Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Will Follow


There are certain album covers that tell you all you need to know about the artist and their music. It doesn't matter if the albums these particular photographs grace are the best or the worst in the artists canon, there is just something about their covers that seem to absolutely define them.
Whether it is Lou Reed holding a mirror up to himself on the cover of The Bells or Marc Bolan hazily staring straight into the camera on T. Rex's The Slider, certain shots just nail it.
I feel that way about the cover shot of Alison Goldfrapp on the cover of Goldfrapp's recently released Seventh Tree. The album itself is a mesmerizing experience that returns the group to the silent and eerie splendour of their first platter, 2000's Felt Mountain. Honestly, I am not sure where I would rank Seventh Tree yet in relation to the rest of their catalogue but it is a wondrous work and the cover shot of Alison has totally bewitched me. The last time I remember being so struck by an album cover was over a decade ago when Bowie's Earthling came out.
Everything I love about Alison Goldfrapp can be seen in this photo. From the defiant follow me if you dare stare to the Napoleon hat sitting on top of her head. It's a beautiful and bold shot that invites her fans to keep following her, but the intense and near crazed look in her eye states strongly that she will go it completely alone if she has to. It's as bold and brilliant as the music inside, and a potent reminder to the power and importance of actually holding an album in your hands as opposed to just downloading it.
The special edition of the album is a thing of beauty in itself. Housed in a sturdy and thick hardshell casing with postcards, a fold out poster, a booklet of handwritten lyrics and drawings and a bonus DVD, Goldfrapp seem to be one of the last bands capable of understanding the beauty of the package.
The Seventh Tree will confound a lot of her fans and convert a lot more. It's unfortunate that the album was leaked online several months ago as no doubt it has hurt sales. It's an achingly beautiful and strange collection of psychedelic balladry with more than a touch of The Wicker Man, Syd Barrett and William Blake thrown in for good measure. Whether it ranks among her best work remains to be seen but it is absolutely a splendid addition to one of modern music's most impressive catalogues.

6 comments:

Steve Langton said...

I've heard quite a few tracks from this band but don't own any of their recordings (I only buy a couple of CDs each year). I saw them perform A&E on the BBC a couple of evenings ao and rate them highly. Great post on the album cover. I fully agree the pleasure you can get through the packaging must far outweigh simply downloading music. Something I've never done and never will.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Steve,
I appreciate the comments...I think FELT MOUNTAIN or BLACK CHERRY are the two best starting points but all of the albums are really exciting and worthwhile...funny about A&E as I think it is the weakest track on the new album, which shows how strong the record is as a whole...thanks again

Rogue Spy 007 said...

I don't have this particular album of theirs, but I've wanted to get it. I love their music. I prefer buying CDs to downloading music. I always love opening a new CD and seeing what's inside. I love this cover. You did a great description of it. She does have this sort of wild and crazed look to her. It's like she's daring you to follow her to where she's going. If you don't follow, then she's fine with me. This cover alone would sell this album for me. I have actually bought albums in the past solely on the cover if I wasn't sure what the music sounded like.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith,
I think you will dig the album whenever you can get...it's a real beauty...

Steve Langton said...

If A&E is the weakest, it must be some album. I'm really intrigued now. Have to see if the missus will take pity on me and let me buy the album. Seriously,I really must get round to buying one of the albums, and will remember your advice. Cheers for that.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Steve,
Would love to hear your thoughts on the album if you pick it up....