This is another one of those times when I ask whoever reads this stuff to weigh in with an opinion.
As you may or may not know, I set myself the somewhat ridiculous goal of releasing four full-length albums this year (it would have been easy enough a decade ago when I didn’t care one bit about anything resembling professionalism or craft; it’s a bit of a different story these days), and I’m working on the second one right now. I hoped to have it completed and ready for public consumption by the end of this month, but it turns out there’s a bit more work to do than I thought there was. Coming up with new material faster than you can keep up with it will cause that to happen, it seems. Because of that, any album I make is continuously shifting and changing shape up until the very last second.
So a May release is looking a little more realistic right now. If I really wanted to go crazy, I could probably get it out there right at the very end of April. But I don’t like to rush things.
I thought I already had the album cover art figured out until I thought of something else and wasn’t so sure anymore. This happens to me every second or third album, I think. And here’s where any feedback anyone might have becomes useful.
Up until yesterday I was pretty set on using this Polaroid picture i took of myself. Don’t ask me how I managed to get the framing just right…almost every subsequent attempt I’ve made at the Polaroid self-portrait has failed pretty miserably, resulting in me wasting a handful of exposures and then swearing after remembering how difficult and elusive the film for this camera is. The important thing is, this one turned out. I like how i look kind of miserable and angular, though I assure you i was neither one of those things when I snapped this picture of myself.
Well…maybe I was a little bit angular. But that’s as far as it went.
So I’d pretty much settled on that. But then I came across this picture I forgot about (not taken by me) from a little while back. And I kind of like it as a hypothetical album cover as well. The background will probably be white instead of grey, but white wouldn’t show up too well here, for obvious reasons.
What do you think? I think i’m now leaning toward idea number two there with Sideways Johnny, though there’s also something I still like about the first image. While I was going to have my friend Lauren draw or paint me something for album art, for some reason I feel like my face needs to appear on this one. Every time my face has shown up on one of my album covers over the past eight years it tends to be obscured in some way, either in shadow or — in the case of MY HELLHOUND CROOKED HEART — in computer-animated form. I don’t know why, but I feel like it’s about time I showed up on an album cover looking like myself, free of manipulation or intentional obfuscation.
Because it’s a breakup album! Only not at all. A few breakup songs do not a breakup album make. But they’re really fun breakup songs, let me tell you. I think you’ll especially enjoy the one I like to call “I’m Not Your Dirty Little Secret Anymore”. It’s the catchiest piece of bile I’ve given birth to since the angry album with the wooden gun on the cover. In other words, it’s sure to make you swoon. And if that doesn’t make you swoon, surely the surprising absence of a long-winded album title will do it.
EDIT: I’ve been playing around with that second picture, and now I’m really liking this arrangement right here.