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What Your CD's Packaging Says About You: A 29-Point Psychological Roadmap

Splendid, as you've probably realized by now, reviews everything it receives. Accordingly, we receive a crapload of CDs -- 28 crates-ful awaiting review at last count. One of the things we've learned over the past eight and a half years is that jewel cases and digipaks are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to compact disc packaging; indeed, there are more music packaging options in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by your average philosophy major, who may well be considering his choices right now as he puts the finishing touches on his latest bedroom opus.

As we've been exposed to this wealth of CD packaging options, we've made a discovery: the way you package your CD says a lot about you as a person... Sometimes it doesn't say what you think it does, but it's always a revealing insight into your psyche. With that in mind, we polled all the psychology majors on our staff and pieced together this highly revealing list. Each of the following packaging items, even the crazy-sounding ones, has actually been received in the Splendid office at least once...


Standard Jewel Case
What You Think It Says: You may be an edgy motherfucker, musically speaking, but you take community standards seriously.
What It Actually Says: You sleep better at night knowing that no matter how shitty this particular album may be, it'll always be accepted at used CD stores.

Jewel-Case With That C-Fold Piece Of Paper That Goes Over The Top
What You Think It Says: It's important to you that your albums look as special as they sound.
What It Actually Says: You like to waste money. And paper.

"Reused" Jewel Case
What You Think It Says: You're a canny, environmentally minded consumer, and you don't want to be responsible for bringing any more plastic into the world. Also, you're cheap.
What It Actually Says: You're hoping music consumers are as dumb as the people who bought all those pre-faded, pre-stressed jeans. You're probably right. And cheap.

The Jewel Case That Came With the CDR (Complete With The CDR-Manufacturer's Inner Tray Artwork)
What You Think It Says: Your music is so hot, so edgy, so now that there just wasn't time to make artwork, dude!
What It Actually Says: You're lazy, and/or such an incompetent graphic designer that the "Maxell" card in the inner tray looks better than anything you could whip up in Paint Shop Pro.

Slimline Jewel Case
What You Think It Says: Hey, look how European you are!
What It Actually Says: Hey, look how much more easily this case shatters in transit! You're screwed!

Colored Slimline Jewel Case
What You Think It Says: Wow, these colored cases make your CD look like a pricey import!
What It Actually Says: You buy your CDRs at Wal-Mart. Edgy.

Round "Clamshell"-Style Case
What You Think It Says: You're just starting out in the big, crazy music business, and while your presentation isn't the flashiest, your earnestness and down-home talent will shine through and make you a star.
What It Actually Says: Your CD will automatically be sent to the new guy. Poor bastard.

That One-Piece Plastic Case Where You Press the Button and the Little Plastic Arm Pushes the CD Out of a Slot in the Side
What You Think It Says: If your case is this cutting edge, imagine what your music must sound like!
What It Actually Says: You didn't care enough about your CD to make cover art, and secretly you're pretty sure that it'll never earn a space on our CD shelves with all the real albums. But that's okay -- we'll have fun shooting it across the room.

Standard Digipak
What You Think It Says: You're a hip musician who cares about the environment.
What It Actually Says: You follow the herd -- but it's a smaller herd. Your idea of rebellion is drinking Pepsi, eating at Burger King and -- possibly -- using a Mac.

Gatefold Digipak
What You Think It Says: Your artistic ambitions can't be constrained by conventional boundaries.
What It Actually Says: You have a friend who's an out-of-work graphic designer.

Custom Diecut Package With Lots of Fold-Out Bits, An Envelope, A Paper Ribbon to Keep It Closed, Et Cetera
What You Think It Says: Your dominance of the arts extends far beyond mere music. Your complex packaging is a window into your complex soul.
What It Actually Says: You are Canadian. Also, you probably have OCD.

Plain White Cardboard Sleeve
What You Think It Says: You are cutting-edge, but also discreet.
What It Actually Says: Your work is virtually unmarketable. Also, there's a better-than-fifty percent chance that people who meet you at parties will forget your name within thirty seconds.

Four-Color Cardboard Sleeve
What You Think It Says: You are creative but economical.
What It Actually Says: You haven't quit your day job.

Oversized "Natural" Cardboard Sleeve that Must Be Torn Open, and Effectively Ruined, to Access the Disc
What You Think It Says: Listening to your record for the first time is a unique and magical experience that can never be recaptured.
What It Actually Says: You are an attention sponge. Everything always has to be about you. At least one lover has ended a relationship by attempting physical violence against you.

