I have one of those freakish memories that allows me to remember things I’ve seen years after the fact. This is especially true with graphic images. So, I have quite a few déjà vu moments when reviewing new album covers. Many ideas are often repeated by designers. Skulls, hearts, butterflies and similar elements are frequently used on album covers.
Today, I came across an album cover that features a photograph of an English breakfast. This is something I saw on another cover 16 years ago. What do you think the odds are of something like this being a coincidence?
Legendary rock star Alice Cooper is a man on a mission. He is determined to keep Halloween alive. This week, he released a new single called Keepin’ Halloween Alive and a public service announcement on YouTube explains it all.
The cover for the single is very creative. It is meant to look like a package of an Alice Cooper Halloween costume. I’m sure some people are going to be looking for this on store shelves. I love everything about this cover. It is clever and promotes the product perfectly.
Most record labels are quick to have videos that use their music pulled from YouTube for copyright violations. British rock band Hadouken! did something different that is paying off big time. When a video featuring “100 Greatest Hits of YouTube in 4 Minutes” with the band’s song M.A.D. the soundtrack was recently posted, the band reposted it on their own YouTube channel.
The video has received over 1.2 million views over the last two weeks. The official video for M.A.D. has received less that 150,000 views. Congratulations to Hadouken! for seeing a great marketing opportunity.
I don’t know anything about Krikor & The Dead Hillbillies. I stumbled upon the cover for the album today and wasn’t able to find out much more than the U.K. release date and that Krikor is a French DJ, producer and musician. What he has to do with hillbillies dead or otherwise is still a mystery.
Of course, it is the unusual album art that caught my eye. The same quartet is featured on an EP called God Will Break It All (right) that was released earlier this year. Apparently, tragedy struck three of the men at some point during the photo shoot.
I’m not quite sure that the group looks like hillbillies. Perhaps there is a French equivalent to American mountain folk. I don’t have an audio or video clip to share. Krikor & The Dead Hillbillies is scheduled for physical release in the U.K. on October 27. It is already available for digital download in the Amazon.co.uk store.
Lately, there’s been a trend in album cover design of using three images of the artist. The two most recent examples were Mariah Carey’s new album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (right) and the single Million Dollar Bill by Whitney Houston.
Not only are there three images of Britney Spears on the cover of her latest single, the title of the song is 3. So, I guess Britney as carried the threesome theme a little bit further than Mariah and Whitney.
Unfortinately, Britney’s song isn’t very remarkable. It is a standard pop song and it is likely to chart. The cover features the artist in revealing lingerie and high heals. In that respect it is similar to the Mariah Carey album cover.
This is going to be another interesting week for album cover fanatics. There are several notable releases this week that I am certain will get votes from dedicated fans. Barbra Steisand, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Selena Gomez, Alice In Chains and Paramore have been preselected to compete for the honor of best album cover of the week.
A lip dub is a popular video fad that is currently sweeping college campuses. It is basically lip syncing to a popular pop song on video by several people. One of the lastest innovations is to do a lipdub in one continuous take. The camera pans from person to person as they lip sync perfectly to the song. As you can imagine this can be very difficult to accomplish.
When lip dubs go viral on the Internet, they have the potential to increase sales of a popular single significantly. Therefore, record labels tend to turn a blind eye to this particular use of their songs.
Recently, I viewed a wonderful lip dub by 172 communications students at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) that literally brought tears of joy to my eyes. It is lip synced to Black Eyed Peas hit single I Gotta Feeling. You may not tear up like I did, but I promise that you will smile. (For those of you with college-aged kids, please ignore the bottle of gin.)
Not only is the movie Whip It the directoral debut of Drew Barrymore, it has one of the best soundtracks I have seen this year. Some of the artists include Ramones, The Breeders, Dolly Parton, Peaches and The Raveonettes.
The album cover features the film’s star Ellen Page (Juno) in costume as a young woman who goes from being a beauty pageant winner to a roller derby queen. The film is scheduled for release on October 2. The soundtrack is currently available.
According to our POLLpigeon poll, Mika’s The Boy Who Knew Too Much has the best album cover for the week of September 15, 2009. The album won with an astounding 163 votes thanks to voting by devoted Mika fans. Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace was a distant second and Scars by Basement Jaxx was third.
Spinner.com reported today that rock band 30 Seconds to Mars is asking their fans to submit photos of their faces via a website for use on 2,000 album covers.
The first 2,000 people who submit their mug to the ‘Faces of Mars’ campaign on
the 30 Seconds
website and meet the proper specifications will be on one of 2,000
individual covers for ‘This is War’ actually going to stores.
