My thoughts and interpretation of five random album covers from the last decade (or so), chosen either due to my love for the tracks they hold, or simply for the visual pleasure.
It’s Blitz! by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Let’s take a moment to admire how bad-ass this cover art is. Front woman, Karen O, and her glammed up, nail-polished hand in a high-speed photograph of her crushing an egg into oblivion… what else says “cool” so clearly? This album was the trio’s third release and had a lot of smashing (get it?) tracks, including Heads Will Roll, Zero, and Soft Shock. It’s Blitz! very much embodies the versatility of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s sound, range, and style. The tracks above are very dance-worthy and upbeat, while other tracks on the same release are more emotional and soul crushing, like Runaway and Skeleton. We could take this imagery as a display of aggression and power, or maybe it was just a cool moment in time that was captured beautifully.
Either way, it seems to explain the vibe and personality of the band and the album itself. This cover is raw, simple, and explosive; just like the songs it contains.
Atelophobia by Slow Hollows
Atelophobia is defined as the fear of imperfection or not being good enough. Here we have a couch and table covered in aluminum foil, sitting on top of a sheet. Obviously, this is a visual play on the album's title, but I particularly love the choice of foil over clear wrap. Foil is shiny, and so it could be seen as prettier than plastic, but very hard to apply perfectly. There are wrinkles and kinks throughout, which is sort of like a failed attempt at perfection. Also, it has made the room very drab and plain looking. Lets say that the intention was to suggest that perfection is boring and unattainable.
We can take what we’d like from this choice but, it looks pretty cool, and I might start foiling my furniture.
All of the Pleasures of the World by The Crayon Fields
This album cover is quite beautiful on its own, but it became one of my favorites after exploring the symbolic ties between the image and the message of the music. Starting with the vibrant, very prominent vines that fill this picture, we can imagine that these signify the group’s growth over the years as they come into adulthood. Vines grow in very hard environments and are very strong and resilient. This could be a way of expressing their feelings towards their journey as positive, while also recognizing the hardships of learning and expanding as individuals. The next thing that catches my eye is the three blue roses; childhood, adolescence, and adulthood? In the track that the album is named after, O’Connor sings "It's like I'm too young to love, so I just love everything." -- at the center of the cover, (directly beneath the center rose) there is an image of hands. These hands seem to be reaching; stretching for something. After noticing that the backdrop for all of these pieces is a very old and antique looking piano, it seems to me that the hands might be reaching for the keys? Could they be reaching for the wisdom and beauty that comes with age? Maybe the image of the hands is placed beneath the second rose, as O’Connor and the other members are in the second stage of life, and are dreaming of being able to touch the beauty of age and music.
Nighttiming by Coconut Records
The title song on this album is about a lover who is “nighttiming” and
apparently beginning to show signs of such activities. While we can only imagine the extent of what these night time escapades entail, it’s obvious that Jason Schwartzman’s feelings towards them are fairly negative. This is a fun, upbeat song, but the underlying message seems to be that his partner is changing. Maybe the storyteller wants to grow into a more monotonous, adult relationship, while the other person wants to keep going out and live more of a party lifestyle. In this cover, we have a room that looks to be located in a dollhouse, and a large eye peeking through the tiny window.
It seems that this goes along quite well with the theme of the song, as Shwartzman is looking in on his lover’s life, disapprovingly, and being a bit invasive.
With Light and With Love by Woods
With such a simple album cover, I assume that the band was either trying to be very symbolic, or just chose four random things they thought looked cool and threw them together. I am going to take the route of looking way too much into it, because… why not?
From top left to bottom right we have a mirror or light (or both), half of a human skull with what looks to be an eyeball for a brain, a mirror or possibly glass ball, and a bird. Obviously, the title of this album references light, so we can assume that what the hand is holding is either giving off or reflecting light. With the first track on this album titled Shepherd, I am going to take this hand holding up a mirror as a sort of guiding light. Moving to the skull, it seems this is a representation of the mindset. With the underlying existential crisis of this entire album, this could be a symbol of perspective. Instead of thinking and knowing, the focus is to open your mind’s eye to see, reflect, and question. Next, we will use another title, Leaves Like Glass, to guess what this ball shaped symbol is representing. Possibly, the combined fragility and beauty of life or psyche? This could also be another tool to shine and direct light through. Finally, the bird. Birds often represent freedom and spirituality. Maybe this symbol was chosen last as a way to say that through each of the former mindsets and tools, one can be free. Additionally, the last track on the album is titled Feather Man.
This album is very deep and mellow, not unlike the cover art, and it is a wonderful transition for the band.