26 Sep 2017

Satyricon Rant

The artwork in question

Boo hoo, people don't like our new album cover
Satyricon recently posted a sort of passive aggressive rant on their Facebook, where Satyr and Frost are visiting the official Edvard Munch Museum. In their own words they are "proud and happy to hear how pleased the Munch Museum was with the way we have used his art on our cover," and that they (the Munch Museum) were "a little bit surprised to hear about the banal reactions of a sorry and weak minority," referring of course to the relatively large amount of people who think the cover looks lame as hell.

I will go on record and say that I am one of those people. Sure, Edvard Munch was a great artist, and the art piece itself (Dødskyss) is haunting and eeriee in its own simple right. I just think it looks dumb as an album cover with a logo slapped on for good measure. It's lazy, and no matter how well it fits the theme of the album, it's still used in a way that is just too damn easy and boring.

Understandably Satyricon are disappointed that some people, fans or not, dislike the cover, maybe because they feel like the album is being judged unfairly based on the artwork rather than the music. They have every right to be. And after all, a band is in no way obligated to make everybody happy. It is of course completely impossible to do so, and if you make something that speaks to the lowest common denominator that pleases everybody, the resulting piece of work (album in this case) will be less of a piece of art for it and thus lose a portion of its merrit.
Satyricon's Facebook post

HOWEVER. The same goes the other way around. The fans - or people in general - are NOT obligated to like or even respect your shitty artwork choice either. It is completely fair for anyone to disapprove of the album's cover art for ANY reason. I'm not going to appreciate a band's opinions on what is and isn't fine art if it doesn't speak to my own personal taste. The fact that the Munch Museum - who are in all likelihood Munch fans themselves - think it's awesome isn't an instant seal of approval that should force everyone to instantly like it.

It works the same way with music. If an authority on music says the new Satyricon album is good, that doesn't mean it is inherently good in the grander sense. It still won't be good to everyone, because taste in art - cover artwork and music included - isn't objective, but subjective. Sure, if you dismiss and album based on its cover, you're being silly. Don't judge a book by its cover and all that. But judging the cover as its own separate piece of art in relation to, in this case, Satyricon, isn't at all problematic. Art isn't immune to critique, no matter who says otherwise. So boo hoo, some people don't like your album cover. Get over it. Of course, if Satyr and Frost have both never experienced any dislike for anything for any given reason, I retract my statement.

Rant over.


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