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)
23. (GI), The Germs (1979)
22. Rated R, Queens of The Stone Age (2000)
21. Fear Of Music, Talking Heads (1979)
20. Diver Down, Van Halen (1982)
19. The Photo Album, Death Cab For Cutie (2001)
18. The Information, Beck (2006)
17. Nite Versions, Soulwax (2005)
16. Metallica, Metallica (1991)
15. Back In Black, AC/DC (1980)
14. The Wall, Pink Floyd (1979)
13. Live At Leeds, The Who (1970)
12. 77, Talking Heads (1977)
11. Channel Orange, Frank Ocean (2012)
10. The Grey Album, Danger Mouse (2004)
9. The Carpenters, The Carpenters (1971)
8. Suck It And See, The Arctic Monkeys (2011)
7. 1, 2, 3, Pole (1998 - 2000)
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)
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)
4. Tri Repetae, Autechre (1995)
3. The Black Album, Prince (1994)
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)
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: