Ten great pieces of album artwork

Inspired by (some might say, idea nicked from) Drowned in Sound’s article on the best artwork of the last ten years, I thought I’d do a list of ten of my favourite pieces of artwork from my own record collection. They are, in no particular order;

The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters

I love their style of graphics that make all their releases look like 1950s information pamphlets, but then you notice odd things in the pictures, the boy’s mask for example, or in this cover where the boy in the mask appears about to smother his mum!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#∞

I love the bleakness of this shot, it really goes well with the post-rock behemoth’s dark atmospherics, especially the spoken word poem in opening track ‘Dead Flag Blues’.

King Crimson – In The Court of the Crimson King

A classic album cover, one of those that people will recognise even if they can’t name it. It turns out after buying it recently, I prefer the cover to the record! Ah well. It reminds me of spending a lot of lost hours in an Amsterdam coffee shop that had this emblazoned over its door!

Engineers – Engineers

I love this picture, it reminds me of sci-fi paintings in old library books I used to look at as a kid “How Earth may look in the year 2000”, that sort of thing!

Mastodon – Crack The Skye

Ah, just as the devil has the best tunes, metal has the best artwork! Well, that’s clearly not true but why let the facts get in the way of a good sentence! What more could you want here though, glowing eyed wizards, bears, floating orbs, great stuff!

Kvelertak – Kvelertak

As if to prove my point, here’s a cracking cover by John Dyer Baizley for Norway’s “Black ‘n’ Roll” band Kvelertak. Owls with tentacles, blimey!

Tool – Lateralus

It’s not just the artwork I love with this, but the picture below is the front cover of the inner booklet which, as you turn each page, strips the picture like one of those ‘illustrated man’ models you used to get in biology labs. On their next album 10,000 Days, they incorporated goggles into the album cover so you could view stereoscopic pictures in the inner booklet. I do love it when artists put an effort into packaging.

The Jesus Lizard – Down

Just a really arresting picture from a rather arresting band!

Dinosaur Jr – Farm

It looks as if Jay Mascis is going all green (mind, haha, no? oh, ok then) on this album, with big Treebeard types carrying the children away from the horrid pollution. Whatever, a great album and rather lovely artwork.

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Worlds Apart

Although arguably one of their weaker albums, the cover art is something else. It’s just so detailed, one of those pictures where you keep seeing bits you didn’t before which I love in an album cover. This cover does not look its best when it’s a tiny little thumbnail on your ipod it has to be said!

Finally although the artwork itself is nothing special, I feel I ought to include, purely for its packaging brilliance, Spiritualized – Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. The CD was all packaged like a tablet, even to the point of the disc being in a foil blister pack (a nightmare to get out without destroying the packaging!). It also contained instructions on when to take your ‘medicine’, laid out exactly like a drug pamphlet. This should have won awards;

There are loads of other covers that are great, I just plucked ten I love almost at random. I could probably do another ten quite easily. Does anybody have any suggestions of covers they love? Let me know below!

I’ll have a think about doing the opposite as well, ten horrible album covers!

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