Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Record Jacket: 25 Favorite Album Covers (20-16)

20. Deftones – Deftones

Traditionally roses have symbolized beauty and love, while, skulls, have signified death and mortality. The cover seems to hint at the beauty of death, or even the idea that the beauty in life lies in the love and acceptance of the fact that it will one day end. The Image is more comforting then disturbing. It calls to mind the appreciation for the dead that we might encounter with the vibrant colors seen in Day of the Dead Imagery. Provoking in us the naturalist, and far from fatalist ideal that, death, is part of the life cycle, and should not be feared.

19. Songs About Fucking – Big Black

The last hurrah of Big Black, and only one of the many incarnations of musical genius Steve Albini, makes Songs about Fucking a classic noise-punk album, with a classic cover. When it was released the album's title was commonly blanked out. The cover featured the head of animated character sweating during sex, followed by a brutish white hair middle age man, finishing with some good old doggy style on the back cover. These images encapsulate the relentlessness of a great, no holds barred band. As CD Times Eamonn McCusker once wrote, "as brutal as that cover is, the music is even more so". I Couldn’t have said it better myself.

18. The Power to Believe – King Crimson

Now I know that most people would probably pick In the Court of The Crimson King, but I'm not most people. As iconic as album cover get, I don't think it captures the same power, as the images from, The Power to Believe. The painting on the cover was painted by P.J Cook, an artistic masterpiece called Fin de siècle, which means "End of the Century". The album was released during the early stages of our current "War on Terror" and with it dark ambiance, c the coupled with sporadic addition of more uplifting moments in tracks like "Eyes Wide Open", it allows the album cover to capture the spirit of the album and the intentions of Cook's painting. Before the image was used on the album, Cook wrote this about her painting," The infant here is not only making reference to the infant Christ but also symbolic of the new century and the world which is under constant threat. Not only the threat of war and famine but also degradation by pollution and overindulgence,... and the disregard for our natural resources, wildlife and our fellow Man. "

17. By All Means Necessary – Boogie Down Productions

A powerful album brought to you by the self-proclaimed "teacher", KRS-One. During a time in black culture when crack, Aids and violence where plaguing the inner cities across America, KRS-One does everything he can to inform African Americans across the nation of the entirety of their struggle, in an attempt to prevent his culture from destroying its self. The Album cover attempt to recall the, now famous, photo of Malcolm X, and the punctuating word of a pivotal speech, which was given by Malcolm X before he was brutally murdered,

" We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."

Many of you may remember that Nelson Mandela recited this at the end of Spike Lee's Masterpiece Malcolm X, but refused to say the last line, "by any means necessary" on camera, fearing that the apartheid would use it against him if he did.

16. Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth

This Magnum Opus comes from, arguably, one of the most influential bands of the 80's underground, Sonic Youth. The aptly titled "Daydream Nation" features a painting entitled Kerze ,or “Candle”, by German Photorealist Gerhard Richter, and a similar painting entitled Zwei Kerzen , or Two Candles, that is featured on the back. The LP's 4 sides and the CD itself featured four symbols on the disc, said to represent the four members of the band. The symbols featured are an infinity symbol, a female sign, an upper case omega, and a drawing of a demon/angel holding drumsticks. The flame of the candle lies just beneath the word "Nation" in the title, which almost ,inadvertently, symbolizes the rude awakening America has faced then, in 1988, and now while the world crumbles just slow enough to not disturb this zombified nation. And if the world is slowly ending, at least this classic has a chance to be preserved in the ruble of the Library of Congress, since it was added to the National Recording Registry.

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