Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Liner notes

One of the most fragile items we deal with here at the library are liner notes, since people never listen to a new CD without leafing through them. We can't laminate them and still get them to fit in the CD case. The edges get bent and torn as they're jammed in and out of the case, they get wet and stained, or they go missing. So they're of some interest to librarians, and as I was sifting through our newest stack of CDs, I started critiquing the liner notes themselves.
Local interest alert: the liner notes for the new Death Cab for Cutie album, Narrow Stairs, features one of those amazing old Chilkoot Pass photos (to tie in with the 'Narrow Stairs' theme, I guess). Each page in this booklet is slightly longer than the previous, creating a cute stair-step effect (again with the theme!). However, it's a bear to get out of the case. If you want to see the liner notes, check this CD out soon before they get totally trashed.
Aimee Mann's new album, @#%&*! Smilers, was interesting to catalog. We mulled over the various substitutions and See Also possibilities for "@#%&*!" but we decided to leave it alone. My advice: keyword search for 'smilers'. The lyrics are easy to read and the graphics have a cute retro look (think Krazy Kat or very early Popeye). Thumbs up!
For Still, the BoDeans decided to go with a somber look for their liner notes. And since the lyrics are printed in tiny black font on a dark brown background, you have to really want to know what they're singing about to try and decipher this. Get your magnifying glass and a flashlight, or just hum along.
I hesitate to call the sheet that comes along with Warpaint, the newest offering from the Black Crowes, 'liner notes'. It's more of a poster, really, as it contains no song titles, no lyrics, and no information about the band. Guaranteed to get torn off in the first month, this poster is one of the few times our catalog contains more information than the actual item.
The title of Van Morrison's new CD says it all: Keep It Simple. Black font (Times New Roman? Georgia?) on a plain white background, with all the credits on the last page, and a two-tone portrait of Morrison on the front. But then, people who pick up a Van Morrison CD aren't looking for a lot of bells and whistles. Just gimme some music, Van.



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Lake Mills Library said...

One of the most fragile items we deal with here at the library are liner notes, since people never listen to a new CD without leafing through them.

I concur.