This is the next entry in Best Album Covers, a series begun right here. The first successful long-playing microgroove record for the phonograph was introduced by Columbia Records back in June of 1948. Yet, album covers (the paper board packaging that held them) didn’t come into their own graphically till decades later. Eventually becoming the cultural stamp on the music of the time. Catching the eyes of potential record-buyers and later their ears and minds. Melding the musical experience with the artist into a unique visual form.
Why Compact Disc versions of album art don’t exactly raise the same reaction these days was looked at in this post. Although, music label artistry continues to be noticed and discussed among the material published today. The bits and bytes are looking over their shoulder, though, because vinyl hasn’t entirely gone the way of the dinosaur. Online or at the record shops still out there. Cover art hasn’t lost purpose, either for old and new. Mostly, it’s my contention while digital reigns supreme, its vigor among fans lacks the tactile passion of the past LPs.
Hence the reason for this series. Some register more with me musically than others, though. Yet, the artwork will always take center stage, at least here. Let’s continue, shall we?
Good to know fine album art in the post-CD-download era we’re in has not been kicked to the curb. Case in point, the award winning sleeve adorning the album Heather Phares waxed some in her AllMusic review ten years ago:
“With each album, the Cribs have gotten a little sharper and more focused, and nowhere is this clearer than on the brilliantly named Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, the band’s major-label debut. The Cribs enlisted Franz Ferdinand‘s Alex Kapranos as producer, and it’s a good match: while he doesn’t impose too much of Franz‘s clockwork precision on the band, Kapranos reins in the Cribs‘ more shambling tendencies just enough to make Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever their most listenable, and diverse, work yet.”
And I’m almost three decades passed it.
My daughter would be the first to say, “Dad, I doubt you’ve even heard of The Cribs, let alone like their music.” Okay, guilty as charged. Still, I can see…er, hear…why they’ve developed a following and have a half-dozen albums to their name. I did give a listen to a number of tracks among them, especially a few of those with intriguing titles, but can’t honestly say I’d make them a habit. Proof we stop listening to new music beyond a certain age.
Luckily, my mind and peepers1 still work and an arresting album cover at any rate gathers attention, like Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever. At first glance, this one seemingly steeped in graphic ambience, tinged with classic photographic styling, as some my age would surmise. When the group’s original cover idea fell through2 designer Rob Crane found and repurposed an atmospheric night photo of a 1940’s silhouetted couple standing outside the Granada cinema.
- “Our Bovine Public”
- “Girls Like Mystery”
- “Men’s Needs”
- “Moving Pictures”
- “I’m A Realist”
- “Major’s Titling Victory”
- “Women’s Needs”
- “I’ve Tried Everything”
- “My Life Flashed Before My Eyes”
- “Be Safe”
- “Ancient History”
- “Shoot The Poets”
The entire series can be found here.
- Slang used by those of a certain age for a person’s eyes. ↩
- The group wanted to use an image from This Sporting Life (1963) starring Richard Harris, but getting the rights proved difficult. ↩
- “Best Art Vinyl is an annual award that first began in 2005. It celebrates artists and designers of vinyl record cover art.” ~ Wikipedia ↩