Co.Design

R.E.M.'s New Album Cover Is A Shiny, Happy Animated GIF!

Well, except the whole shiny, happy part.

It’s no secret that we heart GIFs. And to judge by your overwhelming response, we’re gonna guess that you love all this flashy (and vaguely seizure-inducing) eye candy as well. So let’s prepare ourselves for a collective squee at the following news: R.E.M.’s new album cover is an animated GIF!

The swan song of the beloved (ex) band from Athens, Georgia, R.E.M., Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982 – 2011, is a 40-song retrospective of much loved and slightly maligned (sorry, Stand) hits. The GIF—which flashes through the parts of the album’s name in a lo-fi-fresh-out-of-the-Xerox-machine kinda’ way—is, according to the press release, ushering in "a new era of album artwork." Let’s hope! Think of all the album covers that could benefit from a little GIF wizardry.

How does it work exactly? “There’s no screen to bring the GIF to life for the physical product,” spokesman Andrew Steinthal tells Co.Design. “But digitally, it’ll be the cover wherever the technology is accepted.”

Well, that’s kinda cool, right? Except that the GIF is clunky and hardly as advanced as some other animated GIFs we’ve previously featured. That might have something to do with the stylings of frontman Michael Stipe. He has a history of putting a lo-fi spin on advanced technology. For R.E.M.'s last (not-so-well-received) album Collapse Into Now, Stipe made a video for the track “Discoverer” by designing animations on Autocad then shooting the thing with an iPhone. Frankly, this latest venture doesn’t seem to be R.E.M.’s, uh, finest hour.

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2 Comments

  • Neal

    I dig it, but it doesnt seem that new of an idea. I wonder why they didn't do a lenticular cover to show the animation on the physical copy. To expensive?

  • michael

    hi!  i saw your article.  really cynical and cool!!!  go fuck yourselves! 

    love michael stipe