I received Lemon Jelly’s Lost Horizons in the mail today. Excited to listen to the wonderful music contained therein, I tore away the shrink wrap. Indeed, there it was. A roughly square tri-folded cardboard sleeve, emblazoned with some of the more beautiful (and text-less) CD artwork I have encountered. Very soon, the delightful sounds it represented would be mine…except for one small problem.

The case wouldn’t open. What the Fuck?

The culprit gave itself away with an incongruous little red balloon with the band’s name on it. It was clearly a sticker. I traced its foul outline. The sticker has wrapped its adhesive tentacles around the top of the album in a gross parody of the traditional name/barcode sticker we all now know how to remove effortlessly.

However, with this particular CD, such a feat would prove to be not so easy. There were simply no hinges to remove; the album’s unique beauty was also its downfall. I had to do it the hard way. Fortunately, the sticker did not shred and thus cause murderous rage on my part. It actually was made of sterner stuff than your average run of the mill sticker, and came off in one methodical pull.

I thought I was in the clear. How wrong I was.

I looked down to find, on the top-most quadrant, on the azure sky that represents the upper half of the very Lost Horizons from whence the album garners its name, a streak of vile Filth. Grime. Offal. Bullshit

No mortal fingernail could remove this hell-glue. What’s worse: the sticker had delivered a nefarious two-fold parting shot. In addition to the black-green ichor which the sticker so cruelly deposited to tarnish the image, the force of removing the damn thing had buckled the smooth matte paper on which it resides. Bastards!

I forsook my extensive collection of minidisc burning hardware, peripherals, and media for this kind of treatment? I mean, I started buying CDs again ‘cause I wanted a collection I could be proud of, and now my coolest, rarest, sweetest CD has CRAP all over it? And its not like I can just swap out the lid of the jewel case and be rid of this mess...the sticker was on the product itself and not just the mass-produced replaceable packaging. Why not go the full monty and put a big fat sticker right on the underside of the CD, where all the information lives? The only conclusion I can make is that this clearly the next step in some diabolical sticker scheme.

So I implore you, CD masters, whether you be god or demon, just put the goddamn stickers on the shrink wrap. Unless it’s a huge coffee-can shaped sticker that proclaims boldly that, yes, this is the band from the Folgers commercials. No one is buying that Rockapella album anyway.