NEW YORK, New York (AP) — Artistically eccentric …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead frontman Conrad Keely is poised to shake the art establishment and break down music industry stereotypes with the artwork for his band’s new album “The Century of Self”, done entirely in blue ballpoint pen.
Trail of Dead’s sixth full-length studio album isn’t due to be released until February 17th, but that didn’t stop Keely from vociferously defending his album art months ahead of any potential mainstream criticism. “It’s my favorite medium,” he said of blue ballpoint pens. “I can’t for the life of me understand why artists and critics don’t take it seriously. It’s art in its purest form.” In an interview several months ago, Keely admitted he was considering doing the artwork for “The Century of Self” wholly in blue ballpoint pen. Despite most taking this seemingly innocuous comment with a heavy serving of salt, Keely insists he was serious about the project from day one. “It’s funny because a lot of people thought I was joking around. Nearly everyone,” he confessed with a laugh. “I don’t think anyone really expected me to follow through and actually do it. That’s what made everything so rewarding in the end. It’s like a middle finger to the institution.”
Will this album be remembered more for its musical content or its unconventional artwork? The artist isn’t entirely sure. “I haven’t the foggiest idea,” conceded Keely. “Although I would hope it would be somewhere in between– a mix of the two. Both represent a considerable change in our approach to making albums. In a sense, the last two albums weren’t really Trail of Dead. They were Trail of Dead trying to redefine Trail of Dead and it didn’t work. This album is Trail of Dead. No more square pegs in round holes.”
“The Century of Self” is as follows: “Giant’s Causeway”, “Far Pavilions”, “Isis Unveiled”, “Halcyon Days”, “Bells of Creation”, “Fields of Coal”, “Inland Sea”, “Luna Park”, “Pictures of an Only Child”, “Insatiable I”, “Ascending”, “An August Theme”, “Insatiable II”.