U2 Album Sleeve Flap 4 Dummies


Despite, of course,
indier-than-thou types intent on forging some bogus David-versus-Goliath battle…


By Fred Mills


As we pointed out a couple of days ago, this so-called
controversy that has erupted over the similarity between the record sleeve of indie
musicians Taylor Deupree & Richard Chartier’s 2006 album Specification.
the forthcoming U2 rec No Line On the Horizon is a total crock. The
Japanese artist whose image adorns both sleeves, Hiroshi Sugimoto, has every
right to sell or license his work (it’s titled “Boden Sea, Uttwil”; see the
original illustration, above) to whomever he pleases, just as Deupree and
Chartier have every right to sell or license their music; if Apple came along
waving a wad of cash to use a track from Specification. Fifteen for an iPod commercial,
you can bet your sweet Irish potatoes that the duo would leap at the chance.


as we also pointed out, they are getting a shitload of free publicity out of
all this, probably more than they’ve ever had in their entire lives. We’d be
interested to see what kind of sales spike the album has after a few weeks.


over at U2.com, Shaughn McGrath of Four5One, the design team behind NLOTH, has sat for an interview
about the U2 sleeve. Aside from pointing out the fact that the image clearly
dovetails into the actual album title and describing how Bono came across the
photographer/artist in the first place (hint: it wasn’t via seeing the Deupree/Chartier
work), McGrath responded, tangentially, to the “controversy.”




Q: A few days after
the album design was revealed, there were some stories online noting that the
image had been previously used as an album cover ?

MCGRATH: I’ve just heard about that album and its cover. But I think we’re
doing something different with Sugimoto’s image, something uniquely connected
with this latest body of work from U2. And while I’m pleased we’ve been able to
do something that has so few brushstrokes and yet says so much, the response to
the design of an album is connected with how well people connect with the
album. To give you an earlier example, the first album I worked on with U2 was
Baby in 1991 – that sleeve is widely
admired, but probably because the album is so great. People love that cover
because they came to love the album. These things don’t exist in isolation.
It’s all connected to the music.



think this should probably be the final word. But of course it won’t. Being
part of the blogosphere means nobody ever tells you to shut up.




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