There are two obvious follow-ups to last week's post on The Beatles
: Prince's The Black Album
and Metallica's eponymous black album.
As a political statement, Prince's album is compelling; as an example of design, however, it epitomizes the difference between "simple" and "boring." Like the music on The Black Album
, the cover was a good idea that didn't quite come together.Metallica
succeeded where Prince failed. The cover is simple, it reveals layers of design that are not apparent at first glance, and its meaning is open to interpretation. Additionally, by alluding to the censored version of Spinal Tap's Smell the Glove
album, it demonstrates a sense of humor and self-mockery that Metallica lost by the late '90s.
I thought the snake on the cover was a bit cheesy until I learned that it's taken from the Gadsden flag (i.e., the "Don't Tread on Me" flag). The snake was derived from a comment made by Benjamin Franklin that the colonists send rattlesnakes to England as thanks for the English criminals who were sent to America. One thing I always liked about Metallica is their willingness to make their listeners think.
Labels: metallica, prince