I would say buying an album for the cute girl on the cover would probably be just about the saddest thing a grown male could admit to that wouldn’t get him thrown in jail.
C'mon Venus, let's go look at Carly Simon album covers.
– Johnny Fever, WKRP in Cincinnati
So over at Confessions Of A Fanboy, Josh Hathaway kicked off a discussion about music vs. cover art. It's probably true that most guys have purchased at least one album based on the girl on the cover. I sure have. In fact, one of 'em was way back in the mid-80's. The group was called "The Pinups," and the music was terrible!
Did I learn my lesson? Well… sort of.
The thing is, it's not like I'm unaware of the fact that I'm being manipulated by the marketing people. On the other hand, I'm a guy… so who cares?!!! (I'd like to point out that Tom Johnson had the right idea. In fact, I was at a record shop once looking for a copy of Christian Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle." There was just something about the cover that creeped me out… creeped me out in an old-guy-at-the-playground kind of way.)
Seriously though, the funny thing about this is that when I do pick up a CD with some, ahem… "nice artwork" on the cover, I still get the sinking feeling (originating from the great Pinups incident) that I'm making a big mistake — even when I'm certain that the music is great. Heck, I even feel a little bit weird about discs that show up as review material. Those CDs can't be my fault!
From the reviewer's side of the desk, there is definitely more than a little redemption to be had. For the many releases whose most positive attributes are the photos (Hello Paris Hilton!), there are those that don't disappoint. Last week, I received an email from a publicist containing some streaming audio links for a singer named Beth Rowley. I saw the pictures, and couldn't help but get that old feeling. Well, it turns out that Rowley can sing. Her take on "Nobody's Fault But Mine" killed me. One part Norah Jones, one part Sara McLaughlin… and something else. In any event, a really beautiful voice.
So anybody else out there want to admit to buying a CD for the pretty face on the cover? C'mon, you know you've done it before.