Judge a Book by its Cover, and Use a Look to Find a Lover

Well, I haven't written lately. To be quite honest, it's not because I don't have ideas, but because I wasn't sure if people reading this would be interested in them. But after hearing a couple positive comments about the site, I figured I'd get back to work, even if it is Monday and my brain is closed for repair.

Everyone knows the expression "you can't judge a book by its cover." Well, I've always taken umbrage with this statement. I've found that in most cases, you can judge a book by its cover. Either that, or a cover influences your opinion of the product within. What I'm saying is, either pretty people are nice because if one thinks ugly one will turn ugly, or you just look past ugliness when it's done by good looking people.

On that note, let me get to the point. I'm going to give you my year end music wrap-up illustrating this principle. It may ruffle some feathers, but as always, I'm open to debate in the comments section either here or on Facebook, where it is also posted.

Five Overrated Albums and Covers

5. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

When I checked this CD out, I tried to overlook the babyspeak title. Really, I did. The problem is not so much that, but the fact that the cover seemingly depicts a man working in an auto-body shop. So maybe the Ga Ga Ga etc. is some sort of pressurized drill or hydraulic lift noise? Hmmm. Well makes sense, since the drumming sounds like it was done by this one-handed crook we used to take our cars to.

4. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Ah Arcade Fire. I've never understood the fascination with this band, aside from a couple great songs on the last CD. I've never understood why, when people talk about them, they emphasize the word "Fire" rather than "Arcade." A fire in an arcade is remarkable because it's in an arcade, not because it's fire. Right? Anyway, everyone except me loves them, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's that way because of the perfect symmetry of the album cover. In these crazy, war-torn times, the last thing we need is some sort of Cubist layout.

3. Kanye West - Graduation/50 Cent - Curtis

Ok, everyone knows the story. These two were having a "battle" based on sales figures. 50 Cent was going to have to replace his wardrobe with Louis Vuitton backpacks and white polos if he lost. If Kanye's figures were worse, he'd have to get shot in the face 11 times.* Well, it quickly became apparent that this "competition" was just a parent record company hyping things, and while both albums had a song or two that got me, it's clear that these covers were half assed.

Kanye is a repeat offender, but this one takes the cake. So a bear got shot out of a fish's mouth with the Parthenon on its head. Ok, sounds alright so far. The problem is that one cloud looks like it's a man yanking out the tongue of another cloud-man. Not cool, brah.**

50 Cent's cover is weak. It's appropriate that the hit song "Ayo Technology" (the only good one on the CD) is on here. "Ayo, Technology! I copped one of them viruses!" If I had been in charge of this design I would've added question marks over his head. Please, no more covers that look like they're from a webcam.

2. Justice - Cross

Yeah, I said it. I haven't been to a hipster party in a year, but something tells me that if I'd gone to one, this would be playing. Why? Well, it's the type of knee slapping music whose fanbase loves it because it's ironically horrible. Why actually try to find something you like when you can just pretend you love something that you couldn't? Well, ok, you can get laid by some chick with a mullet (ironic, of course) because you dance to it.

But after that wears off, you take the pubes out of your mouth and start to realize, this music is shit. Maybe you should've checked out the cover first. It features a cross (ironically, since there isn't a good "beat" on the album***) straight out of a 7th grade 3 subject notebook, and nothing else. Struggle to see something in the murky black depths of the cover.

1. Soulja Boy - Crank Dat

As for the song.. dude, Crime Mob is so 2004. The fonts are Romeo Must Die and (more) 7th grade 3 subject notebook. I bet he's on the phone with his agent at Interscope, who's telling him that he has to pay yet another fee. "How much?" Soulja boy asks, with shock on his face. "$135," the agent responds, "the amount you conveniently have in your hand." Sorry Soulja, you're fighting a war you can't win.

Five Underrated Albums and Covers

5. White Williams - Smoke

This reminds me of "Middlesex" in two ways. Words get spelled out in smoke, which is Alice in Wonderlandish. Also, the music is sung by a dude, but has this vague sexual element, leading to a sort of gender bender bender that is clearly shown on the cover. Plus, I heard hookah pipes are boss.

4. Kavinsky - 1986 EP

Kavinsky could teach Soulja Boy a thing or two about fonts. An S in blood, LED says 1986, backwards K on the letter-jacket. See, it's the subtle things, like the rolling hillside in his glasses, or the hands on the biceps, that make this cover stand out. The same can be said for the music, which is really awesome and upbeat, until you get these little notes in the songs that slip a little bit of dread in your drink. Perfect, since the whole concept of the band is that a high school jock died and has come back as a zombie.

3. DJ Copy - Diva Mixtape

I'm not sure when this came out, but since information on it is scarce, I figured that it counted. Obviously, this is cool because of bare breasts, just like the music is obviously cool because it has songstresses such as TLC and Mariah Carey over some buzzing and perfectly-placed horns. But the cartoon diva faces are fresh and upbeat, just like the music. This is what you'll be singing in your shower after you lose your virginity.****

2. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

Sure, this one is popular. But I get the impression that it's that type of music that people say they like when they don't enjoy it at all. In fact, a handful of friends took time to tell me how much this blew with a sour look on their faces.

How appropriate then, that the cover shows food. At first, I thought the jam was blood. But it works, because maybe it is blood. Maybe the strawberries are bleeding. Maybe the bleeding is good, like a leeching. Then it's all the circle of life, and the music sounds as good as the Lion King's does. Get it? Neither do I, but the music sounds good right after I've taken my medicine.

1. Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X

First off, this isn't the album's artwork. It's more from the oeuvre, nay, the treasure chest of Glass Candy. What makes it so great? A hot chick. Not going to lie, that's all it is. Do I love the music because the woman on the front is so hot? I don't know, maybe Soulja Boy should put "The Birth of Venus" on his next CD. Even if it was called "The Squirt of Penis" I would still check it out.*****

As for the music, this is what Justice should sound. This is what all music should sound like. Like a pretty girl has nothing to do but sing in a run down 70s dance-club where only you frequent. So, obviously the lead singer will date you, even if you look like Phillip Seymour Hoffman. For a sample, check out this.

Am I just a whore for visuals? I knew cartoons would ruin me when I grew up. Also, too late for inclusion were Wyclef's Carnival II (looks good) and Wu-tang's 8 Diagrams (we get it, 8 members).

* Not really, but it would've been cool if they had.
** A reference to the fact that many of Kanye's fans are the type that would call him "brah"
*** Too soon?
**** Nothing to say here, just wanted to "copy" David Foster Wallace's gratuitous use of footnotes.
***** Sorry, this entry has taken a gross turn.


Anonymous said...

you're speaking shit about cross, its a great album that 'hipsters' clearly finds invigorates the dance scene. clearly you haven't been out to any clubs recently, but if you had you might be more exposed to the kind of good music that justice is very good at. also, if you had watched the video mfor 'stress', you'd know the ironic relevance of the album cover

Drew said...

eh, chalk it up to a quarter-life crisis-fueled rant. i've danced to it in williamsburg, hipster ground zero (which makes me a hipster, i guess) lately, and you're right, not bad.