After much anticipation, LCD Soundsystem’s new album American Dream will drop September 1. Given that the seminal dance-punk outfit hasn’t released a studio album since 2010’s This Is Happening, people are understandably very, very excited to get their hands on it. Or, at least, they were — until they saw the boring album cover. With black block letters spelling the name of the band and the album superimposed atop a sunny blue sky sprinkled with fluffy clouds, the cover art feels, well, super basic. Like it could belong to any random B-list band you might stumble upon on Spotify — and not, say, the first album in seven years from one of the greatest, smartest, most forward-thinking bands of a generation.
As publications like NME and Newsweek have noted, fans are taking to Twitter to express their disappointment with the unoriginal art. “The cover of the new LCD Soundsystem album is so bad I genuinely contemplated cancelling my vinyl preorder. But then who am I kidding etc,” wrote user James Smythe.
“LCD Soundsystem more like Lazily Designed Cover Art Soundsystem,” wrote another fan.
To be fair, it’s not like LCD is a band that’s been particularly known for their groundbreaking cover art. Their self-titled debut album features a grainy, black-and-white disco ball motif, while This is Happening used a candid picture of frontman James Murphy dancing. Perhaps the difference is that while previous album covers have maintained a decidedly lo-fi aesthetic, American Dream feels too polished, almost blindingly clean and bright.
It also kind of has the vibe of a bad stock photo or a pre-programmed Windows 2000 screensaver. Fans are pissed because such corporate imagery feels like the antithesis of the band they know and love. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Vegan notes that it could be an homage to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest — which, if true, makes the whole thing almost unforgivably cliche.
Luckily, a lackluster cover does not a bad album made. And given the fact that the two pre-released tracks, Call the Police and American Dream, plus the band’s recent Brooklyn Steel residency have all received positive reviews, LCD is (hopefully) still on track to deliver the kind of fun, smart, self-aware fourth studio album fans so rabidly crave. And anyway, in the days of Spotify and iTunes, who even looks at album covers anymore, right?