Is album cover art still relevant?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by qwerty, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. eric777

    eric777 Rock Star

    Location:
    Tennessee
    Years ago, one of the ways people would decide on what albums to buy was by the artwork itself. It was especially important for blind purchases. Now there are so many ways to hear music easily it seems as though the need for artwork is far less. I guess for some the artwork is still essential but for many others it's pointless. I really don't know to be honest. This is just a guess.

    I can speak for myself and say that I personally don't care about artwork. I usually don't even look through the CD booklets unless I think there might be something worth reading. There usually isn't. At least there is nothing worth reading more then once. That's just me though. To each their own.
     
  2. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Now Jelly Rolls in the Street

    Location:
    London
    Zorn is one of the few who really cares about artwork.
     
  3. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Location:
    Maine
    The beginning and the end. To me this is one of the finest examples of thoughtful album design--beginning to end.

    Leonard in the beginning. A portrait of the young man and poet singer. His portrait contained in a "window" to his soul/music...

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    And full circle, 2016, an almost surreal treatment that the cover art symbolizes and implies: Leonard moving on to another plane -- designed with a return to the brilliant "window" treatment in a black frame of that first LP, though distorted this time, with great effect.

    A very thoughtful nod to his first album, and what Leonard and his closest family likely knew: a that it would be his last...


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    What a wonderful gift & tip of his hat to us, his fans. We got closure, as Leonard was also likley looking for with his greatest poetic statement.

    [​IMG]

    How many artists meet or exceed their first musical efforts?? (In which their debut is often their strongest work, or at least their freshest?)

    At 82, Leonard may have exceeded his debut! A perfect LP, start to finish. Not a weak track. The supreme artist and craftsman, didn't let up, even when he could hardly summon the strength to finish each song. But somehow he did--with the support and strength of his blessed son by his side.

    Thank you Mr. Cohen for your beautiful swan song, and to the designer who captured Leonard's last effort with that wonderful album cover....beautifully perfect.

    :tiphat:
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  4. richbdd01

    richbdd01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I guess you don’t buy much physical media then. If you invest more time in your turntable, I would imagine you wouldn’t be asking this question. I would guess you stream more....which is fine. However, streaming is not for me...
     
  5. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Location:
    Maine
    Yep. My turntable is on constant rotation in my home. Rock on!

    Gotta be quick (or use the quote feature )or you'll miss the metaphorical boat/your point...I assume you are referring to the post just before mine...

    :pineapple:

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  6. richbdd01

    richbdd01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I was referring to the OP ;)
     
  7. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I think that album cover art is still relevant. Despite the smaller size of more recent formats (and the small size of the album art in downloads), it still provides something to unify the album and provide it with its own identity. That is something that text alone can't do as well.

    As an example of providing an album with an identity, despite the seemly lack of cover art for The Beatles' album The Beatles (commonly called The White Album), that is the very thing which made the album stand out among the rest of The Beatles' albums. Only seeing the text Album: The Beatles on a screen seems lacking.

    In the same way, a series of album covers can tell a story. An example of this is with ABBA. When you go from album to album, they begin with album covers that are bright and sunny (excluding the original Greatest Hits cover that looked like something more appropriate to a death metal album), but as they progress the album covers become darker and darker and the members more separated from each other. By the last album, The Visitors. the cover is composed of dark colors with barely a bright spot on the cover with the four members about as far apart from each other as possible, seemly like they don't want to be in the same room together.
     
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  8. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Location:
    Maine
    Things can get confusing as posts can be placed in the wrong order than we intended if we aren't quick enough on the button...happens to me, too often!

    Cheers
     
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  9. Crimson jon

    Crimson jon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston
    Yes... The other day I saw this weird yellow album cover in the new lp section and I thought I read the words lsd but it was lda. It was the new Mgmt which I didn't know was even out but since I love their first two albums I went over to the CD section and bought my compressed digital version while wishing I had a vinyl set up. The strange album cover caused a sale so I guess they still matter in a relative way.
     
  10. If I Can Dream_23

    If I Can Dream_23 Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    Yes, the White Album is brilliant in its ironic simplicity but, as you mentioned, even it has to be experienced via the tangible 12" square. One must appreciate the embossing, the often off-focus edges of the serial number inks, the paste-over materials (for lovers of the US albums), the inside photos and inserts, etc. I just can't fathom having access to that cover (or really any cover) on some computer screen and finding it as...real...as the experience of holding the actual thing, collecting it, or physically appreciating it as being intertwined with the love of the music. I mean, I know it's a digital world now. I, myself, enjoy making fantasy covers and creating "albums" via images etc. But I would never mistake that for the tangible joy in owning an actual record or being able to store or appreciate a physical product firsthand.

