Judge a Record by its Cover.
Hi, I’m Ruth Swanson and I’ve been meddling around in Jay’s record collection quite a bit this week. I found myself thinking, gee, you sure can’t judge a book by its cover for some damn reason but people and records on the other hand are a very different story. In response, I present to you an eclectic selection of aesthetic judgment and the fine songs that make it a slightly less shallow offering.
My Bloody Valentine
Track of Choice: Cupid Come
Cover photo by Joe Dilworth.
Track of Choice: Heroes
Cover photo by Masayoshi Sukita. So striking and goth. So into it.
Masayoshi Sukita Says: “Spiritual force defies explanation. We experience it in silence and without fanfare. Spiritual force touches us and flows from us, like the ripples on a still pond. Spiritual force is concentration and an inner energy. For strength of intellect and poetry of the heart conspire to create an essential, wordless bond between man and nature. Spiritual force is the fundamental secret shared by artists and is the reason art so vitally inspires. Spirit force or ki, is everything. And without ki, there is nothing.”
Track of Choice: Laugh Now
Ruth says: The best song. Oh fuck they’re all the best songs.
Album artwork by Kyle Field, maker of awesome album artwork and album.
Ruth and Jay say: “Major Fan Out.”
Track of Choice: Bath Roy Erzsebet
Cover artwork by Jo Ratcliffe.
Interior cave photo by Jen Garrett.
The Jimmi Hendrix Experience
Track of Choice: Have you ever been “to electric ladyland”
Ruth Say’s: This cover is gorgeous, but what draws me to it is the halo that only time can create, slightly unique to each record. Everyone’s growing older and we all get faded and worn down in our own way and this is a reminder that it can be a beautiful thing.
Big Brother & the Holding Company
No Track of Choice on this one, sorry dudes and babes, innit for the Crumb.
Cover Artwork by Robert Crumb.
Jay Says: This record cover freaked me out when I was younger, it’s one of the greatest covers ever. And Ruth is hot.
The Grateful Dead
“Anthem of the Sun”
Track of Choice: (Middle of side A it’s hard to tell but we think its Quadlibet for Tenderfeet?)
Cover Artwork by Bill Walker
Ruth Say’s: Listen to the Dead and watch the sunrise.
“Nevermind the Bollocks”
Track of Choice: Bodies
“Given the fact that their two and a half year career was the most spectacular PR stunt in music history, semi-controlled by one of it’s most nauseating self-publicists, Malcolm McClaren, maybe there was a little cheating going on. But not by the suitably anarchic artist who designed the cover for “Never Mind The Bollocks” – Jamie Reid.
Reid was working on a radical political magazine called Suburban Press at the time, so really did believe in some of the things McClaren and the Pistols sang and said (they didn’t!). He also believed punk was a legitimate art movement ‘ a movement it turns out, he helped define.
Work on the covers for the first Sex Pistols singles let Reid develop the powerful ransom note and newspaper clipping style that became iconic. First up “Anarchy in the UK” ripped up the sacred British flag on it’s sleeve, then “God Save the Queen” defaced Her Royalness’ likeness just in time for her Silver Jubilee.
The image for which Jamie Reid is best known is this one ‘ covering a monochromatic Queen’s eyes and mouth with slashed newspaper clippings was very naughty at the time, and very clever. It perfectly captured the “fascist regime” sentiments of the song, and pushed an outraged public over the edge.
A couple of singles later, and finally the full album of bollocks landed ‘ a pink and yellow canary on heroin that defined punk visually ever after. Like the music, the design is incredibly simple to the point of being moronic, but before you realise it, you’re staring and dribbling like the rest of them. My own copy of this wonderful record can be seen sideways from 15 feet across the room, a bright sliver of garish light between browns and grays and blacks of covers each side.
Like the Pistols, Jamie’s serious contributions to art and music ended pretty soon after this album came out – now 60 years old and living in Liverpool, he recently said “All that I’ve been doing is re-adapting my work from the late 60′s and early 70′s into different contexts and continuing with the same themes and messages.”
“Power Corruption and Lies”
Track of Choice: Age of Consent
Album Cover by Peter Saville
Jay Says: This is one of my top favorite songs ever.
Thee Oh Sees
Track of Choice: Head of State
Album Artwork by Paul Wackers
Thee Oh Sees
Track of Choice: Mega-Feast
Album Artwork by Kyle Ranson
Ruth Say’s: This is my favorite album cover that you own, Jay Ho.
“South of Heaven”
Track of Choice: Ghosts of War
IIIIIII DEAL in PAIN!
ALL. LIFE. III DRAAAIN!
I. SEAL. YOUR. FATE.
IIIIIII DEAL in PAIN!
ALL LIIIFE I DRAIN.
Memories. Can’t IGNORE.
RiSE GHOST OF WAR.
Jay Say’s: This is the best Slayer cover and record. Period.