17 February 2016

The Dark Side of Album Art

As a child of the '70s and '80s, I long nostalgically for the "lost art" of album art.

You kids today with your iShuffles and MPod3 players listening to your dubby steps and emoticon music... Y'all don't know nothin' 'bout going up to the Record Bar or Sounds Familiar ('sup, Darius!) and plunking down 7 or 8 of your hard-earned grass-cuttin' dollar$ for the latest album by your favorite band. That album you waited a whole damn *year* for them to drop (or eight -- thanks, Boston).

Y'all don't know nothin' 'bout digging through crates upon crates of albums at Papa Jazz, or pouring through stacks and stacks of indie 7" singles & EP's at Manifest back when it was on Main St. (yo, Carl!) -- so tiny and cluttered, but it *defined* the word "cool".

And then going home and devouring the album art and the liner notes while listening to the whole thing sequentially, like the band intended it to be heard. Musing at the sometimes-wacky, sometimes-thought-provoking album art. Reading along with the lyric sheets (if they were included), all the while picturing in your own mind what the songs were really about.

For you see, in this age of digital consumption, when a band releases a new album, most of us download the 2 or 3 tracks we like, and we ignore the rest. Forget those deep album cuts we'd catch ourselves singing in the shower 30 years later. No, those other tracks are lost to the ethereal bit bucket and forgotten. And as we move on, we could often care less...

But what is really lost is even more intangible, and bigger than we realize: We are robbed of that all-encompassing full-album experience.

And what made that experience so big and so all-encompassing was the fact that it wasn't intangible at all. It was the very *tangibility* of holding that album cover and dust jacket in your hand *while you listened* to the whole B-side that made "listening to my LP's" an actual event -- an experience.


And so, lads and lassies, I wish to present to you something quite wacky and cool that I ran across; something that fellow aficionados of old-school album art will appreciate and find most amusing:

The Dark Side of Album Art

Enjoy... :-D


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