    Heck, I don't even like the physical copies of the White Album that did away with the embossing and use processed print for "The Beatles" on later issues! Let alone, trying to appreciate album art from pixels on a screen or phone! :)
     
  11. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 "The Thinking Man's Drinking Man"

    Location:
    Liverpool UK
    :tiphat:

    From one old duff to another, "Well said, sir"
     
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  12. Harmonator

    Harmonator Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    It’s relevant if you are a fan of a particular artist or just appreciate physical media.

    The trouble is that music is so immediate and consumable these days with streaming services, the artwork has become less relevant or important to people.

    The days of a long bus ride into town to go to the record store and pick up your favourite band or artists new release are all but forgotten. That time spent on the journey home studying the album or single sleeve, reading the lyrics and imagining what the tracks will sound like - that was part of the thrill of buying and getting to know a record. It was an experience that people would remember.

    It’s an cliche I know; “things were better in the old days” but I’m sure most kids couldn’t tell you where they where when they downloaded their first Taylor Swift or Little Mix album. That’s a little bit sad in my view.

    Don’t get me wrong times change and streaming has its place from a convenience standpoint, it’s wonderful but give me a physical copy of something anyday. A shiny new cd or lp is a thing of beauty :righton:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Aftermath

    Aftermath Forum Resident

    In response to the OP:
    It's absolutely relevent if all the young folks who post their vinyl collections on YouTube and rave about the artwork is any indication. Here's just one example:

     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  14. Dondy

    Dondy Forumaniac

    Sure didn't hurt sales:
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Enapace

    Enapace Active Member

    Location:
    Staffordshire
    I think that album art is still valid but it’s starting to become less valid. Like with Laserdisc in one way the massive artwork for films is no where like it once was
     
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  16. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    Location:
    Midwest
    It sure does.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. zen

    zen Forum Resident

    In a tweet, Townsend shares his approval, stating, "Re - Deep Purple logo: not a big deal to me. Not sure it should be ... plus it's Steve Morse and he can do whatever he wants :)"
     
  18. ToneLa

    ToneLa Listen to those drums, it's like a tank

    Location:
    Liverpool
    Yep, even my digital music displays cover art... is anyone REALLY worried about this? Especially now vinyl is back from the doldrums?
     
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  19. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    Location:
    Midwest
    I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. It was obviously still nicked....they even have an album called “Infinity”. :laugh:
     
  20. bluejsr

    bluejsr Well-Known Member

    Location:
    southwest ohio
    It matters to artists like Robert Pollard, of Guided By Voices etc fame, who creates his album covers collages himself or uses a portion of a print or artwork as his record/cd covers for any and all of his projects!
     
  21. If I Can Dream_23

    If I Can Dream_23 Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    That's a beautiful sight! :)
     
  22. ToneLa

    ToneLa Listen to those drums, it's like a tank

    Location:
    Liverpool
    I picked up two brand new albums this week (JC Satan and Suuns) and while neither have classic designs, it's good to see they both have a distinct respective visual style, also mirrored on the artist websites. I suppose the word is congruent - I can tell from the covers who the artist is through familiarity with their other work, and I can appreciate what their current or ongoing visual styles are.

    I think my favourite current bands actually follow that tradition to varying extents. A tired comparison is the one between Floyd and Radiohead, but Radiohead's art is unmissable to me.

    Sorry but I just don't know why this question is being asked! I still pore over lovely vinyl gatefold sleeves and the artists I buy happen to do this well enough to be rewarding, although like with much about music I'll easily admit to a slight jealousy for those cats around in the 60s, although I pore over those sleeves too!

    Relevant is such an odd term though. I think it's cool to not care about such things ;)... But to appreciate solid effort when you find it.
     
  23. joshm2286

    joshm2286 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Texas
    Album artwork is still relevant today. My favorite album covers are the Pink Floyd albums, Led Zeppelin, early Metallica, Megadeth ed repka covers, Death, early Sepultura, Lamb of God, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens tea for the tillerman, Tool and that's all I can think of.

    The artwork has to be of good quality. The artwork usually compliments the music on the album. It can represent the content on the disc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  24. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    The above comment reminds me of the cover of "Weird Al" Yankovic's first album. He chose an artist who is reminiscent of the artists of Mad Magazine (it looks greatly influenced by the great Jack Davis) and the cover contains a reference to every song on the album (in some cases more than one). Unfortunately, this is a case where the smaller size of post-LP formats works against the album art, making it difficult to make out many of the details.
     
  25. bibliotudinous

    bibliotudinous Music Freak

    Location:
    Sonoma County, CA
    I have no idea. I don't listen to new music, and their photoshopped covers leave me cold. My favorite albums, however--most from the '70s--have covers that are beautiful or interesting (or both). I used to buy music based on the cover alone!

    I do buy stuff like Yes's recent Topographic Drama release, for which Roger Dean designed the cover. Because of his artwork I think of him almost as a band member! Compare to the artwork for their album Magnification. Yuck!
     

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