There are enough story lines behind Kanye West‘s latest album, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,’ to fill a three-pound autobiography with Kanye’s big grin on the cover. Even when we’d like a little less Kanye, everything is always about … Kanye. Now with only a month left till the album drops on Nov. 22, the cover art is making more headlines than the leaked tracks. When Kanye broke the news Sunday that Wal-Mart would allegedly ban the album from its stores, Kanye once again made it seem like a huge deal and painted himself as a romantic warrior sticking it to the man. The sad ironic truth behind the story is not that Kanye’s artwork may or may not be offensive, but rather that this story shouldn’t even matter because so few people buy CDs anymore — and that everyone saw the “banned” artwork before the album was even out. Forget about the fact that Wal-Mart hasn’t even confirmed the report and consider the effort Kanye put into making this album cover intending to shock the world as the cherry on his comeback sundae. What he thought was just another way to give his album more publicity, turned out to be a sadly unfunny joke about the music industry.
Like physical CDs, album artwork has sadly become an outdated art form in an age where selling music is as hard as, say, swiping an award from Taylor Swift and getting away with it. The even sadder reality is that musicians are desperate to remain relevant while they struggle to pay managers and rent, while divas (divos?) like Kanye are picking fights with mega-corporations. In the end, Kanye can’t save the music industry all by himself. It’s not that Kanye’s album won’t shatter records and complete his conquest, but that most won’t admire Kanye’s artwork because they’ll be too busy ripping his music from their laptops to their iPods.