comment

This Ain't No Disco: New Wave Album Covers
By Jennifer McKnight Trontz

(Chronicle)

Lacking focus, organization and in some cases clean artwork, This Ain't No Disco comes off more as a pet project undertaken by a New Wave nerd who badly wants to legitimize her 20-year-old record collection by turning the album covers into objets d'art. That's not to say that the cover art featured within wasn't (and isn't) largely breathtaking in its originality and artistic adventurousness. Moving beyond the drippy psychedelia of the '60s and the paranoid Hipgnosis futurism of the '70s, album art in the '80s was as unabashedly retro (see all the sci-fi and Art Deco references) as it was blindingly futuristic (all those neon colors and freaky fonts!). But Trontz seems incapable of grasping any of these larger themes and therefore this book is just a muddled hodgepodge of album covers, all seemingly unrelated to one another. There's no way to pick up on stylistic trends or the signature methods of certain artists when the book is so haphazardly arranged; often a spread will feature three covers by different musicians (Roxy Music, Bruce Woolley and Falco, for instance) in three different years (1980, 1979, 1982, respectively) with no visual link, all by different artists and photographers. Adding insult to injury, a good portion of the artwork was taken from scans of actual, worn-out album covers, which means lots of ringwear and corner creases detracting from the visual impact. With no real text to contextualize any of the material, the book is more like a quick scan of the '80s bin at your local used record store than a serious, artistic look at this bold era in album graphics.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.