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24 Minimalist Album Covers

It’s all about the music.

It must take a lot of restraint for a musician to leave the cover of their album blank.


No glamour shots, no psychedelic expression of their music via visual images. Just the name of the band, or album, or sometimes neither. Here’s a tribute to those artists who had the confidence to let the music speak for itself…

24. Trans Am, Trans Am (1996)

Thril Jockey

23. (GI), The Germs (1979)

Slash

22. Rated R, Queens of The Stone Age (2000)

Interscope

21. Fear Of Music, Talking Heads (1979)

Sire

20. Diver Down, Van Halen (1982)

Warner Bros.

19. The Photo Album, Death Cab For Cutie (2001)

Barsuk/Fierce Panda

18. The Information, Beck (2006)

Interscope

17. Nite Versions, Soulwax (2005)

PIAS

16. Metallica, Metallica (1991)

Elektra

15. Back In Black, AC/DC (1980)

Atlantic

14. The Wall, Pink Floyd (1979)

Columbia

13. Live At Leeds, The Who (1970)

MCA

12. 77, Talking Heads (1977)

Sire

11. Channel Orange, Frank Ocean (2012)

Def Jam

10. The Grey Album, Danger Mouse (2004)

Danger Mouse

9. The Carpenters, The Carpenters (1971)

A&M

8. Suck It And See, The Arctic Monkeys (2011)

Domino

7. 1, 2, 3, Pole (1998 - 2000)

Matador

Pole, AKA Stefan Betke, is a German electronic musician whose sound is as minimal as his covers. His songs are composed of quiet analog hisses and pops set to ambient rhythms. The fact that he managed to restrain himself from cover art for three consecutive albums is impressive.

6. The Beatles, The Beatles (1968)

Apple Records

Props must be given to the Fab Four for inventing the minimal album cover. Their blank cover was the strongest statement they could make immediately following the explosion of color that adorned Sgt. Pepper.

But they could have gone even more minimal by ditching all text, like the following albums did…

5. xx, The xx (2009)

Young Turks

4. Tri Repetae, Autechre (1995)

Warp Records

3. The Black Album, Prince (1994)

Warner Bros.

No artist name, no album title, no color. Prince had the most minimal album cover of all time right? Well…

2. Smell The Glove, Spinal Tap (1984)

MGM

Spinal Tap did the same thing ten years earlier, even if it was just a comedy movie.

So, Spinal Tap, I’m-a let you finish. But Kanye had the most minimal album cover of all time. Because it was invisible:

1. Yeezus, Kanye West (2013)

Def Jam

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