You might remember I was discussing Bowie’s Toy a while back—my speculative cover design for his unreleased 2001 album.
And now it’s finally getting an official release! Both as part of the newest big Bowie boxset in November (which I couldn’t possibly justify buying even if it was affordable!), and more sensibly as a standalone Toy:Box (snigger, very witty) in January 2022, the month of DB’s 75th birthday.
I plan to be getting this one in due course, but I do hope very much that they do not elect to brickwall the damn thing. Bowie’s CDs have been totally brickwalled since 1997’s Earthling, with only a few odd items—such as the version of “Where Are We Now?” on the 1CD release of 2014’s Nothing Has Changed—emerging unscathed. Most mainstream artists allow this practice to some extent (with odd exceptions, such as Kate Bush and Neil Young), but Bowie comes off worse than most, sadly.
NOTE: The 2001 bootleg ‘leak’ of Toy was not at all brickwalled (just very compressed due to being MP3), but the tracks seemed to be unfinished mixes.
(Maybe I’ll rant some more about brickwalling sometime.)
So, fingers crossed for a decent mastering job! But—about that cover…
Well, it is pretty amusing. Bowie himself rendered this design, in 2000, and it was presumably slated as a provisional cover concept for Toy. It’s a blurred pic of DB as a baby with his 50-something features very badly pasted-in, plus garbage-tier typography and lettering. Urgh. But I’m wondering if David would’ve handed this to a professional designer to use as a springboard, if the project hadn’t been cancelled. Now it’s the official cover!
Even if you didn’t like my version, surely you’d agree it’s a little better?!