Monday, February 25, 2008

Cover-ups



Wilde was, mostly, right when he said that only a fool doesn't judge by appearances. These allegedly awful album covers, recently sent me are actually mostly really good, which begs the other, less frequently asked question - what are the albums which are actually very good indeed, but marred so severely by their covers that their rightful place in the canon is forever demoted? This occurred to me recently when listening to this fantastic record and this even better one, and looking at their sleeves - both of them recovered from the bargain basement at the Music & Video Exchange - pondering whether it was really morally acceptable to enjoy the music of someone with so appalling an aesthetic sense. In fact, in the case of the second of the two covers, a group that are not that far behind Kraftwerk in terms of brilliance and cataclysmic effect ('I Feel Love' owes more to them that record than it does to Ralf & Florian) are an embarrassing, rarely dropped name, simply because their sleeve looks like it should be on the cover of a particularly crap edition of Gormenghast. Conversely, their uninteresting, proggy first record has a tremendous cover. Any other examples of these rare occasions where a record should not be judged by its cover?

11 Comments:

Blogger Martin said...

The first NWW LP cover hints at all sorts of interesting music - Ants-style punk perversion meets gothic industrial racket - but was actually really dull hippie crap with embarrassing guitar widdling.

5:12 pm  
Blogger Biggie Samuels said...

And talking of England's Hidden Reverse, there's the curious example of Coil's Musick to Play in the Dark albums. These records have covers that seem like living proof of the fact that visual art can be objectively bad. And yet they fit the music - which I love - perfectly. Clearly, this is a more complex issue than we thought.

5:36 pm  
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6:58 pm  
Blogger Kosmograd said...

Most Tangerine Dream album covers were pretty lame, mostly done by henpecked Edgar's wife Monica, in my version of events.

While I've got more TD records than I'd cheerfully admit, they always sailed a bit too close to 'prog' for my liking, a charge that could never be levelled at the 'werk.

8:22 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Oh yes, I recall something like that: but didn't she do the Electronic Meditation sleeve as well, which is very cool indeed.

Definitely some of their later things are pretty proggy and dubious, but Phaedra is streamlined enough for the most fastidious minimal fan, really. Kraftwerk after about 1973 have zero prog quotient, but before that...

11:44 am  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Btw, Game of War link very nice, but why here...?

11:45 am  
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Miroslave Vitous, 'Magical Shepherd'

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7:51 pm  

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