The album cover code deciphered!

In some years of processing incoming stock for HMV, one of the things I’ve had to do is sort the CDs into genres relevant to each department. Over time, I’ve figured out a sort of code in album covers by which they can be easily sorted into genre. It’s a little general, but here’s the broad overview:

Angry looking black men – hip hop

Angry looking white men – metal

Happy looking black men – Jazz

Seductive looking black men, possibly with shirts open to display their implausibly toned bodies – R n B

White men with hairstyles twenty years out of date, possibly wearing stetsons – country

Impossibly wholesome four strong groups containing balanced samples of every race and gender, all in their early twenties – manufactured pop

Three/four scruffy young men, wearing clothes that appear to have been bought in several different charity shops – Indie

Nubile black women with impressively large bottoms, perhaps sprawled across an over-chromed Hummer’s bonnet – R n B again

The poster from that film you saw – Soundtracks

Stylised paintings of rock formations on an alien world, through which flying dolphins dance while watched by the benevolent silhouette of Merlin – prog rock

An entirely black cover with illegible gothic script, with some blurry monochrome photos of gothic harlequins on the back – Scandinavian death metal

An olde worlde pub painted green with a rusty bicycle chained outside and several men in waistcoats holding accordions – Irish folk

A ruined castle silhouetted on a bleak, desolate crag – Scottish folk

Multi coloured fractals spinning in a way that makes your eyes hurt if you look at them too long – dance/electronica

A five year old’s drawing of happy children dancing around a too brightly coloured carousel – Children’s

A simplistic coloured sketch of a figure who looks almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a major pop star for legal reasons – karaoke

The list could probably go on, and I may amend it as I find more examples, but you get the picture. What happened to the days of truly interesting album covers, like the Pink Floyd ones designed by Storm Thorgerson? Actually, they’re mostly by bands like Muse, who have covers designed by – Storm Thorgerson. Is that really his name?

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