We gained a lot when we went from analog to digital recording, when we went from vinyl to cd....and we lost something,too. Let's face it. Album art has never been the same since. There was something magical about going home with an album, exploring it and the music simultaneously. I know that some cds have little booklets inside, but its not the same. Trust me.
If you aren't old enough to remember the first time you purchased something like Sgt. Pepper's, then let me describe it for you. First you took the shrink wrapped package from the bag and peeled it off. It clung to the outside of the album and to itself, static electricity. Then, after staring at the front forever, and with Sgt. Peppers, there was a lot to stare at, you opened the album. Inside, more pictures. Vibrant. And when you slipped the album sleeve out, to remove the vinyl for the first time, sometimes those sleeves had more art and lyrics on them, sometimes the lyrics were on the inner cover. And once the music was playing, once you had settled back with your favorite recreational drug, then you could explore the cover again at your own leisure, letting it become part of the musical experience. Oh....oh yeah.
And then there were the interactive covers. Rod Stewart's "Ooh La La" (the eyes and mouth opened and close when a tab was pulled);Led Zepplin's third album had a wheel inside the cardboard so that you could turn it and watch different pictures pass by cutout windows (you had to be there);Jethro Tull's "Stand Up" album had...well....a picture that stood up when you opened the album. I'm not saying this was brilliant, but it gave you something to do while waiting for the lava lamp to warm up.
I love mp3 and I love cds. But I miss the album art.
Here are some of my favorites for you. I'm not calling them the best, just my favorites. Enjoy them. Then, go to this website...it's well worth the visit.