Sound by Its Cover: GoodWord's Coulda Been That


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The cover to Coulda Been That, from San Francisco emcee GoodWord, exists in the tenuous space between amateur and artful. At first glance it has that Photoshop vibe -- rough edges, disparate elements, lack of sharpness, sickly colors. Why in the hell do we need to see this guy chomping on a giant ear of corn?; what's up with that pink blur attacking his shirt?; and why is there a Nintendo controller circled by stars on his chest? Oh, and that text wrap around his collar [not pictured] -- it's kinda tacky.

But stare at it for 10 hard seconds and a greater design emerges. This eureka! moment is catalyzed by the graffiti scrawl in which his name is written -- it fits the aesthetic of urban pastiche perfectly. That ear of corn? Awesome! The pink blob? Sweet! The Nintendo controller? I still got a working NES! The collar text wrap? Where else would he put it? And something else we didn't notice before...his shirt, arm, and wrist actually disappear on the non-pink side, blending into the dark blue curtain in the background.

The back of the case contains the real magic: a composite picture where GoodWord is simultaneously gripping a mic around waist level, waving some cash at chest level, and stuffing a burger in his mouth -- all with the same hand. Plus, there's that pink blob again. This must represent urban decay...or postmodernism...or femininity...or disease...or a stylistic contrast in the music...or childhood...or....