As much as I appreciate the convenience of mp3 files, I don’t want to see the CD disappear. Yes, the music is the focus, but I need packaging. I need a visual to associate with a collection of songs that I still call “an album.” I need liner notes. I need a jewel case sitting on my desk to remind me that somebody wanted me to look at an image while I digest the music, adding depth to an experience that’s more than just simply listening.

I can remember when music first began to make a serious impact on me, I’d sit and listen, carefully examining every inch of an LP sleeve – reading and absorbing the photography, colors and artwork. It was all part of the experience and it made my appreciation of the artist and album more complete. I still feel this way.

The recent Lloyd Cole disc – “Music in a Foreign Language” is a great example of a CD package that perfectly compliments and completes the experience of listening to the music. Obviously designed with care, everything about it – from the dull finish slipcase to its muted palette – enhances the music by setting a visual tone that matches the largely acoustic, understated and introspective songs.

In this world of iPods, playlists and disposable art, I’m one guy who still appreciates the thought and talent that goes into a well designed package of music.


Publication date: 26/07/04