One of the great joys in life used to be the purchase of a new record album. Because you'd get home, fire up the stereo system, deftly place the record on the turntable, and sit down to listen, never having let go of the album cover. It was like eating cereal in the morning, where you just had to read the back of the cereal box. Your album cover connected you to the glorious music you were hearing, it put you deeper into the groove, it kept you focused.
Such was the case with the 4-page sleeve of Watertown. A gray and chocolate scheme with flashes of silver ink and embossments, designed by Don Snyder. Of note is inside where we view the narrator's dining room table, covered in memorabilia, photos and stuffed animals, a cross section of a family's life. And on the outside, the pen & ink panorama cover by Ove Olsen, which when viewed open, fully illustrates the final song. The overall effect is somewhat grimy small town realism, layered by effects of gray clouds and rain reflections.
Today, we can't buy these 144-square-inch works of art anymore. Everything's gone micro, from the processors that convert digits to sound waves to the almost icon-size the recording industry now calls "CD art." More and more, we're getting our music via cyberspace. And though it's largely more convenient, and we don't have to deal with tattooed record store personnel anymore ("Hey, Kyle, this guy wants a Sinatra record. What's a Sinatra, anyway?"), many surely miss the art.