Iconic Album Art: The visual equivalent of wallpaper for the shelf, designs either hidden, visible only as spines or laid out on a coffee table like a copy of Empire or Viz. Album art is funny stuff really. I don't know quite how to take it. My top whatever choices would be different from some click-bait top 20 but so would everyone else's and to be honest some aren't really very artistic, more accidental and, more worryingly, the album art was/is often better than the music. It should tell a story, or at least be a part of the narrative, just for fun maybe. Things might almost make sense then. Some do, some don't.
So covers still are a force in the imagining of music, more than a meaningless snapshot, more than marketing, something that still powerfully endures because ... we need it to. It's a reference, an anchor and a curse. I can say that with some confidence as I used to be the kind of floundering teenage chancer who bought albums with cool sleeves or names and pretty much ignored key parts of the words and music captured inside. I was that shallow a youth, I may still be that shallow a man.
Sometimes it's actually quite hard to know what you really like as you worry about what you should be liking according to fashion, charts, knowledgeable friends, press opinion, Radio 6 and your age and status's demographic norms. This must be what shallow looks and feels like. The old grey waffle test that you fail on a regular basis. I'll just let CBQ, Danny Baker, YouTube algorithms or Spotify choose.