Inspired by dhex’s most-excellent post on album art that reflects the content, this is Accurate Album Art!
What we are seeking here is truth in advertising. These ten records do what it shows on the tin. Sample songs at the links.
Gentlemen, Afghan Whigs – This photo, like the record, makes me uncomfortable. It’s clearly meant to imply a noirish adult post-coital scene; why they didn’t go whole-hog and give one or both children a cigarette is beyond me. The lacerating lyrics on the subject of relationships (if on the surface they seem misogynistic, that’s actually a reflection of the unsparingly self-loathing and clearly unreliable narrator) only reinforce the message: no matter how grown-up we pretend to be, we’re emotionally no more than perpetual children, and thus will we hurt each other endlessly and without mercy.
Loveless, My Bloody Valentine – Such an obvious example I nearly didn’t include it, this cover looks exactly like the record sounds – molten guitars organically vibrating into pink-red infinity; a sonic tsunami of amniotic fluid, serotonin and love.
Consumed, Plastikman – A monumentally-mysterious and architecturally-severe extradimensional artifact full of ominous sub-bass thrum and patient, precise dread. Peer through that die-cut keyhole on the cover and you might see something moving down there in the dark depths: a cyborg perhaps, or a Cenobite.
Amber, Autechre – With access to nearly-infinite varieties of possible tones, timbres and tempos, electronic music can paint previously-unknown emotional shades for which we have as yet no names. This picture seems to capture an alien silicate intelligence’s homesickness.
Last Splash, The Breeders – With a psychedelically-oversaturated green and red color scheme that calls to mind a sensually-juicy ripe strawberry, it’s a sweet feminine delicacy slyly concealing a heart that appears to be pumping black motor oil, or poison ichor. “If you’re so special, then why aren’t you dead”, indeed.
Heaven or Las Vegas, Cocteau Twins – Whichever place we’re in, it’s got twinkling Christmas lights, and cherry-coloured funk piped in through hidden speakers.
Black Celebration, Depeche Mode – This one’s almost a little too on-the-nose, but the fact that it appears to synthesize a glass office high rise, a church, factory smokestacks, and a futuristic prison citadel allowed it to hit every single one of the usual Mode topics du jour – commerce and religion, industry and alienation, with flowers of romance organically springing up through the cracks anyway.
Friday Night is Killing Me, Bash & Pop – How can you have a proper Sunday Morning Coming Down unless you get that bender started on Friday night? This picture promises a neon good time but it smells like stale cigarettes, cheap beer, broken promises and debilitating regret.
Pink Flag, Wire – While other punk bands imagined themselves to be hoisting the black flag and slitting throats, Wire was more interested in maps and boundaries; hence, a surveying flag as oblique manifesto (they didn’t even include the album title on the cover). A declaration not of war nor surrender, but of demarcation and subtraction.
Coastal Brake, Tycho – A little like a sunnier, warmer Boards of Canada, Tycho trades explicitly on a sort of wavery, watery nostalgia. This silhouette has it all: faux-aged and -distressed, it even has flares or water droplets freckling the “lens”; one green-eyed girl on one golden day, both gone forever.
What’re your favorite examples of accurate album art?