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Best of 2007: Top 5 album packs

November 10, 2007

Goodnight Believer will be closed over December/January, so I’m getting in early with some of the year-end lists. Today, it’s a look at the best album packaging of the year. Honestly, I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality of album covers that I’ve bought this year – and some have been downright astounding.

#5 Band of Horses – Cease to Begin (Sub Pop)

Band of Horses - Cease to Begin

They’ve done it before, but Band of Horses’ use of photo postcards is still exceptional. Christopher Wilson’s shots, mostly taken in BoH’s new home of South Carolina, are beautiful and worth the price of admission alone.

#4 The National – Boxer (Beggars’ Banquet)

The National - Boxer

An album that looks exactly the way it sounds – moody, nocturnal and gutsy. The cover photo of the band playing to an elderly audience with minimal lighting is just classic and prepares you for the gritty but beautiful sounds contained on the disc. This is an album cover that will never date.

#3 Blonde Redhead – 23 (4AD)

Blonde Redhead - 23

Definitely the oddest cover of the year – and for Blonde Redhead’s most straightfoward album yet. The little red cardboard band is annoying to get off and on again, but it looks stunning. And the four-legged tennis-player is just as beautiful and unexpected as the album.

#2 Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog (Sub Pop)

Iron & Wine - The Shepherd’s Dog

This one gets in the list for the lyrics sheet alone. It’s a full poster-sized represenation of the album cover on one side and a block-printy collection of song lyrics on the other. The creepy, fauvish painting of the eponymous dog on the cover is also outstanding.

#1 Menomena – Friend and Foe (Barsuk)

Menomena - Friend and Foe

Menomena have made a mark with previous album covers and this one is especially good. The bizarre and intricate cartoons on the cover and the disc are almost mythological in scope. And the album tracks are listed around the disc like an alternative zodiac. Off the wall in the best possible way.

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