Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tool: What's Next?

The other day, I was thinking about Tool. Specifically, I was thinking about their album covers. It seems to me that Tool treat album covers as an artform unto itself. In this day of digital downloads, I'll still go to the store and buy a Tool CD. Take a look, they're all worth it:

Opiate

The first album (OK, it's actually an EP) was a little light on the artwork. What was included, however, was strange and vaguely unsettling - a theme that Tool would build on.

Undertow

The second album took on a much darker appearance. Dark enough that certain stores (I won't mention names, but they involve the syllable "Mart") refused to stock it. Tool's reaction to this was to release an alternate cover, just for these uptight merchants - a giant bar code.

Aenima

This is where Tool really started to push the envelope. It comes in a specially designed lenticular jewel case, so that when you tilt it, the cover image appears to move. There are several additional images in the liner notes that also appear to move when inserted into the lenticular cover.
The CD tray also features a lenticular "moving picture."

Lateralus

This album comes packaged in a translucent gray plastic sleeve with the band's name and the album title on the front, and the tracklist on the back. Removing the sleeve reveals an image similar to what one would expect to see in an anatomy text. The booklet that this is printed on is made of transparent plastic, and as each successive page is turned, another layer of the "body" is taken away, revealing musculature, bones, and eventually organs.

10,000 Days

as of this writing, this is the most recent Tool album. Unlike previous Tool albums, 10,000 Days isn't packaged in a Jewel case. It comes in something similar to a digi-pak, albeit one made of much stronger cardboard. This is necessary because of the two plastic lenses contained in a flap that, when used to view the liner notes, creates a 3-D stereoscopic effect.

See what I mean?
Not only are Tool's albums creatively packaged, but the packaging for each album is more interesting, fascinating and just plain cool than the last. This leads me to wonder: What awesome idea will they have for their next album? Time will tell, and I'll be right there at Best Buy to check it out.

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