Plastic Slip-Cover with Foldover Flap and That White Plastic/Fabric Thing That Separates the Artwork From the Disc
What You Think It Says: You're economy-minded, but also a record collector at heart, and you want to deliver the full experience -- artwork and all -- without the added cost and weight of a jewel case.
What It Actually Says: You're a fruity West Coast type who's sick and tired of people selling your promos to stores who buy them just to get the jewel cases.

Outer Sleeve Of 5.25" Diskette
What You Think It Says: You are an edgy electronic musician whose ironic appreciation of the old-school technology gives your music added weight and credibility.
What It Actually Says: You have signed at least two "Save Enterprise" petitions. Hey, think about it -- you were enough of a geek to actually have access to old 5.25" diskettes.

Handmade Package That Incorporates Parts of an Old Digipak
What You Think It Says: Your clever subversion of this packaging is a biting commentary on the ephemeral state of today's music.
What It Actually Says: If it wasn't for home recording, you'd be living in a shed in the woods, making bombs.

Another CD's Packaging, Modified In Some Ironic Fashion
What You Think It Says: Today's music is a disease. You're the cure.
What It Actually Says: You buy a lot of shitty albums that the used CD store won't take.

A Metal Tin
What You Think It Says: Your music is extra-strong; it cannot be contained by mere paper and plastic.
What It Actually Says: You get a lot of AOL CDs.

Hand-Sewn Cloth Bag
What You Think It Says: Your music is kinder/gentler/warmer than everything else out there.
What It Actually Says: You still live with your parents, who wish they'd asked you a few more questions when you told them that there were "Lots of jobs" for people with an MA in Comparative Philosophy.

Stapled-Together Paper Sleeve
What You Think It Says: Your music is like lightning in a bottle -- raw creativity captured on CD. No packaging can ever truly do it justice.
What It Actually Says: You and your friends made an album after school because the XBox was broken and Josh couldn't find his dad's porn stash.

Two Embossed Pieces of Card Stock, Sewn Together By Hand
What You Think It Says: Your delicate artistic sensibilities are second to none.
What It Actually Says: There are human body parts in your fridge behind the ketchup.

A DVD Keepcase
What You Think It Says: Your music is cinematic in scope, ambition and sonic quality.
What It Actually Says: AOL really wants you as a customer.

Two Pieces of Sheet Metal Held Together By a Bolt Through the Spindle-Hole
What You Think It Says: Your music is as cold and sharp and unflinching as metal.
What It Actually Says: Your record is only worth listening to once, but funky packaging may make it easier to give away afterwards.

CD in Jewel Case Inner Tray, Wrapped in CD Booklet
What You Think It Says: You have the ability to reduce all art -- music, packaging, whatever -- to its fundamental essence.
What It Actually Says: You're the sort of irritating twat who, to this day, gets into arguments with people over whether 2000 or 2001 was the true start of the new millennium.

CD Wrapped in CD Booklet
What You Think It Says: You are the essence of Punk Rock and DIY, providing the music and the message, period -- no filler.
What It Actually Says: You really had no idea how much releasing a CD was going to cost, and this is your last ditch effort to save a few bucks.

White Paper Envelope
What You Think It Says: You like to let people in on your creative process at the early stages -- long before an album is finished.
What It Actually Says: You're fully aware that 99 out of 100 people will throw your CD away after listening to it.

An E-Mail
What You Think It Says: Deep down, you know that your music is so amazing that you don't need to make the time and money investment that other people do -- and as soon as the recipient listens to it, he/she will agree, and will praise your good sense.
What It Actually Says: You're a fucking idiot.

Loose in the Mailer
What You Think It Says: You just don't care.
What It Actually Says: You are aware that music reviewers sometimes consume beverages -- and when they do, they need something to put those beverages down on so as not to make a nasty white ring on the nice wooden desk/table/whatever.

-- George Zahora

Think you're some sort of clever boots? Why not send us your damn list? Come up with a creative topic and make certain to include artist, title, and label information. If we use your list, we'll send you some sort of prize...most likely a Splendid t-shirt. Or not, if you'd rather we don't.

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The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

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12/29/2005:
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Blacklisted

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12/28/2005:
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12/27/2005:
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Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
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Big Star

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Lair of the Minotaur

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