Year 2022 means another year for musicians, seasoned and new, old and young to receive either another or their very first GRAMMY Award and we’re delighted to see the “best record package” section (our favorite section) has a lot of really good stuff.
The upcoming 64th GRAMMY Awards was supposed to be presented by Recording Academy on Monday, January 31 of 2022 but was postponed again thanks to COVID-19.
While it’s something to be sad about, just seeing the list of nominees still excites us, especially the ones under “Best Recording Package” category.
If you’re into collecting physical albums with unique, well conceptualized packaging then you must, if you can afford it, buy all five of them!
Well, just take a look at these!
#1 RECKLESS KELLY’S AMERICAN JACKPOT / AMERICAN GIRLS
Designed by: Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors
American country rock band, Reckless Kelly, released two albums together on July 24, 2020 entitled “American Jackpot” and “American Girls”. Both albums have ten songs each, a total of twenty new songs for their fans and for you, if you decide to get a copy.
The tracks are pressed on to standard black vinyl records with a blue colored center label for “American Girls” and a cream colored central label with red streak for “American Jackpot”. These are then housed inside two separate jackets both featuring Libertas of the Statue of Liberty.
For American Jackpot, the statue was drawn with an overall somber tone added with the red streak from the center label of the vinyl record. For American Girls, on the other hand, paints the statue in gold colors with a halo of light at the background.
The album also includes Handbooks No. 1 (for American Jackpot) and 2 (for American Girls) complete with illustrations and Willy Braun’s written description of each song.
#2 NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS’ CARNAGE
Designed by: Nick Cave & Tom Hingston, art directors
Carnage is Australian duo’s, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, first full-length album together disregarding their previous works in film music. The album was recorded during the lockdown and was released physically on June 18, 2021.
Before it was nominated for the GRAMMY award category, it was also nominated for Best Adult Contemporary Album in the 2021 ARIA Music Awards. So aside from having great packaging it also has great music.
The album’s vinyl package is simple, it’s completely white with black text printed on it. The vinyl jacket only holds the artists and the title of the album in bold and separated like this: CARN AG E, with the center letters in red and the others in black.
An addition to the package is the inner white sleeve printed with the same letter groupings, now in black, and the booklet with twenty four pages. The vinyl package houses a black vinyl record pressing of the album, greatly complementing the white and black color scheme of the vinyl album.
#3 2ND GENERATION FALANGAO SINGING GROUP & THE CHAIRMAN CROSSOVER BIG BAND’S PAKELANG
Designed by: Li Jheng Han & Yu Wei, art directors
The album is a Chinese album released on September 28, 2021 that holds ten tracks that features the sound of the Amis tribe in Taiwan with the addition of rock elements. It is a collaboration between the singing group from the Amis tribe and the popular rock band in Taiwan called The Chairman Crossover Big Band.
The title of the album, “Pakelang”, is one of the tribe’s many traditions. It is a music and dance celebration they do for many happy achievements and celebrations like promotion and completion of homes.
For this album a CD duplication was done. And the packaging is one that many would be really impressed about and would want to have a copy of. It’s like a part of a map with lands in shades of brown and white and the ocean in shades of blue and green.
What’s mind boggling is that, what I deem to be the waves of the ocean are in the form of human silhouettes. But the coolest part of it all is the inside of the packaging where there are two little pond-like cuts on the white CD holder.
#4 MATT BERNINGER’S SERPENTINE PRISON
Designed by: Dayle Doyle, art director
Frontman of indie band The National, Matt Berninger, released his debut studio album as a soloist on October 16, 2020. With his blessed classic baritone voice, his album was successful as it topped Belgian and Portuguese Albums charts, peaked at number 21 in Billboard’s US Top Rock Albums, and has even entered US Billboard 200 at number 161.
The packaging is a single vinyl jacket featuring the artwork done by art director Dayle Doyle. The artwork is a painting of Berninger sitting on a chair placed at the exact corner of a room with grayish walls and blue floor.
The jacket stores a 12 inch black vinyl pressing of his album with a center label printed with the letter “B” which stands for the label that released the album, Book Records.
#5 SOUL OF EARS’ ZETA
Designed by: Xiao Qing Yang, art director
Soul of Ears is a Chinese electronicore/trancecore band originating from HongKong and their album Zeta completes the list of nominees for the Best Recording Package category. The album has 13 tracks that speaks of how the future is affected by the damaging things humans have been doing in the present.
For the physical album, the band went with a CD duplication. The main packaging presents the band’s logo against what seems like a customized video static. Most of the inclusions like the booklet were artistically crumpled to give effect.
Album packaging can really go a long way. I’m sure you have been enticed to buy even just one of these amazingly packaged albums. Don’t stop yourself, don’t hesitate, buy a copy of the album that caught your eye now.
Before you do that, though, let me ask you two questions. What album do you think will win the award? And, what are your top 2 albums?
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.