif

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Wholly Moley! That's even more abstract! I love it!

I don't have the time to do a wordcount right now, but it looks like it probably is more than the Chumbawamba disc – but the XTC graphic is more of a caption than an album title, I'd say.

stan said...

In other news, Chumbawamba still exists.

Benjamin Lukoff said...

Oh, so that whole thing is the actual title of the Chumbawamba album? Makes me think of Fiona Apple's "When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring
There's no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter, cuz you'll know that you're right" — but apparently Chumbawamba beat her by a number of characters.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Yeah, that is apparently actually, the complete title of the album – but most people refer to it as The Boy Bands Have Won – obvious reasons.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

@Stan: yeah, they're still kicking it, amazingly enough. Making music seems to be more than just getting together and making albums, but more of a statement and a lifestyle to them.

And it's hard for people like that to stay togehther for as long as they have. It's kind of amazing when you think about it.