Sometimes an album cover is the visual representation of the music inside, and then sometimes it’s just a completely random picture they used for no real reason. Here are the stories behind 10 big album covers.
Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves
This is rumored to be the cover for their upcoming album out in March. It’s the aerial shot of the Venture Out RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona, which is a 55+ retirement community for active adults who probably have no idea who Modest Mouse is.
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
Jeff Magnum had a really old postcard that featured people bathing at a beach resort. He had a designer crop it and then add the drum to the woman’s face. The very same postcard has been found a few times in recent years.
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
This picture was taken in November of 1966 from the Empire State Building. New York had a pretty bad smog problem back then.
The Black Keys – El Camino
El Camino got its name after they saw one of the old muscle cars while on tour in Canada in 2010. They put a Plymouth Grand Voyager on the cover to throw people off. It’s a similar van to the one that they toured in when they were just starting out.
Beck – Odelay
This is just a picture of a proud and articulate Komondor jumping some sort of obstacle. A Komondor is a Hungarian dog with a thick coat that dreads.
Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
This picture actually belongs to the European Space Agency. It’s a combination of three radar images of the Ganges river delta in Bangladesh taken from space. For their latest album, they used artwork their drummer Thom made because it was hard to get the image cleared to put on shirts and posters and other promotional items to sell.
Foster the People – Supermodel
They wanted to redefine what the word Supermodel meant. It’ a woman in a back alley, vulnerable, vomiting out a poem about consumption that she had consumed while surrounded by photographers. Deep?
Arctic Monkeys – AM
This is just a picture of the soundwave of somebody saying AM.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Side two of Reflektor has two songs back-to-back that reference a Greek myth about Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus was a musician who tried to save his wife Eurydic, from the underworld but failed. The album cover is an image of a sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice.
The Clash – London Calling
Paul Simonon smashed his bass while The Clash played the Palladium in New York City in 1979. The photographer who captured that moment originally didn’t want the picture to be used as the cover art because she thought it was too out of focus.