My Favorite Album Covers of 2012
Let’s see…we have individual lists for best albums, favorite albums, top 10 from the frequent contributor’s and the reader’s top 50. We don’t have anything for producers, engineers or guitar techs. And we missed an opportunity to come up with the best banner ads that Kyla sold this year, although I’ll nominate the in-house pitch to buy the No Depression posters which are all really quite nice. No lists of favorite recording software, best streaming sites or indie record stores. The field for a blogger is actually wide open this time of the year and I was thinking about something different to focus on.
Album covers…a lost art. No…not just lost, but forsaken. I’ve gone through all the covers from this year’s new additions to my own collection which is quite hefty. The word uninspired comes to mind. Without the need to grab your attention inside the physical environment of an actual store, it seems the trend these days is to come up with the easiest and cheapest gift wrapping for all your hard work in the studio. Or basement. Or wherever it is you do it these days. Doesn’t even look like many folks bother to hire a real graphic artist anymore. Call your cousin or maybe Uncle Buddy who does IT work for the local Pennysaver and let them throw something together in Photoshop. Eek.
And on the other hand, with so many new albums coming out these days, you’re just bound to find some nice looking albums from time to time, and that’s what I got here. Yeah yeah yeah…it’s what I like, what’s visually appealing to moi. You might not like it and have your own list, so feel free to add what I’ve missed in the comments section or post your own. Beauty in the eye of the beholder, and all that jazz.
In the 1930s recorded music was sold in plain packaging, or record shop advertising ‘bags’; sets of discs were also usually issued in plain albums. However, colored artwork had been used on special albums, from World War I. This was separately printed and pasted onto album covers and occasionally inside the albums: for example, HMV’s issue of Liza Lehmann’s “In a Persian Garden” and operettas by Edward German and Gilbert & Sullivan were all available by 1918 in such decorated albums. Alex Steinweiss worked as the advertising director for Columbia Records, and was the person responsible for coming up with covers for the 33 1/3 album format. He was active in record cover design from 1939 until 1973. In July 2011 Alex Steinweiss passed away.