Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Art of the Cover - Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" (1998)

A most memorable and effective - yet simple - piece of art adorns this mighty collection.

Yap, it's the second album from the seminal Neutral Milk Hotel - the snapplily titled "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" - which dropped in 1998.

Brit music mag NME later named "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" in their 100 greatest album of all time list.

Chris Bilheimer is credited with the art direction here, and Brian Dewan with illustrations.

The cover was a collaboration between NMH head-honcho Jeff Mangum and R.E.M.'s staff designer, Chris Bilheimer.

Elephant 6 Recording Company collaborator and pal Bryan Poole has said that "Mangum was always into that old-timey, magic, semi-circus, turn-of-the-century, penny arcade kind of imagery."

One particular piece Mangum showed to Bilheimer was an old European postcard with an image of people bathing at a resort, which was then cropped and altered.

Bilheimer also designed the broadsheet-style lyrics sheet for the album.

Interestingly, in the process, Bilheimer inadvertently titled a certain song - one that is probably the LP's best, and best known, nugget - "Holland, 1945". Mangum had oringinally wanted to use either the title "Holland" or "1945" for the song, but Bilheimer then convinced him to use both.


1.     "The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. One"
2. "The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two & Three"
3. "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea"  
4. "Two-Headed Boy"  
5. "The Fool"  
6. "Holland, 1945"  
7. "Communist Daughter"  
8. "Oh Comely"  
9. "Ghost"  
10. Untitled  
11. "Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two"  

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