You can’t judge a book by its cover. Or an album. Or can you?
Just by way of proving or disproving a theory, I showed five album sleeves to three separate classes of KMB003 (Sex Drugs Rock N Roll) students, and asked them to try and figure out what the music sounded like from the artwork. None of the students had heard of the artists before (or, if they had, they were asked to keep silent). Here are their responses.
(One bright spark, realising that my choices would be affected by my tastes, accurately guessed the style of music, four out of five times. If I do this again, I must remember to choose from very different genres.)
Here are the sleeves, the comments from the students and a video, in that order:
MARINE GIRLS – BEACH PARTY
girl punk; electronic; 60s girl group; teenage schoolgirls; something to do with the beach; grunge; surf pop; surfer punk; late 70s/early 80s DIY post-punk [that one student – Ed]
EARTH – ANGELS OF DARKNESS, DEMONS OF LIGHT
progressive metal; electronic; roots; stoner rock; indie/alt.rock; psychedelic trance; heavy, dark; elvish; death metal; renaissance music
THE BLUE ORCHIDS – THE GREATEST HIT (MONEY MOUNTAIN)
easy listening [if you type ‘Blue Orchids’ into YouTube, the first two suggestions are Hoagy Carmichael and Glenn Miller, Kings of Easy Listening – Ed]; covers album with flute; easy listening album in dentists; easy listening album played in massage parlors; musical or gospel; 80s jangly post-punk [that student again! – Ed]
JULIE LONDON – JULIE IS HER NAME
jazz; strong female voice 30s/40s; similar to Julie Andrews/June Carter/Marilyn Monroe?; a diva; cabaret; contemporary 60s pop; bubblegum pop; jazzy/40s; actress
PYLON – CHOMP
punk; seem to take themselves seriously; screamo; garage punk; basic music with two acoustic guitars; electronic pop; female vocal; 80s indie rock/college rock [yep, you guessed it… – Ed]