7 unique physical albums – SHINEE’s KEY, Lorde, Foodman, (G) I-DLE’s


When making an album list, it’s usually about sound and musical style, but this time we’re paying homage to an often overlooked aspect of physical records: the packaging.

Beyond the music and its impressive illustrated design, there is a complex level of thought and care that usually goes into what actually contains the right tunes. Beautifully conceptualized, designed and executed, the packaging of a record is another layer of the story that an artist is trying to tell.

Plus, there’s nothing more exciting than releasing that CD or vinyl we’ve been waiting for days to get our hands on – what if we had to pull it out of a school binder-inspired sleeve. or even a toy box?

From durable “discless” music boxes to fast food containers, here are some unique album packaging concepts to check out!


Reinventive and always ready to use, LordeThe big comeback of has been crucial in more ways than one. Beyond his solar tunes, the singer-songwriter has delivered an environmentally friendly “discless” music box as she aims to reduce her carbon footprint and that of her music.

In an interview with BillboardLorde explained how the idea came about after the release of her critically acclaimed 2017 album, Melodrama. “I’m a pop star, and I drive this huge machine that takes resources and spits out shows – I’m not kidding myself about that,” she said.

In the theme of the celebration of the natural world album, Solar Power consists of a plastic-free box made entirely from recycled paper and cardboard components. Inside the disc, fans have access to exclusive photo cards, posters and handwritten notes, as well as a digital download copy of his album to replace a physical CD.

In conjunction with the eco-friendly music box, Lorde also came up with a line of sustainable clothing and products.

“I don’t draw any conclusions and answer no questions [about the environment] in this album. I’m a pop star, not a scientist after all, “she said in an interview with the moving train.

“I tried not to come back to it and say to myself ‘oh, here is my point of view’, but what I did was try to re-evaluate the things that I do in my job, that it’s making CDs or merchandise. There’s no strong message but I’m doing things that I can support. “

Listen to Lorde Solar energy here.


For an awesome artist you need awesome packaging and what better than a figure toy box. Reminiscent of the old school action figures and toy stores we visited when we were kids, KEY drops a tinge of nostalgia and fun with her debut mini album, BAD LOVE.

Set in a retro-inspired dimension of the space – partly put together by a renowned decorator Oh you alone, the SHINee The member takes on the role of an intergalactic superhero joined by a group of avant-garde aliens – which KEY describes as a “horror-themed fad in space.”

The “Space Ray Gun” version of the physical album takes the concept to a whole new level, positioned as a box of miniatures that you have to tear apart to access the CD.

BAD LOVE would be entirely conceptualized by KEY, the record is the physical manifestation of his love for superheroes and sci-fi action figures – an idea that had been germinating in his head for over a decade.

“I still miss that generation when I got new Star Wars and Star Trek figures, or just a figure from a supermarket. It was really cool. I wanted to recreate those elements that I remember a little bit,” says he in an interview with NME.

While many fans are reluctant to tear up BAD LOVE, wanting to preserve its intricate art and design is the beauty of the album.

Listen to KEY BAD LOVE here.


Nothing goes better than great food and even better music, and that’s the idea that Foodman brings his new album to life, Yasuragi Land. While you can’t exactly feed yourself on the record, it looks absolutely delicious.

Designed after a classic bento box, Yasuragi Land – which translates to the island of “tranquility” – serves as a road trip to peace and quiet outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. And, what is a long journey without food.

In an interview with Japan timeFoodman also shares that the album takes a lot of inspiration from some of the mundane aspects of life he has loved since the pandemic, such as eating a meal at convenient service stops or relaxing in public baths.

“When the government first declared a state of emergency last year, I started going to supermarkets nearby. sento [public baths] and [highway rest areas] instead of concerts or going out for a drink, ”he shares.

Similar to its design inspiration – a compartmentalized meal made up of different flavors and textures, the current album takes a similar approach. Full of electronic rhythm tracks and jazz-infused synths with a side of video game sounds, Yasuragi Land is a destination of whimsical and playful ingenuity.

Listen to Foodman Yasuragi Land here.


No matter what age, there is something so exciting about a pop-up book. And for music lovers, there is nothing but pure happiness when opening a brand new album. The combination of the two is architects special edition vinyl for Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

The limited-edition disc – which is now sadly out of print – features a gatefold pop-up illustration of the actual set design for the November 2021 show so you can relive the legendary show in all its glory.

Discover the architects Live at the Royal Albert Hall concert here.


In keeping with the album’s stories of teenage angst and high school despair, soccer mom takes us on a trip down memory lane with his school binder album for the deluxe edition and demos for his second album, vscolor theory.

Similar to the thick files we used to bring to school, color theory is filled with more than just memories of teenage battles and the various melodies that go with it, but also everything you would need for a real school day.

From erasers and pencils to handwritten notes (i.e. lyrics) and early 2000s-inspired stickers, the limited-edition album is what any cool kid would have brought to class.

The demo edition of color theory also contains an individual vinyl for each track which you can neatly organize in a yellow binder.

Listen to Soccer Mommy’s color theory here.


Muddy Basin Hikers Hold this tiger is creative in every sense of the word. From its pictorial design to the physical packaging, the 2018 Record is the complete set.

The Muddy Basin Ramblers are an experimental group from the United States and the United Kingdom that settled in Taiwan, and Hold this tiger reflects this in all aspects. Sonically, the record features a diverse soundscape of jazz, blues, and traditional Chinese music from temple parades. Although from a design standpoint, the album weaves its way between East and West, testing and pushing back the cultural divide.

Designed by a renowned Taiwanese design company, Onion Design Associates, Hold this tiger – who was even nominated by the GRAMMYBest disc packaging Category – is inspired by a Mystical Taoist Paper Talisman, combining inspiration from Taiwanese folk culture and retro Western science fiction.

The CD cover and cover are covered with Chinese folk art inspired graphics and calligraphy that resemble abstract Chinese glyphs, embellished with classic American sci-fi movie iconography like UFOs and bulky space helmets. .

Listen to The Muddy Basin Ramblers’ Hold this tiger here.


Over the years we’ve seen a myriad of jaw-dropping album wraps from the K-pop world, but Soyeon‘s Windy take the cake – or should we say, burger?

Inspired by retro fast food restaurants, the (G) I-DLE The member modeled her very first solo mini-album after a box of takeout burgers – and we’re only talking about the box itself. From the burger itself to the iconography of classic American diners, WindyThe living concept of is visible down to the smallest detail.

Like most K-pop records, Soyeon’s mini album includes photo cards, a photo book (which looks like a dinner menu), and posters; but unlike many, Windy Also includes a coaster, dinner card, and a miniature cutout of the versatile idol itself.

Not to mention that the CD looks like a hamburger bun!

Listen to Soyeon Windy here.




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