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it's got a good beat and i can stick a thumbtack in it

Taking on VH1's list of the 50 best album covers all in one sitting would be daunting. I have too many complaints with their list, plus too many favorites of my own to list.

My criteria of what makes a good album cover is probably different than yours. As one who has been around since vinyl was the only choice in a record store, album covers mean a lot to me. I would often thumbtack the covers to my bedroom wall, leaving the album itself in its paper sleeve.

This is what I don't like about CDs; there's so little room for really good cover art. Even if a CD cover is striking or beautiful, it's still small. You can't stick a thumbtack in it and call it a wall decoration. You can't put a piece of tracing paper over it and try to copy all the intricate details. You don't get a really good idea of all the work that goes into the art that represents an album.

So, VH1's list. I suppose they have their reasons for picking the albums they did. I suppose some of them make statements and some of them are just eye candy and some of them are just porn lite. Are they pleasing to look at? For the most part. Are they works of art? Hardly any of them are, at least to my eye.

It would take too long to list all my favorite cover art here. Instead, I will share some of them with you every few posts. Please share your own favorites. In fact, if you send me a link to an image and write a little something on why it's one of your favorites, I'll post it.

The one above is from Stabbing Westward's Darkest Days, art by Dave McKean.

No, I'm not playing favorites just because McKean is my favorite album. It just happens to meet my criteria for choosing favorites: a) It qualifies as a piece of art; b)It is relevant to the music (though that's in they eye of the relevance-holder) and c), it's thumbtack worthy.

[you can see more of McKean's album art here]


That is a great cover. I was a little disappointed by the album, though...

I had no idea McKean had done so many album covers. I know what you mean about when they were albums and not cds, the covers really did mean so much more!

REM Chronic Town. Just because I love gargoyles.


My favorite album cover of all time is still, even after all these years, is Paul McCartney's Press to Play.

Saw it first as a CD, and thought it was nice, but nothing remarkable. Saw (and bought) it in vinyl, in large part due to the cover.

I like Dave McKean's covers for Gaiman's Sandman, and I like Toad the Wet Sprocket. So, when he did this, I was very happy.

Oh, so THAT's who did all of Fear Factory's and Front Line Assembly's albums. Sweet. Thanks for the link - I had no idea that one artist was doing all that work. He's simply amazing.

I have to admit, though, now that I have CD's instead of albums, I spend much less time examining the cover art. It's just too small! Back in the day, though, I used to spend HOURS analyzing album covers. I always had a fondness for Devo's covers, although they appear to have been assembled by a feeble-minded 10-year-old.

NIN did a great job with the Downward Spiral cover, although it was minimalist compared to McKean's intricate stuff.

All in all, though, I'd say album covers have not greatly affected my life, though it would be cool if they had. I read a great interview with RuPaul (remember him/her?) once that mentioned Cher's Take Me Home album , in which RuPaul said, "My life has been fashioned after that album cover."

You go, girl.

lords of acid always has good covers, but this one for the cd single for pussy is my favorite.