ALBUM 19: Lostboy! A.K.A. Jim Kerr | 2010 | designer: Curious
Curious stayed on when Jim Kerr prepared his solo project from Simple Minds the very next year. The highly textured looking cover was certainly low key, with rough paper texture images having been spray painted [with Graffiti?] with the lettering crude, and almost Raygun-esque [except for the fact that they are legible] for a Simple Minds-related project. The image of Jim Kerr used on the cover was taken from al older photo of him as a young man; appropriate given that Kerr had wanted to make the kind of music he listened to when he was 18-23 years of age in a bid to escape the expectations of the Simple Minds “sound.” That would bring the album’s aesthetic into the 1977-1982 zone. Admirable, but it really sounded more like 1980-1984 to these ears.
The image of Kerr was treated like a spray paint stencil and die-cut into the front cover. This allowed the red/black art on the cover of the booklet, with numerous mask images to show through the holes. Pretty expensive for an album cover! Kerr financed the project himself and licensed the resulting album to Edel Records in Germany for production, so all of the physical copies are in fact, German imports. It probably gave Kerr the Krautrock fan a small thrill that his work would be handled by a German company only! It makes sense from another standpoint in that Germany was the one nation on the earth where synthetic New Wave sounds were still relatively popular, and that market had always been pretty solid through the years.
I opted for the deluxe CD which had much the same packaging except for the fact that it contained three extra songs not on the basic edition.
These days, it’s common enough for an LP to have a CD included in a card sleeve to satisfy all comers. This was not quite that, though. The 3rd CD format instead offered the basic CD plus a bonus 7″ with two further bonus tracks, “Jet Black The Night” b/w “What Goes On,” the seminal Velvet Underground song that I maintain influenced the very development of Krautrock! These last two only appeared on the 7″ format and much to my chagrin, I’ve yet to buy a copy since all 3000 of them seem to be only on sale from countries where the shipping is crippling. The package is 7″ square with the inner sleeve having the same look as the booklet cover on the CD. Jim Kerr signed all of these copies as well, adding cachet. But this was not the only vinyl associated with the album.
There was an LP pressing of 2000 copies, and while it did not sport the die cut art that the CDs did, the LP did manage to luxuriate in a gatefold cover. The interior gatefold gives a sense of the lush, layered photo composite work with deep Photoshop effects that the pages of the CD booklets featured on the lyrics pages for each song. In this way, the cover for Lostboy! was not unlike the previous two Simple Minds albums in that the somewhat staid cover held within a booklet that was much more dazzling and colorful than the cover itself. Which, when you think about it, is a very contrary position to take at a time when getting warm bodies into a store to buy music albums was all but a lost art. I would have expected the most tired photo with a simple text treatment for a Jim Kerr solo album instead of what became what I’ll call the final third of the “butterfly” triptych of cover art for Jim Kerr/Simple Minds. “Black + White 050505, Graffiti Soul” and now “Lostboy!” all delivered more excitement to owners, not browsers.
Next: …Not Enough Time This Week… for Yet More Covers