Album covers were originally just flimsy bits of paper to try and protect the shiny goods underneath but they have since evolved into something that musicians can use for their artistic expression. Although many artists tend to go for a bland picture of themselves with an equally as bland background, some musicians have produced some iconic and fantastic artwork: Here are just a handful of them.
Death Grips – The Money Store
Starting things off a bit risque, Death Grip’s most acclaimed album also has their second most shocking album cover with No love Deep Web’s dick pic being the victor. While it simply looks like an odd man being chained up by a smoking girl, in an interview with Pitchfork the band went into detail about the cover, stating:
We consider ourselves feminists, we fiercely support homosexuality, transparent world leadership, and the idea of embracing yourself as an individual in any shape or form. Acceleration is a mantra, we’re not a political band, we are freaks and outsiders. It was important to project that message and energy through the artwork of this album. This is free thinking and eternally open-ended music… [The cover] is like an ambassador to the sound.
The cover is ultimately quite fitting with the hard hitting, bombastic sound being wonderfully accompanied by the masochistic relationship depicted, one listen turning you into the sub to Death Grip’s dom.
Outkast – Stankonia
While this cover falls into the cliche of “artist standing in front of background”, Outkast, much like with their music, stand out in quite a subtle way. Presenting Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton , it could easily just be a patriotic cover until you notice American flag is purely black and white, no doubt hinting to the racial tension in the US. Despite being released in 2000, the message is still just as strong now as it was then and it manages to do so without being in your face, unlike Outkast themselves who are so fresh and so clean that they managed to make their mark off Stankonia alone: who says you can’t be funky and socially aware?
Foals – Antidotes
It seems that as rock juggernauts Foals shapeshift and evolve with each new record so to do their covers. Total Life Forever showed the band submerged underwater, no doubt to match the tranquil nature of the record, and Holy Fire having some stern horses that can be easily compared to the strength and beauty of that album. However, love it or hate it, Antidotes has the best cover of the lot with a simply drawn man with a mouth full of vibrant, colourful…things. Much like the behaviour many critics at the time had towards Foals, some calling them off as just another indie rock act, the band knew themselves that their appearance was deceiving as they had something interesting worth saying: thank god we let them.
– Liam Menzies