Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great Album Covers: Standards

With the dominance of the CD as the musical format of choice in the 90s and early 00s, I feel like less care and imagination were taken for album covers. Since the CD was the primary format, it made for smaller, often less interesting covers. A band's music videos and magazine interview pictorials became more important to drawing people in than word of mouth or, indeed, an album's cover. So why not just have a visual pun on the album's title as a cover, or a blinged out, fisheye picture of a rapper with a bunch of shiny words in a gold font around him?

Still, during this time there were some bands putting out interesting or noteworthy album covers. Tortoise's in particular I recall always being drawn to, even in CD form. With the exception of It's All Around You, I love every one of the covers they've had for all of their releases, even the cool B&W photo of an accident scene on the A Lazarus Taxon boxset.

Standards is probably my favorite of all, however. As an instrumental band, it's strange to see such a political cover, suggesting perhaps that something wasn't right about our country. Moreover, the chopped up, Photoshopped U.S. flag on the cover hints at the jittery, heavily electronic sound of the music contained within.

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