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10 Albums With Anti-Cover Artwork: Kanye West, The Beatles, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 26, 2014 14:59 PM EDT

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Today, U2 shared the official cover to their latest album Songs of Innocence, and though the official cover is definitely more professional and artistic, I actually prefer the minimalist anti-cover that was used for its initial release. Here are 10 more albums with similar anti-covers.

1. The Beatles - The Beatles (White Album) (1968)

The original rock anti-album cover can be traced back to the Beatles' "White Album," which famously featured a white sleeve with nothing but "The Beatles" written on it. It was the only Beatles studio album to not feature an image of the band on the cover.

2. The Who - Live At Leeds (1970)

The Who's first live album Live At Leeds (considered by many to be the greatest live album in rock history) was packaged in a plain, cardboard sleeve with the title stamped onto it, which made it look like a bootleg release, even though it was an official album.

3. Pink Floyd - The Wall (1979)

Pink Floyd is known for their striking, often surreal album covers, but the cover of their (arguably) strangest album The Wall features a simple white brick wall without any text.

(Photo : EMI)

4. The Durutti Column - The Return of the Durutti Column (1979)

Perhaps the ultimate anti-album cover is the Durutti Column's debut album The Return of the Durutti Column, which was originally issued in a sandpaper sleeve designed to scratch and ruin other albums placed next to it on a shelf.

5. The Field Mice - Snowball (1989)

While most albums include the tracklisting on the back cover, the Field Mice's 1989 debut Snowball includes its tracklisting on the front cover in front of a plain, bright purple background.

(Photo : Sarah)

6. Prince - The Black Album (1994)

One of the big jokes from This is Spinal Tap is that the cover of Spinal Tap's new album Smell The Glove is completely black. Prince didn't get the joke, apparently, because he chose the exact same cover for The Black Album.

(Photo : Warner Bros)

7. Autechre - Tri Repetae (1995)

Much like The Black Album, the cover of Autechre's 1995 album Tri Repetae is just one color without any text whatsoever, though it comes in a bizarre, pale brown rather than monolithic black.

(Photo : Warner Bros)

8. The Black Keys - Brothers (2010)

Rather than simply writing the band name and album title on the cover to their 2010 album Brothers, the Black Keys used a more self-aware cover, which read, "This is an album by The Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers."

9. Kanye West - Yeezus (2013)

After running into some censorship issues with the racy cover to his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West avoided this with 2013's Yeezus by releasing it without an album cover at all.

10. Aphex Twin - Syro (2014)

The cover of Aphex Twin's new album Syro takes the template of the Black Keys' Brothers a step further, by listing all of the album's production and promotional costs underneath the title.

What are some other minimalist anti-album covers? Let us know in the comments section!

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