The cover of the Black Keys’ Brothers album
WHEN the album designer Michael Carney submitted his proposed cover for the Black Keys’ album “Brothers” last year, he and the band were a little anxious. Seeking a change from their previous, illustration-driven packaging, which he’d also designed, Mr. Carney devised the simplest of covers: two sentences — “This is an album by the Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers” — set against a black background.
“We thought, ‘Are we allowed to do this?’ ” Mr. Carney recalled of the bare-bones cover, which he also felt reflected a new boldness in the Black Keys’ music. Although its label, Nonesuch, was initially perplexed, Mr. Carney’s fears were ultimately put to rest. “The marketing people said, ‘This is our dream!’ ” Mr. Carney said, and the artwork was a go.
Quoted in the NYTimes article, “The Incredible, Inevitable Shrinking Album Cover”
UPDATE: some of you have pointed out the album’s resemblance to Howlin’ Wolf’s The Howlin’ Wolf Album:
Marshall Chess referred to Howlin’ Wolf’s dislike of the arrangements on the album’s cover. Howlin’ Wolf stated that the album was “dog shit.” According to Chess, the album’s cover hurt its sales. Chess states that “I used negativity in the title, and it was a big lesson: You can’t say on the cover that the artist didn’t like the album. It didn’t really sell that well. But it was just an attempt. They were just experiments.”
For comparison, my friend @jndevereux also sent me this cover for XTC’s Go 2. It would fail miserably in iTunes:
This is a RECORD COVER. This writing is the DESIGN upon the record cover. The DESIGN is to help SELL the record. We hope to draw your attention to it and encourage you to pick it up.