Album Covers are quickly losing (have already lost?) their relevance. Which is too bad.
Over the weekend, I updated my ipod. It is my third ipod I have owned since 2003. I have a gadget not much bigger than a cassette tape that weighs about one pound and contains my life’s work of obtaining / stealing music. 21,564 songs that take up just over 105 of the available 120 gigs of space. I can press play and it would take almost two straight months before I repeated a song. I am quite proud of my catalog. No repeats. Each song is correctly labeled with artist, album and year it was recorded. I realize that ipods are old enough that marveling at their abilities is like being stunned by Email or for that matter electric light. But every once in a while it’s nice to step back and realize how life has improved drastically within my medium sized lifetime.
One added function of the newer Ipod is a bigger emphasis on cover art. You can shuffle through the cover of each album as if you are flipping through a gigantic record collection. This is important because cover art, an important element of the pop music experience is dying a slow death due to the download medium.
It’s a shame, really. There has always been a visual compliment that accompanied that musical experience of discovering a new album. It’s one thing to listen to
So here is a quick list of some of my favorite album covers over the years.
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - 1963
Let It Bleed - 1969
Odelay - 1996
What a cool dog. I love Beck. He’s on the short list of my favorite new bands. That’s right. I consider an album that was released 12 years ago as “new music”.
Zeppelin III - 1970
Use Your Illusions I and II - 1991
Nothing encapsulates my freshman year of high school better than this album (Two albums released the same day. It’s one album. Illusion II is the same cover, just different colors.) It has a lot of fluff on it, but there's a ton of good music on these records. I say that without a tinge of irony. Guns and Roses is a legit band, damn it. Also my buddy Zack always wore a shirt with the Illusion I cover on it. That makes me happy.
Straight Our of
Crazy motha f*cka named Ice Cube - From a gang called n!ggaz with attitude - When I'm called off I got a sawed off - Squeeze the trigger and bodies are hauled off - You too boy if ya f*ck with me - The police are gonna hafta come and get me - Off your ass that's how I'm talkin - When I'm comin Straight Out of Compton
Animals - 1977
Siamese Dream - 1993
I’ve never understood if these girls were supposed to be Siamese twins or what. But either way, I like that a record of dark, thoroughly depressing music has such a happy cover.
The Velvet Underground - 1969
The Andy Warhol banana cover of their debut album is more iconic, but I like this shadowy photo of them. They look artsy but also dangerous. I think that’s a good representation of their music.
Elephant - 2003
Quite possibly the best album made since Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1980. There are a ton of other albums that could be considered for that but this is in the mix. It’s an enigmatic photo of Jack and Meg with their patented red white and black theme. Seriously, this is a great record.
Revolver - 1966
As much as I love the Pepper album cover and
Smell The Glove - 1983