Tuesday, March 12, 2013


So, Bowie's new album finally arrived.

I've been staring at the "altered" Heroes cover art, so obviously a placekeeper for some awesome secret art not leaked to the public ahead of the album release, wondering what the real album art would look like when I finally got to see it. Would it be an Impressionistic affair, a-la Hunky Dory? A photo of the Artiste in clown drag? Bizarro Gonzoid Bat Crap a-la Outside? This evening I peeled The Next Day out of it's mailer and saw the real thing for the first time in all its glory.

They went with the Heroes cover c/w white post-it obliterating the visage of the Great Man (circa 1977). Cunning. A double fake-out.

The CD itself has a blank white square in place of a track list, an artistic trick pioneered in a slightly different form by Faust (circa 1971), first on Faust, then on So Far. Retro recapitulation with minimal info-utility is obviously the motif here. I give this three Peter Gabriels out of Five for form over function.

The sleeve is what I believe the British now call "digipaks" or something equally horrid. What it is is a cardboard double-fold sleeve with a plastic insert on the right panel to hold the disc, a pocket on the left panel to hold the insert c/w lyric sheet and a picture of Mr Bowie glowering like an annoyed granddad out of the middle panel. That pocket has - wait for it - a black square obliterating a black background. It's the opposite of the CD on the opposite panel. Well, it would be if the CD had been white. Or the black background had been white.

And so onto the insert, which isn't a booklet but a folded bedsheet of reddish cartridge paper, one side with lyrics printed on it, t'other with a recapitulation of the front cover done in shades of red (with a blue post-it stuck in front of His face), a really annoying moire thing that has no thematic link with anything I can find in the packaging and a set of credits printed in a typeface so small I need a magnifying glass as thick as an antique fishing net float just to make it out.

I'd review the music but I'm so overcome with ennui and Goth/Emo depression from the art that I couldn't summon the energy to play it.

I did suck the whole thing into iTunes, which couldn't find the artwork to associate with the recording.

That's right; iTunes' artwork database is so flippin' lame it couldn't find the re-used artwork for the most anticipated album from one of the most famous music artists in the world on the day it was delivered to me via the Post Office.

Ziggy on a bike.

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