Slept on album covers Pt. 1
BY : NICK MELEDANDRI
wake me up inside
Nick Meledandri, LA-based graphic designer and a co-founder of WEDIDIT Records, compiles iconoclastic album artwork from the past 40 years. Today, very often, nostalgic tones filter into new album art; so a walk down memory lane is imperative in understanding today’s aesthetic choices in the music industry and beyond. Check out some of his faves below.
01. THREE 6 MAFIA'S 'THE END'
Three 6 Mafia’s second album “The End” is truly the Michael Bay equivalent of all Pen + Pixel style cover art that came around in the 90s. Three 6 is blasting off of an apocalyptic earth on a boombox into space is something I can never get sick of looking at, it’s timeless.
02. RADIO DEPT.'S 'CLINGING TO A SCHEME'
When I was younger there was this cool ass older girl who said she liked Radio Dept. so I pretended I knew who that was because I kind of thought she said Radiohead. The cover image is a still taken from a documentary on Vietnam titled Grass. It’s a soldier using the barrel of a shotgun to smoke dope in the jungle.
03. NEW ORDER'S 'REPUBLIC'
I honestly don’t even like more than five New Order songs but the album covers that Peter Saville did for them remain some of my favorite pieces of all time. This entire series by Saville for the Republic album as well as all the corresponding singles is a darker flip on magazine/billboard advertisements of the mid 80’s.
04. CAGE'S 'WEATHERPROOF'
I got heavy into horrorcore rap for a brief moment in time, around age 13-14, about the same time I was watching movies like House of 1000 Corpses and smoking Swisher Sweets with no weed in them; it was gross. This album still holds up, and the cover will always be excellent. The cigarette dipped in PCP is the cherry on top.
05. FAITH NO MORE'S 'ANGEL DUST'
Faith No More is another band that consistently had incredible graphic design. Although, I can only fuck with like 20% of their music. The front of the album featured this majestic egret, the back of the album has images of meat hanging in a slaughterhouse. The juxtaposition of the two was meant to play off ‘beautiful & grotesque’ in the same way Angel Dust is an elegant name for a horrific drug.
06. MOBB DEEP'S 'JUVENILE HELL'
Juvenile Hell is my least favorite Mobb Deep record, but definitely my favorite album cover and title of theirs. Super simple and strong, I can’t imagine a more New York album cover than two guys wearing Timbs in front of the Empire State Building. RIP Houdini P.
07. ELECTRIC'S WIZARD'S 'COME MY FANATICS.....'
My homie Sam put me on to Electric Wizard, it was my introduction to stoner metal. I used to open all my DJ sets with Return Trip, which most people did not enjoy at all and were very vocal about. I didn’t look up what the band actually looked like for a long time cause I liked thinking they look like these guys on the cover.
08. JANDEK'S 'READY FOR THE HOUSE'
The cover for Jandek’s Ready For The House is so perfect. I keep it in a folder and look at it when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s kind of eerie yet oddly soothing, kind of like Jandek’s music which is so fucked up it’s incredible.
09. THE STRANGLERS' 'THE RAVEN'
People who hate birds are going to hate this compilation because 2 of the 10 covers are like, the most glorious bird portraits I’ve ever seen. Not the best album from The Stranglers, honestly it kind of sucks but Duchess and the title track are good. This compilation isn’t about music which I’m sure you figured out by now.
10. MUSLIMGAUZE'S 'CITADEL'
Muslimgauze is another artist whose vast discography (over 100 releases) makes it hard to choose just one cover, they’re all designed so well and fit into a consistent theme. I always come back to this one because of the composition and color choices.