When I think of album covers, I think of something that is supposed to pull you in and be a companion to the music within that album. After you take out the record, put it on the turntable and start spinning, the album cover will be something that you will be looking at through this entire music experience so it has to be something that is the visual representation of this sonic magic coming out of your speakers. That is the great thing about vinyl records. It is about the entire experience, both hearing the music and also, in a way, seeing it. When I put together this Top 10 list, I wanted to have albums that did a genius job of mixing the album cover with the music that was created within the record. Enjoy…
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
If this list was ranked #1 being the best and #10 being the worst, Led Zeppelin’s debut record would shoot straight up to the top of the list, no questions asked. This is the quintessential record when it comes to the album cover fitting the music on the album and I am not just saying that because it is and will always be my favorite Zeppelin record. Even though the subject of this photo is tragic, it is a perfect representation of how raw, and heavy the music is. It is a thunderous sound throughout the album and fits the image of a giant air ship, falling from the sky. It is truly an explosion of sound.
Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
In my opinion, this was the Foo Fighter’s last great album. The album cover itself is what I would call a perfect and creative cover for a true rock n roll record. I mean, what else could be more perfect for the cover of a rock record other than an aerial bomb armed with a guitar amplifier tube. It also has this vintage feel and a rugged look to it which matches the music perfectly. The cover depicts a mix of the heavy, no bull rock n roll with a more softer, rugged, vintage folk feel and that is exactly the diversity of music that is found on the record. The music on this album really is a sonic weapon.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
If you are looking for an album cover that will really get you into the mood for the music on the album, than look no further than Black Sabbath’s debut record. It is everything that the music is: dark, gloomy, and mysterious. Whoever created this photo for the album was genius. It is a very creepy and dark photo and you do not really know what it means or who that women is or even what house that is in the background. It gets your imagination working and that is very important when you listen to music. It really gives you the perfect vibe to be in when listening to this record. This would be a great record to turn off all the lights and listen to it with just one candle lit. Also, you canNOT beat the first Sabbath album…I mean c’mon…N.I.B.!
Rush – 2112
This is one of the more iconic album covers, at least for Rush fans and rock fans in general. You have to think about it as someone who has never heard this album before. Just looking at it, your first thought is “What in the world does that red star represent?” and then you see 2112 titled under Rush. Knowing it is Rush, it has to be significant in some way. If you are new to the album, it really grabs your eye and sparks your imagination. If you are a seasoned Rush fan, it is a perfect album cover. The red star being the “logo” of the solar federation in the 2112 story and 2112 being the year in which the story takes place. It really goes well with the story and music.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love
I love this album cover because not only is there so much color and so much going on but it just puts me in the right mood to listen to the record. It is very cool to look at while you are listening. This may be my favorite Hendrix record and the cover has always pulled me in. Simply put: it is just the coolest cover out there.
Soundgarden – King Animal
This is a more recent album for the well-known band, Soundgarden. As soon as I saw this, I loved it. I love anything relating to Winter and I think that is what caught my eye first but it is also very dark and mysterious if you really look at it. It is a great representation of the mood associated with the record. It is a great mix of classic Soundgarden sounds with heavy and somber moments as well. It is another cover that really fits well with the music and it great to look at and enjoy while listening to the record.
Boston – Boston
This is really “classic rock” at its best. My parents had 3 or 4 copies of this between them and I even remember this cover from my childhood. It always stuck out to me. How can you go wrong being a boy at 7 or 8 years old and seeing cool guitars that are also spaceships that house an entire city. Super cool. They were more of a “studio band” but this will always be a classic in my book.
The Maine – Pioneer
This is my “weird but I love it” choice. I am a late arrival to The Maine fan club but I thank my girlfriend, Melanie, who introduced me to her favorite band when we started dating and I have loved them ever since. I have always been really intrigued by this cover but it stands as one of my favorites because to me it makes no sense yet at the same time, makes perfect sense. It is hard to explain. It just looks really cool and for some weird reason, fits perfectly with the music. He is like a hipster Santa Clause.
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Random Access Memories is the “keep it simple, stupid” cover of the list. It will attract both the new comer who has no idea who Daft Punk is or who “the robots” are and also the veteran Daft Punk fan who are well versed in “the robots.” This cover is perfect for the music because of the opposites attract idea. It is a very simple but very cool cover for a record which is packed full of a variety of sounds. This record is a work of genius in my book and it is one of the coolest covers. Retro.
Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots
Even though this is not my favorite Stone Temple Pilots album, the cover is definitely my favorite. It has what Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories has: the “keep it simple, stupid” idea. I have always wanted this as a bumper sticker or t-shirt. It is a very cool piece of art and puts a great vibe into the record. Peace.
Feature Image from: https://www.reference.com/science/dimensions-record-album-cover-4ca5947698d6f713