Usually presented to the world before any music has been heard, album artwork can sometimes give an audience a quick glimpse into the artistic direction behind a record. Of course sometimes it gives absolutely nothing away, and the band just like the way a guys face looks.
Whatever the meaning behind these pieces, I always appreciate an album which wants to do something a little different to the standard band pose. Here's a rundown of some of my favourite pieces, as well as a few I just couldn't leave out...
Pink Floyd - Animals
An iconic surrealist shot, made all the more bizarre due to the banality of the background. Pink Floyd have made so many iconic album covers, they probably deserve a list to themselves, but we haven't got time.
Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
The angry rap-metallers used this powerful image of a monks fatal protest, to decorate their debut record. Because nothing says fuck the system like setting yourself on fire. Don't try this at home.
The Clash - London Calling
Smashing your guitar is a staple of a rock set now, but The Clash were doing it before it was cool. Destroying the instrument from which you've made your legend, still seems a bit crazy.
Weezer - Hurley
Rivers Cuomo and crew decided that for one of their hard penned releases, they'd have star of cult drama "Lost" Hugo "Hurley" Reyes be the pin up decorating the sleeve. Apparently they just like the way he looks, and so do I. Look at his glorious face.
The Strokes - Is This it
Seductively simple and sexy, The Strokes debut record featured nothing more than a leather glove and a derrière. Why not, eh?
The Beatles - Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles gathered an all star cast of celebrities and historical figures to feature in their psychedelic masterpiece Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Can you name them all?
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
The best album of 2015, and the best artwork of 2015. Racial tensions are high in the USA right now, and Kendrick Lamar is voicing the discontent of the black community in a powerful way. This artwork really needs no explanation.
Klaxons - Surfing the Void
Can you understand the hidden meaning behind this picture? No, of course you can't, because there is none. It's a cat in an astronaut suit and it warms the hearts of the entire population. Klaxons we salute you.
Young Guns - Ones and Zeros
The distraught astronaut. I talked to Ben from Young Guns about this artwork and they chose it because they liked the atmosphere of emptiness and space. The idea of being all alone. Such a striking image.
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Simple concept, the eraser. He erases things. Like the lines on the album cover. Effective and minimalist. That pretty much sums up Thom Yorke's solo effort as well. Great stuff.
Have I missed any? Of course I have! Nevermind is not even up there. Let me know your favourite artwork in the comments below.