this week’s entry is a tad longer than the others i think?? sorry about that. i’m thinking about doing 1 review a week? it just sucks knowing these are too long for people to actually fully read lol, but sometimes i have so much to say about these covers!!
even if you don’t make it the whole way through, thanks for stopping by anyways :)
Come Home The Kids Miss You
looking at all his other releases, jack harlow definitely seems to favor full-bleed portrait photography. this is called a “personality cover”, and is the only kind of cover harlow has used thus far.
in this sense, it establishes a really strong identity for harlow, with his signature curly hair and dorky glasses. i don’t particularly care for any of these covers except for That’s What They All Say. 18 is funny enough i suppose, Gazebo seems to portray his humble beginnings, and his next three covers don’t really do too much of anything at all. he gets more and more suave though as time goes on, particularly in That’s What They All Say. harlow’s sporting a flashy designer outfit, lounging in the back of a pricey luxury car while signing autographs for the kids.
the lead single off the new album, Nail Tech, is photographic, but doesn’t feature jack, and utilises a frame to show the entire page of the seemingly analog photograph.
overall, the cover for Come Home is his best so far. formally, there’s a lot less going on, and the scene is much more clear. you could say that the depiction of jack in the car engaging with fans was a sign of his rising fame at the time, whereas now, he’s hit a new level altogether, and may be reflecting on his newfound status. the empty backdrop could even signify him feeling like he doesn’t have anybody around him he can really trust at this point. it’s just him and his mic.
with this same subtly cream/off-white backdrop, jack pops right out in his all black outfit. to his left, the microphone on wheels mirrors jack’s placement in the frame. conceptually, this placement of each subject renders them as equals.
although there isn’t too much in the frame, it does a lot with its minimal elements. there’s a pretty strong triangle created in the forms and placements of each subject (conspiracy theorists—eat your heart out). the triangle is the most structurally stable shape, and the photographer may have even seen this in the shot.
overall, has me thinking this may be a more introspective album given jack’s demeanour, pose, and facial expression here. the two singles, Nail Tech, and First Class don’t give that vibe, but a pop rapper’s lead singles are always gonna be more hype anyways.
looking forward to the drop, jack’s one of my favourite new school guys, TWTAS was like top 10 most played albums of 2021 for me. lmk your thoughts!!!
Toro y Moi
jesus man where tf do i even start with this shit. to get it out of the way, the MAHAL campaign has been one of the prettiest runs this year easily. purely as a designer, i’m so happy to see such graphic-heavy visuals!!
immediately i see formal similarities to Blonde.
the way the main photo is framed, the title type on top, and the barcode are the main resemblances. both covers share that graphic-heavy nature to them, not just being a full-bleed photo, like we saw with jack harlow earlier.
toro y moi’s previous releases don’t see any real visual motifs or threads throughout.
all of them are quite graphic, only What For? being mainly photographic. i’m particularly fond of the last three covers; Boo Boo’s screen print-reminiscent grain, Outer Peace’s lovely gradient backdrop and stripped down set, and Soul Trash’s expressive textures and type setting. as much as i don’t like his first five covers (all pretty dated), toro clearly takes his artwork seriously.
the type on MAHAL is one of the best parts about it. the front cover looks like a back cover of any other release, each track in the visible track list containing the credits of who played what instrument. the designers shoulda been on the front too!!!
the CD release doesn’t have that same track list on the front, due to the more asymmetric aspect ratio.
LOOK AT THESE SINGLE COVERS!!!!!!!! likeeeeeee. come on. i wish i could just thank toro y moi and shake his damn hand for allowing these through the line and out to release. obviously mocks of a mailing letter, these work so well as single releases, because they’re fully modular design systems!! you can swap out legitimately every element of this framework and have a different single on it. change the background color, the photo, the stamp, the barcode, anything at all!!
i could go on and on about MAHAL, the design team absolutely murdered it, one of the most exciting and engaging sets of visuals i’ve seen in music this year.
Laurena (sorry if i butchered your name)
thanks for making it this far in GLASSES, hope you enjoyed these reviews, and come back next week for more!!! :)