According to Leto, this isn’t a publicity
stunt but a “thank you” to the band’s followers. “I thought that the ‘Faces of
Mars’ campaign would be a way to acknowledge all the people who have supported
us throughout the years,” he says.
The cover for American R&B singer and songwriter Amerie’s fourth studio album was revealed online yesterday via the artist’s Twitter account. In Love & War is scheduled to be released on November 3.
The cover has a very rock ‘n’ roll look to it. It reminds me of Gwen Stefani’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby. (right) in some respects. The typography is similar to that used on Stefani’s recent covers. The addition of an abstract design to the photograph is also similar to the earlier cover.
I don’t really think this cover works with Amerie’s Hip Hop image and her genre of music. The studded black leather belt and styling projects a rock attitude that one would expect from an artist such as Stefani or P!nk. Perhaps this is intentional.
The third single from British disco singer Shèna’s forthcoming album One Man Woman is Nasty Little Rumour. The single is scheduled for release in the U.K. on October 21. The music video for the song was psted on YouTube last month and is definitely worth a viewing.
The cover for the forthcoming album by Los Angeles rock band Say Anything is one of the most creative in recent weeks. It features a boy dressed as a superhero in what appears to be a world of his own creation. The eponymous album is scheduled to be released on November 3 in the U.S.
It turned out to be quite a week for disturbing and controvesial album covers on the AAX blog. Today’s addition to the WTF?! catagory is the album cover for Logos by Atlas Sound. This cover appears to be a nude portrait of Bradford Cox, the artist behind Altas Sound who has Marfan syndrome.
One of the latest “true queer art punks” to emerge from the cracked pavement of southern suburban sprawl, Atlas Sound is the solo moniker of Deerhunter frontman / provocateur Bradford Cox. Here on his debut album, Cox / Sound moves out of dank nightclubs filled with eternal existential drone punk, and relaxes at home in his Grant Park, Atlanta bedroom. And this is, essentially, a bedroom album, a collage, mixing the garage rock and ambient electronic influences previously explored with Deerhunter in a new context, with newly explored recording techniques, mainly laptop-based, learned with guidance from kranky artist Nudge’s Brian Foote. The result is 14 Songs of melancholy and mania.
No matter what you think about Yoko Ono’s music, she is always fascinating. Her latest album with her recently formed Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band was just released. A live version of the title track, Between My Head and The Sky, was posted on Ono’s YouTube channel yesterday.
It is difficult to believe that Ono is in her seventies. She’s up on stage with musicians who are less than half her age and acting as wonderfully strange as ever. You have to love her for doing her thing and continuing to be an innovator.
The album cover is very nice. It was designed by Ono’s son Sean Lennon and features the artist seated at her piano, wearing a top hat and dark glasses.
British pop singer Morrissey revealed the cover of his forthcoming album today. Swords is scheduled for release on November 3. This cover is not being received well by the press. Entertainment Weekly called it creepy.
I really don’t know what to say about it other than it looks as if Moz is having some digestive problems or perhaps he’s gotten a whiff of something a bear did in the woods — I dare anyone to tell me that I’m off base here! Everyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am a huge Morrissey fan. I really would love to be able to write that I like this cover.
The last recording artist that I would imagine having an album cover featured in the WTF?! category is Carly Simon. Yet, when I saw the cover for her forthcoming album Never Been Gone, I just about spewed my morning coffee all over my computer monitor.
I know that it looks like a joke, but this is the actual cover. Simon is such a beautiful woman. I simply can’t understand why she would go with such a ridiculous cover. It seems more appropriate for “Weird Al” Yankovic. Let’s hope that she comes to her senses and changes this cover before the album is released next month.
What may be the cover for Joss Stone’s forthcoming album Colour Me Free appeared as the background of the artist’s Twitter page yesterday. There’s no word whether or not this is the official cover. Frankly, it doesn’t look polished enough to me. I am willing to bet that it changes before the album is released next month.
The film adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story is scheduled to be released on October 16. The soundtrack featuring original songs by Karen O and The Kids will drop on September 29. I have heard previews of the album and it is a nice collection of rock/pop songs sung by Karen O and a children’s choir. The single All Is Love (right)is currently available.
Unlike many current soundtrack albums, the cover for Where the Wild Things Are is not simply a reformatted version of the movie poster. The cover features a detail of the computer animation used to bring Sendak’s characters to life (click the cover below to see a larger image).
