That above is the cover of the new album by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. As covers go, it’s interesting. It’s gaudy, tasteless, extreme, but I quite like it. I’ve not yet heard a single note of music from the album, but I get the impression that it’s already achieved immortality as a classic example of a “bad” album cover.
As a rule we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. Similarly, only an idiot would judge a film by its poster. But do the same rules apply to albums?
Only sometimes. It’s worth noting that, such is the nature of publishing, multiple covers exist for pretty much every book. Also, when you take into consideration the international market, you’ll often find multiple posters for films. I mean, have you ever seen a Polish film poster? Jesus.
Albums, though, are different. Some of them have multiple covers for the international market, and those lucky enough to get a special edition reissue might get the shiny deluxe treatment. But, by and large, the cover you see for any given album will be as good as it gets, forever.
In this way, more so than books and films, music shares a close and intimate bond with the images that accompany it. It’s the permanency that does it – the lack of flexibility. To some extent, what you see is exactly what they wanted you to see, and this is what you’ll see forever.
Today we’ll look at some really quite good albums that have been unfortunately paired with unremarkable or just plain terrible covers. The covers aren’t so bad as to strip the music of all merit, but it’s hard to ignore the taint, isn’t it? Just think of them as cassettes! Remember cassettes? No? No.
Look out for some sequels – bad albums with good covers and, for the absolute pits, bad albums with bad covers. The latter, though, may just extend to a five page condemnation of that second Hard-Fi album. Ew.
Oh. And please excuse the squashed and compressed images in this post. It’s hard to translate a square image into a neat 600×300 size, but it’s not as though I’m ruining brilliant works of art, is it?
This article was first posted on April 9, 2013