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Packaging Review: The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love [Vinyl]

By ; March 21, 2009 at 8:00 PM 

The Hazards of Love is as grandiose as it is ambitious, does the packaging capture this well?

The short answer is yes and no. Upon opening Hazards, I was expecting the packaging to match the grandiosity of the album. Instead I was looking at what was a rather dull presentation. The vinyl jacket opens up and the lyrics and credits to the album are spread across – so not much in terms of album art to find here. There is a nice picture of the Decemberists (with guest vocalists Becky Stark and Shara Worden), but that is about it. The same can’t be said for the sleeves, as the sleeves that hold each vinyl disc have incredible art on each side – each representing the characters from the Hazards of Love (The Queen, William, Margaret, The Rake). The art ia really great, and it’s nice to put a face to the characters. The inner circles of the vinyl are just plain silver, would it have killed to put the same vines and trees art?

My biggest disappointment came with the lyrics. For an album that is so focused on storytelling, it baffles me as to why they didn’t include a big lyric book for this. The lyrics show you which character is talking. While the lyrics are here, you will have to squint to read them (as they had to fit all of them on the vinyl jacket) – this is rather annoying. Vinyl format is usually the most interactive way to listen to music, so I figured for an album that asks you to participate so much, the vinyl format would be the way to go. I was excited at the idea of listening the story, while reading and having to change the vinyl over when it came to the next side of the story. Hopefully the CD packaging has a more clear lyric sheet. Ultimately it’s about the music, and the actual audio quality for the vinyl is great. They did a good job mastering, and it really comes across well on vinyl. I just wish the packaging was as imaginative as Meloy’s story about a rake that kills his children.

Final Verdict: I would only recommend this format to fans that really want the art of the characters in a big format. Other then that, the packaging is rather lacking.


The Hazards of Love [Packaging Review] from onethirtybpm on Vimeo.


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