Metallica and Radiohead Album Covers Win Grammy
Just like similar competitions the Grammy Awards feature a staggering amount of categories – the 51st edition had no less than 110 winners. The general consensus amongst music connoisseurs is that musically the Grammies have little relevance. Many relevant contemporary acts are nowhere to be found amongst the nominations nor the winners. So frankly I couldn't be bothered with them too much.
Nevertheless there are two fields that interest me as they relate to topics which are covered on The FontFeed – Field 24 – Package and Field 31 – Music Video. Let's take a look at who was nominated, and who won the coveted award.
Best Recording Package
Metallica | Death Magnetic
Bruce Duckworth, Sarah Moffat & David Turner, art directors
So Metallica won the Grammy for Best Recording Package… Figures – everybody knows sex sells, so having a vagina on your cover wins over any jury. Aw come on, really, you know I'm right – stop fooling yourself! :D I can imagine how the meeting with the art directors went. "So Lars and James, what do you think?" "Well, the album is called Death Magnetic, so having a coffin shaped hole with iron shavings around it revealing a magnetic field… errr… isn't that a little too obvious?" "Very perceptive, gents, but now squint your eyes a little and take another look." "What do you mea… Ooh! Whoa, Lars, is that a…?" "Wha… Ooh, James, now I see it! Oooooh!" "Heh heh heh…" "Hee hee hee!" "Har har har!" I guess they all left that meeting giggling like school girls, the bunch of juvenile nincompoops. :P
Seriously, you can deduce from my review last Ocober that I find it hard to believe this is the best album packaging released last year. And the logo is supposed to have been fine-tuned? Maybe a more radical redesign was in order. But I haven't seen the inside pages, so maybe that part is genius. I wouldn't know.
Hawk Nelson | Hawk Nelson …Is My Friend!
Don Clark, art director
Hawk Nelson …Is My Friend! is loads of fun; fresh and joyous. The retro illustration is very nice – it reminds me of the Foster's Home of Imaginary Friends animated series my kids sometimes watch – with a stylish colour palette and picture-perfect typography. The style is right up Rian Hughes' alley: the brushy sans is Agent Of The Uncanny from Device Fonts. And the casual serif face with curly bits is appropriately called Twister, a design by Jason Walcott.
No Age | Nouns
No Age & Brian Roettinger, art directors
The album cover for No Age's Nouns is a typical product of its time. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. It successfully appropriates the current fad of restrained designs featuring type so fat its counters disappear. I think it is very efficient and probably makes the album cover stand out in the colourful cacophony usually seen on shop displays.
Thievery Corporation | Radio Retaliation
Neal Ashby, Matthew Curry & Patrick Donohue, art directors
Radio Retaliation is another example a subdued album cover that stands out in the crowd. Will you mock me if I admit I don't quite understand what's behind the design? The only thing I can think of is that Thievery Corporation create music that sounds like a soundtrack intended to make your life seem way cooler than it actually is. I can imagine you feel like an invincible urban ninja when cruising the city while listening to their music through your headphones, so that might be the connection.
The Ditty Bops | Summer Rains
Amanda Barrett, Abby DeWald, Renee Jablow & Rick Whitmore, art directors
The Green Witch Society
Summer Rains with its dream-like atmosphere has a completely different style than Hawk Nelson …Is My Friend! but it is just as much fun and very witty, a bit like a Glen Baxter cartoon. The band name made up of seagulls and the album title integrated in the rain made me laugh.
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
It's impossible to comment on limited edition packages if you can't actually hold them, open them and discover what's inside, so I will refrain from commenting. Radiohead's In Rainbows won the award.
Nine Inch Nails | Ghosts I-IV
Jeff Anderson, Trent Reznor & Rob Sheridan, art directors
The Null Corporation
A PDF of the artwork for Ghosts I-IV can be viewed on Issuu.
Radiohead | In Rainbows
Stanley Donwood, Mel Maxwell & Christiaan Munro, art directors
Wu Sheng | Poems & Songs
Qing-Yang Xiao, art director
Ring of Fire Music
Panic At The Disco | Pretty.Odd.
Alex Kirzhner & Panic At The Disco, art directors
Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen
Aimee Mann | @#%&*! Smilers
Aimee Mann & Gail Marowitz, art directors
Interview on Wired with artist Gary Taxali who did the artwork for @#%&*! Smilers.
Best Short Form Music Video
Erykah Badu | Honey
Erykah Badu & Mr. Roboto, video directors; Megan Gutman, video producer
Gnarls Barkley – New Music – More Music Videos
Gnarls Barkley | Who's Gonna Save My Soul
Chris Milk, video director; Anne Johnson, video producer
Alicia Keys & Jack White | Another Way To Die
PR Brown & MK12, video directors; Dexton Deboree, Lance Ebeling, Mick Ebeling, Sheira Rees-Davies & Jane Tredget, video producers
Radiohead | House Of Cards
James Frost, video director; Dawn Fanning, video producer
Weezer | Pork And Beans
Mathew Cullen, video director; Bernard Rahill, video producer
Winner of this category. And deservedly so if I may add. This clever spoof on the YouTube hypes is one of the funniest music promos of the past year.
Best Long Form Music Video
John Mayer | Where The Light Is – Live In Los Angeles
Danny Clinch, video director; Lindha Narvaez, video producer
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Runnin' Down A Dream
Peter Bogdanovich, video director; Skot Bright, video producer
Winner of this category.
Rihanna | Good Girl Gone Bad Live
Paul Caslin, video director; John Paveley, Ruth Paveley & Rupert Style, video producers
Def Jam/SRP Records/Mercury Music Group/Universal Music
Respect Yourself | The Stax Records Story
Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville, video directors; Mark Crosby, Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville, video producers
Stax/Tremolo Productions/Concord Music Group
The Who | Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who
Paul Crowder & Murray Lerner, video directors; Robert Rosenberg & Nigel Sinclair, video producers
Universal Home Entertainment