Year-end CD clearout

16 12 2009

Digging through the massive stacks of CDs we get sent on a regular basis is always a thorny year-end dilemma at Monday HQ: what the hell do we do with hundreds of now-old albums, few of which we have either the time or desire to actually listen to? Some we’ll give away (as prizes in next week’s “Find the 25 M’s hidden on the cover” contest, for instance), some get handed out to staff as secret Santa floor gifts, some get shuffled into our ever-expanding Canadian/local album archive, but the vast majority will probably just end up relegated to the yawn bin. Perusing the discs, however, always turns up some interesting trends in cover art.

Take, for instance, the tasty offering above—The BQE by Sufjan Stevens—which, hands down, wins the prize for the most illegible album cover of the year. Seriously, dude, it’s cool and hip and quite the overall package, but don’t you want people to be able to read the name of the album . . . or the artist? It’s the same wack font on the spine, the liner notes and the disc itself; I had to hop online to the Asthmatic Kitty website to see what exactly this disc was called. Sheesh!

Also of note were the five—yep, five—copies of the Boys Noize album Power we received. Who’s Boys Noize? Who knows! Anytime I get five copies of an album—and this at a newspaper with only three full-time editorial staff, only one of which functions as our music writer—it just makes me want to not even listen to the disc . . . despite now having enough copies for my office, home, car, studio and the portable music player that I don’t even own. Want one? Take one, please. Did I mention we have five?

And apparently there’s something of a trend towards minimalist historical imagery of late, as evidenced by new discs by the British Columbians, Blackie Jackett Jr. and Boxcar Campfire. It probably seemed like a good idea, until everyone else started doing the same damn thing. And hey, the Band did it first.

—John Threlfall

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