Discovering good music is fun. I like to find music in a variety of ways, but it's nothing earth shattering. For the most part I read reviews and have trusted sources and sites.
But I've noticed something recently that isn't always true, but pert near. If you can appreciate an album cover as good art, you are more likely to enjoy the album as good art.
With this idea in mind I went over to check out the recently released albums at Amazon MP3. A screen cap of 5 are below. Which albums are going to be artistic? Which will "say something?" And which are more likely to tickle your ears for a minute maybe and then dissolve as something forgettable?
I've checked out all five. The first is a soundtrack and isn't quite the same category as it uses movie art and the album is a score. The next three are pics of the artists in various forms. Juvenile is there to look tough-ish. Enrique Iglesias is there to look good for chicks and I guess Cascada is there to look good for men, though odds are it's chicks who will listen to her. Notice you get four faces (and some body on the fourth). But the album on the right is different.
I haven't heard of Kathryn Williams or her album, The Quickening, until a few minutes ago. Her cover art caught my eye. The colors are odd, old, aged. There's both structure (lines and shapes) and busyness (clutter). I want to see what the bits and pieces are. Looking more closely we see it's a doll house. It seems worn, cheap, and as far as dolls are concerned, empty. What does that mean? The first albums try to convey something quick and seductive. "He's tough," or "She's hot." The final one is trying to tell me something. Trying to get beyond the heat of the moment and talk about something real, lasting, important. The first few tell me everything, which isn't that much. The last one only gives me the doorway for what I hope will be much more. I want to go there. If I try to be succinct, the first few appeal to "lust" (of one sort or another) and the last is about "life."
After listening to samples from each of them learn that my impressions are correct. William's lyrics and music is artistic, rich, thought-provoking. The rest are nothing special.
Looking into this album there's another interesting fact. This album was released in February in the UK. Check out the original cover. I don't feel at all weirded out being a dude and buying the album above. The doll house is odd enough that it doesn't seem girlish. But the original cover found through the link seems more like a real, modern day doll house. Less likely to pick up that album. Funny how it works, but that's my reaction.
Judging an album by it's cover doesn't always work, of course. But for the most part as a means of music discovery, I've been pretty pleased whenever I judge an album by its cover.