Bizarre Selection of “Beautiful” Album Covers at the NME

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The NME has posted a selection of “40 beautiful album covers” on its website so I thought I’d take a look. Well, I’m half-way through and have yet to see anything remotely “beautiful”. Cripes, the first pic is that hideous King Crimson face.

Plenty of  iconic covers are featured: Patti Smith’s Horses, Abbey Road, Nevermind, Warhol’s Banana, Unknown Pleasures, Sticky Fingers, Meat is Murder.

There seems an unhealthy batch of contemporary sleeves in 1970s Pink Floyd mode particularly Gutter Twins’ Saturnalia.

Three approach something vaguely akin to beauty; The Fleet Foxes Breugel cover, Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion and Pennie Smith’s photo of Paul Simenon on London Calling.

Frankly, I’m baffled. Beautiful? How about No 26 from NWA…?

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Or this monstrosity at No 29 from Neon Neon (below)?

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Is it me? Eye of the beholder and all that? It seems to me that the editor and the chump who’s got lumbered with the job have had some wires crossed. Come to think of it, can you think of any album covers that are beautiful? Classy, sassy, flashy, funny, iconic, intricate and just plain awful, a plethora of all, but beautiful…I’m struggling to think of one. Unless, of course, you’re talking jazz and Blue Note.

Ah, hang on a minute, number 32 Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief. Excellent sleeve. Still not totally convinced it’s beautiful, but close.

Bingo! Number 33 Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ is a truly beautiful sleeve. Never owned the album but I’ve always loved that photo of Dylan underdressed for the snow, a girl clutching his arm and VW camper in the background.

Yes, Ogden’s at number 37 is a beautiful sleeve, but oh no, no no no no no. This is ludicrous ~ Number 39 is Springsteen’s Born in the USA. A truly bad sleeve. ‘The Boss’ (ahem) also features at number 40 with Born to Run. Not a bad sleeve, I admit, but far from beautiful.

Phew, got through that lot. I wouldn’t bother if I were you. Somehow I wish I hadn’t.

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