Sunday, September 15, 2013

My 50 Favorite Rock Album Covers: #6-10

This is Part Nine in my series listing my 50 Favorite Rock Album Covers of All Time.  We’ve made it to the Top 10, ladies and gentlemen!  I’m really excited to share the next 5 entries, which together feature some great covers from the 1980’s, and a couple others from one of my all-time favorite bands, who start us off at #10.  Let’s do this.

#10: Band of Susans – The Word and The Flesh 

This was the only LP I owned for a long time from this NYC band from the early 1990’s, before I wised up, bought their entire catalog, and began my rock worship of them.  This cover is the second of theirs to make my list – the cover of Veil came in at #36.  This one is a stark, simple image that might mislead the observer as to the sound on the record behind it.  BOS had three electric guitars blazing on nearly every song throughout its history.  The strummers behind all of them were talented and genius enough to blend all three axes into a completely unique musical fabric of howling, buzzing, and whirling beauty.

#9:  U2 – October

This isn’t just one of my favorite album covers ever, it’s also one of my favorite band photos of all time.  It continues to fascinate me…knowing what mega-huge, global super-stars these four have been for so long, and then thinking back to their humble beginnings as young men fired up to conquer the world.

#8:  Billy Joel – Glass Houses 

Billy Joel has never been one for subtlety in his music, has he?  I mean, when he wanted to write a song about dating an Uptown girl, he titled it “Uptown Girl,” and when he wrote one about his own experience being a piano man in a bar, he titled it “Piano Man.” 

So it makes sense that on this cover, he appears, rock in hand overhead, positioned in front of a house of glass.  The famous saying he drew upon, of course, is “Don't throw stones, if you live in a glass house,” meaning, it is foolish to criticize someone else for something one is doing themselves.  I just realized for the first time in writing this, however, that as the subject of the photo, he is standing outside the glass house, not inside.  Hmmmm…

#7:  Band of Susans – Here Comes Success 

I think from here on up, I’m going to keep asking myself, “Why wasn’t this one #1?” BOS' third and final entry on my list is a stunning visual achievement, a whole feature-length film in one still-shot.  Which is all the more impressive, given that the only two human characters are small in stature, compared to the simply gorgeous 1960’s Rambler Marlin sports car that takes up most of the cover.

I just look at this and keep wondering about the story unfolding within it…why wear a suit for a simple joyride with your lady?  Did you go for a classy dinner and then suddenly decide to go driving on a whim?  Why is she looking back at the car, instead of the vista he’s looking off to?  Is she more impressed with the car than with its driver?  Or does the car represent some ongoing sense of adventure, she’s worried will pass her by when he drops her back home…?

#6:  The Police – Synchronicity

If you’ve read the rest of the whole list up ‘til now, you know my fondness for bright and bold colors, especially the primary variety.  So put red, yellow and blue swatches across an album cover, and you can’t really go wrong with me.  But it’s the incredible assembly of black-and-white photography of the three band members behind the color swatches that truly amaze.  

45 down, only 5 more to go, including my choice for the top spot.  A certain band who did not score a single entry in positions 6 to 50 somehow managed to score 2 in the Top Five.  A band from the 2000’s representing New York City and another from the South also make their marks, but who will it be at the top?  

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