Moving into August with my five favourite album covers, we have some cracking ones for you below. Let’s lunge right in, as Lady C often says.
Fela Kuti and the Afrika 70 – Gentleman – 1973
I mean come on. This is superb. I advise you to listen to the track ahead of appreciating the cover. Fela had come back from a trip to the West radicalised against the powers who had oppressed Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Fela was particularly aggrieved by Africans going to the West and coming back with airs of grandeur, dressing in the Western way despite the heat of Nigeria and being generally superior. In this record, he eviscerates those he considers ‘been tos’ in a most excellent way. The cover is a continuation of this, with Fela dressing a monkey in a suit to highlight the idiocy he perceived.
Deee-Lite – World Clique – 1990
I have purchased the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die book. This was one of the first in the 1990s chapter. This used to be one of my favourite albums. I had not realised until recently how excellent the cover art is. One reflects while listening that this is one of the albums which defined the sound of the 90s. The album itself is excellent but the cover is next level. Look at the damn shoes! Look at the colours in the trousers. Look at the facial hair. This is so deliciously whacky.
Julian Cope – Fear – 1984
He’s taken enough LSD to kill lesser mortals, was once photographed naked under a turtle shell on a slag heap for an LP cover… PRS For Music
Julian Cope, wearing a turtle shell, looking at a toy truck, on a slag heap in Alvecote Warwickshire. No further comment needed. The album itself is triumphant but the cover is almost as great. He was nude under the shell, by the way.
Prince – Lovesexy – 1988
Speaking of nudity, this cover by Prince is immense to me. The pride Prince must have had in himself and the body confidence to pose nude on a bed of superimposed flowers, quite blazé, is astonishing to me. Fun fact: I was once in a band. A few of us in high school were in a band called Tokyo Train. One of my bandmates asked me “if the combination of a movie and music is a musical, what would be the combination of a musical and a game?”, “why, a gaysical, I responded”. Thus was born the concept of a gaysical. My bandmate Daniel, who was and remains a man of profound genius, made a game from scratch and added our music to it. I got to choose my character and I asked for a character in the style of the above cover, wearing only white gloves and socks. Daniel pulled through, though my character could only walk backwards. I wish I could find a photograph for you, it was magnificent.
Grace Jones – Warm Leatherette – 1980
Finally staying with tradition, feast your eyes on Grace Jones’ 1980 cover of Warm Leatherette. The stern stance, the piercing stare, the exaggerated arms and the double letters all lend themselves to almost a violent cover. It seems meant to destabilise you. Her skin is resplendent and her hair is precision cut – the holistic visual result of this is very powerful to me. It reminds me of some of the lyrics in Private Life, one of her first breakout hits:
Your sentimental gestures only bore me to death
You’ve made a desperate appeal now save your breath
Attachment to obligation through guilt and regret
Shit that’s so wet
And your sex life complications are not my fascinations
Well that is about it from the August Edition of Five Favourites. I trust you enjoyed!