We live in an age where singles rule.
Gone are the days when holding a real, physical album in hand are common, when we might (just maybe) listen to a record from start to finish. (I know — hard to imagine, right?) Now we have Spotify, where almost any track can be found instantaneously. Just as it has evolved to become the source for practically all else, the internet is our new launch-pad for music. It acts as both vehicle and navigator on our road to exploring the ever-expanding face of the musical universe. Aside from the lingering obsessions of die-hard vinyl fans, album covers have become obsolete.
But to celebrate the days when album art wasn't left in the dust, I've compiled what I believe to be the top 10 best album covers EVER (this includes oldies and new guys). Take a gander and voice your own favorites.
1. Sticky Fingers (The Rolling Stones, 1971)
The Rolling Stones's 11th studio album Sticky Fingers was the first release on their newly formed label, Rolling Stones Records. The vinyl classic features a real zipper and belt buckle that open to reveal male briefs. With that kind of genius 70s innuendo, this album cover has got to be on anybody's top 10 list.
2. Abbey Road (The Beatles, 1969)
Another classic. Abbey Road remains the Beatles's best selling album, as well as their last to be recorded. Though tensions were high previous to laying down the tracks that came to be Abbey Road, the Beatles managed to end this one on a high note – the band's mutual energy seems to resonate from this iconic cover, with all members walking the same path together, one last time.
3. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd, 1975)
Six years after Abbey Road, this cover is equally a classic. Who doesn't love the dark obscurity of a man in a blazing suit? Fun fact: Richard Wright and David Gilmour have both declared Wish You Were Here their favorite Pink Floyd album.
4. The Information (Beck, 2006)
If you search this cover in Google Images, you'll find dozens of different artistic takes on it. That's because Beck chooses you to be the album artist – you get the pieces, you're in charge of your individual album's own design. It's that kind of creativity that's quickly making artistic achievements like The Information contemporary classics.
5. Nevermind (Nirvana, 1991)
Not quite an oldie and not quite new either, you can't help but admire the metaphor of fishing for a naked baby with a dollar bill. My question is... did any babies drown in the making of this album?
6. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles, 1967)
Back up in time a bit, and this album cover was revolutionary. So many card board cut-outs! Such fancy suits! Look at that awesome kick drum! And just one black guy shoved in the corner...
7. Santogold (Santogold, 2008)
The debut album by Santogold (real name: Santi White), who can ignore album art depicting White vomiting sparkles?
8. It's Blitz! (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 2009)
As their third studio album, It's Blitz! certainly conveys the in-your-face style of indie-rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and shows they're not afraid to get a little messy... salmonella style.
9. Is This It (The Strokes, 2001)
Nothing screams sexy like a leather glove on a naked butt. That might explain why this cover was replaced in the U.S. just months after release.
10. Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin, 1969)
This photo of the Hindenburg seconds after catching fire could not be more fitting for the revolutionary English rockers' debut album.