The most boring album covers of all time...?

13 August 2019, 21:00 | Updated: 13 August 2019, 21:01

A sandpaper record sleeve? It happened!
A sandpaper record sleeve? It happened! Picture: Getty Images

Or are they the most stylish? Some artists think less is more when it comes to album cover design. But is it minimalist or simply dull? You decide!

  1. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See (2011)

    The Monkeys' fourth album was pretty low-key, but the title STILL upset US record stores. Why, for heaven's sake?

    Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See album cover
    Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See album cover. Picture: Press
  2. New Order - Brotherhood (1986)

    Peter Saville's most wilfully obscure album cover for New Order was the 1986 album Brotherhood, which contained an image of sheet metal and no other markings on the sleeve, apart from the catalogue number FACT 150 on the spine. “Is this the one with Bizarre Love Triangle on?” cried the nation.

    New Order - Brotherhood album cover
    New Order - Brotherhood album cover. Picture: Press
  3. Hard-Fi - Once Upon A Time In the West (2007)

    For the band's second album, the Staines superstars went minimalist, to "break the rules", according to singer Richard Archer. Designer Peter Saville called it "the White Album of digital culture". Not sure about that one, Peter.

    Hard-Fi - Once Upon A Time In the West album cover
    Hard-Fi - Once Upon A Time In the West album cover. Picture: Press
  4. The xx - xx (2009)

    The ground-breaking debut album from The xx was also called xx, therefore there was an X on the front and an X on the back of the sleeve. XX, see? Or was it xx?

    The xx - xx album cover
    The xx - xx album cover. Picture: Press
  5. The Black Keys - Brothers (2010)

    The Keys got very self-explanatory for their sixth studio album. It was called Brothers, as you may have noticed.

    The Black Keys - Brothers album cover
    The Black Keys - Brothers album cover. Picture: Press
  6. Metallica - Metallica (1991)

    Maybe it was a tribute to Spinal Tap, maybe Metallica have no sense of irony, but their classic 1991 LP was pure black (apart from a very, very faint logo).

    Metallica - Metallica
    Metallica - Metallica. Picture: Press
  7. Spinal Tap - This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

    In the classic spoof docu-drama, Britain's greatest heavy metal band wanted to issue their Smell The Glove album with a sexist photo on the cover. The record company said no to this, so the compromise was a tribute to The Beatles and the soundtrack album followed suit. How much black could it get? None more black.

    Spinal Tap - This Is Spinal Tap album cover
    Spinal Tap - This Is Spinal Tap album cover. Picture: Press
  8. Brian Eno - Music For Films (1978)

    Eno invented "ambient music" in the mid 1970s and the low-key music was accompanied by some low-key album sleeves.

    Brian Eno - Music For Films album cover
    Brian Eno - Music For Films album cover. Picture: Press
  9. Public Image Ltd - Album (1986)

    John Lydon got down to basics for his 1986 album with PiL. The cassette version was called "cassette", the CD "compact disc"... right down to promotional badges that said "badge".

    Public Image Ltd - Album cover
    Public Image Ltd - Album cover. Picture: Press
  10. Kanye West - Yeezus (2013)

    Kanye's 2013 album caused a stir with its virtually non-existent sleeve art. Lots of people compared it to some of Peter Saville's designs for New Order. However, we think it's more reminiscent of...

    Kanye West - Yeezus album cover
    Kanye West - Yeezus album cover. Picture: Press
  11. Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album (1980)

    ...Python's 1980 album, which was packaged to look like a bootleg. There was also a cassette version along similar lines.

    Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album cover
    Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album cover. Picture: Press
  12. The Beatles - The Beatles (aka The White Album) (1968)

    The Beatles - The Beatles white album cover
    The Beatles - The Beatles white album cover. Picture: Press

    The Fab Four did it first, of course. As an antidote to all the extravagant (and horrible) rip offs of the celebrated Sgt Pepper sleeve artwork, Paul McCartney decided that the band's next album should feature something completely different. Most commentators though that the empty white sleeve, with an embossed title and an ironic "limited edition" number was the work of Yoko Ono, but was actually designed by "pop" artist Richard Hamilton.

  13. Durutti Column - The Return Of The Durutti Column (1980)

    More Factory Records LOLZ - for Vini Reilly's debut album, the label decided to attach an actual piece of sandpaper to the front cover. The rather punk rock idea was that it would destroy other records in your collection. The sandpaper was glued to the sleeves by various members of Factory bands, including Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

    Durutti Column - The Return Of The Durutti Column album cover
    Durutti Column - The Return Of The Durutti Column album cover. Picture: Press
  14. Autechre - Tri Repetae (1995)

    The electronica duo loved an obscure sleeve and this is the MOST obscure - a muddy brown colour, for their third album in 1995.

    Autechre - Tri Repetae album cover
    Autechre - Tri Repetae album cover. Picture: Press
  15. Kasabian - 48.13

    Some top notch japery from the Leicester lads - no title, just the complete running time of the album: 48 minutes and 13 seconds.

    Kasabian - 48.13 album cover
    Kasabian - 48.13 album cover. Picture: Press