Album Cover Art

One of the topics most discussed across the Duranie community lately is that of the artist chosen to do the cover art for Duran’s next album, Cluney Reid.  Her work is not always easy or fun to look at but definitely interesting and thought provoking, in my opinion.  Duranies have had much to say about this choice and about album covers, in general.

It appears that most fans who have seen samples of Reid’s work are not impressed.  Those people, it seems, would prefer something more obvious, something easier to look at, something that generally seems happy.  Some fans prefer the cheerful, now iconic, image of the Rio cover. Other fans request covers featuring the band’s image like Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Many mentioned the possibility of how the album cover might affect sales of the album.   This lead me to think about the purpose of both art and album covers.

Are album covers supposed to just help sell the album?  Are they supposed to encompass the overall feeling of the album?  Are they supposed to do something more and ask people to think about something?  It seems to me that they can do all three.  I don’t really know if an album cover could actually sell an album, especially now.  Would a cover make you buy something from an artist or band that you have never of?  Would it make you try a band again if they had not been enjoyable to you?  I doubt that the album cover would have much impact on sales in that way, especially in the era of downloading.  Maybe it helps fans be proud of an album, though, and that this pride translates into playing and showing the album to friends and family, which might result in more albums being sold.  Nonetheless, I suspect that any increase in sales via the album cover is minimal.  Should the album cover do more then just trying to sell copies then?

Should the cover reflect the mood or theme of the album?  Should it give a hint about what the music will sound like?  This seems possible to me.  If I see an angry image on the cover, I might have some idea that the music might be loud and angry, maybe something in more of a metal genre.  Likewise, if I see something happy and carefree, I would suspect that it might be light pop music.  Should the title then match the mood or feeling?  I think that it isn’t a horrible idea.  Duran has done that, sometimes.  Red Carpet Massacre has an album cover that certainly matches the title and to some extent, the music.  At other times, they haven’t.  For example, the album Astronaut showed a picture of the band rather than any space references.  Will this album cover match either the music or the title?  Will it do both?  Only time will tell.

One thing that I have always appreciated about Duran’s album covers is that they have always been interesting to me.  There are some I like more than others.  Yet, they have always made me think a bit more about art and about the music included.  If that is part of the goal of an album cover, then, I am beyond excited by the idea of using an artist like Reid who obviously wants people to think when they look at her work.  Maybe it will spur more discussion about some or many contemporary topics.  Perhaps, the fans will have much to ponder as they have had with past album covers.  For this, I appreciate that the band has always taken time to really think about the album’s cover.  Of course, sometimes, I have wished that they would not have spent so much time on the cover in order to get the album out faster!!!  🙂

-A

2 thoughts on “Album Cover Art”

  1. I think the cover for Astronaut was more appropriate to the music than you mentioned. Sure, it's not even remotely space oriented, but it was their reunion album, so a having all five members on the cover does make sense.

  2. I definitely agree that it was good to have Astronaut feature the five guys, which may have given a hint to the music, assuming that you knew of Duran in the early 80s. If you didn't, though, then it wouldn't have helped you.

    Thanks for the comment!

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