Rich Stroffolino

Four Black and White Album Covers

Sometimes the internet can still be fun. Recently I saw a thread going around on Bluesky, people sharing their favorite albums with black and white covers (I first saw Anil Dash share the post, which of course featured this gem by Prince. It’s a completely arbitrary distinction and also insanely fun to think about. Here are the ones I shared:

When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog

Jen’s Lekman’s When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog

I mean we had to start with a Jen’s Lekman album right? This isn’t my favorite Jens album, but every time I revisit it, I’m shocked how well formed his songwriting sensabilities are for a debut release. That’s what was so striking discovering his music in my days at WRUW, he seemed so fully formed as an artist. “Tram No. 7 To Heaven” is kind of the perfect thesis statement for his early career. “Julie,” “You Are The Light,” “Higher Power” were all in the soundtrack to my 20s. (Is this album cover technically sepia? Yes)

Blur The Line

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This album had me hooked from the start. “Oh God” is one of those songs that’s just perfect. Evocative and challenging lyrics, a glorious build, a bluesy rhythmic structure. I was onboard for whatever else was in store on this album, and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s something so wonderfully gritty in this album. There isn’t an ounce of romanticism in this alt country classic. Just glorious songs with a hint of twang and the piecing voice of the late Jessi Zazu.

Lost Themes

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This album is pure kitsch. Expect a lot of chunky 80s synths, swirling arrangements, and driving dirges. I’m kind of a sucker for soundtracks to nonexistent movies. There’s something about trying to mentally place the music into a scene that adds a fun element to it. Lost Themes is just so darn specific, the perfect accompaniment to some imagined Carpenter gloom.


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I usually don’t enjoy albums so unblinkingly serious as Tramp. But Sharon Van Etten’s voice just melts me on some of these tracks. It’s not an album I can put on all the time, but when it hits, it hits hard. Her duet with Zach Condon on “We Are Fine” is exceptional.

I’d probably pick different albums on a different day, but no regrets with these picks.