I was recently impressed by a music video for Find Yourself, a track from Irish DJ John O’Callaghan’s album Never Fade Away. It is similar to Mika’s video for We Are Golden in that it opens with a young man in his bedroom wearing nothing but his underpants.
Then, the video veers off into some kind of comic book superhero fantasy — it even has an evil Ninja! I was disappointed to see that the single for Find Yourself doesn’t have a cover. It uses the record label’s generic cover.
O’Callaghan’s album does have a cover, but it is not particularly interesting. It features a portrait of the artist and some graphic embellishments. It is always a disappointment to see a creative music video and then find that the cover art does not employ the same level of creativity. Both the album and the single are currently available.
On October 4, 1980, British rock band Queen had a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Another One Bites The Dust. The song appears on Queen’s eight studio album The Game (right) and is one of the bands top selling singles.
Another One Bites The Dust is one of several songs from the era that a few religious fundamentalists accused of using backmasking — a backwards recorded message intented to influence the listener subliminally. It was suggested that the message “It is fun to smoke marijuana” could be heard when playing the single backward.
The song has become an anthem for sports victories and played at other occassions when an opponent fails. Playing the bass line is typically all that is needed to make the point that someone has “bitten the dust.”
The cover below is a composite created from several versions found online. It features the band performing on stage with singer Freddie Mercury leaping to an impossible height. The effect was likely achieved by suspending him from wires.
What promises to be the first in a series of album art exhibitions is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. on September 30. The Classics Series 1: Rap, is being sponsored by Art vs Commerce, Smirnoff Vodka and The Source Magazine and will feature feature over 25 of the those classic rap music album covers.
The event will take place at:
Lounge of Three 1013 U St NW Washington, D.C. 20001
7 - 9:00 PM
The event will feature a live DJ and complimentary cocktails, courtesy of Smirnoff.
Additional exhibits featuring an assortment of album covers specific to other genres of music are being planned. Each event will feature a DJ who will play music specific to the genre.
I have not been to D.C. and cannot give a personal recommendation regarding the venue. However, I have read numerous online reviews and all are positive.
Pop/rock band Music Go Music recently released three music videos on YouTube to promote their forthcoming debut album Expressions. All three videos are worth a listen. My favorite is Light of Love, which reminds me of a happy ABBA song.
Expressions is scheduled for release in the U.S. on October 6. The cover art for the album and three singles (above) are variations of the same images that features a collage of human legs arranged to appear as a hilly landscape. You will see from the music video that the singer is quite a beautiful young woman. So, it is puzzling that her face is not being used on the album cover. It seems to be a poor marketing decision.
The AAX gallery has been updated to include two popular forthcoming albums. Glee: The Music, Volume 1 is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on November 3. The 2009 reissue of Barry Manilow’s In The Swing of Christmas is set to drop on October 13.
Since today is the official end of summer, I thought a good way to end the season would be to feature New York alternative band The Drums and their EP Summertime! as new and notable.
There are four members of the band. So, I’m not sure why only two of them appear on the cover. I believe the young men featured are Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham, who founded the group. This cover seems more like a family snapshot that has had title graphics applied to it.
The cover for the single Let’s Go Surfing (right) is actually quite a bit more interesting than that of the EP. The music video has received tens of thousands of views on YouTube.
The lastest POLLpigeon poll for the best album cover of the week is live. This week’s preselected album covers include Scars by Basement Jaxx, War Is The Answer by Five Finger Death Punch, The Boy Who Knew Too Much by MIKA, Monsters of Folk by Monsters of Folk, Milwaukee at Last!!! by Rufus Wainwright, and Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace.
We have a great deal of variety today — different genres and artistic styles. Vote for your favorite cover now!
This déjà vu moment is somewhat disgusting. Two bands recently produced covers that feature women with tattoos on the inside of their mouths. I certainly hope this isn’t the start of a trend. I believe that the images on both covers are faked. But, I can just imagine some stupid kids actually getting wasted and doing this to themselves.
According to our POLLpigeon poll, the best album cover for the week of September 15 is Nelly Furtado’s Spanish language album Mi Plan. The Resistance by Muse was second and Pixie Lott’s Turn It Up and Porcupine Tree’s The Incident tied for third.
Punk legend Jello Biafra is set to release an album with his new band Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine on October 20. Like most of Biafra’s work, The Audacity of Hype is a politically charged album. The album cover features a parody of Shepard Fairey’s famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster. An image of Biafra with devil horns and fangs appears in a sea of flames.
The cover is typical of a Rob Zombie album. It features a rather gruesome image of the artist with numerous bloody injuries and stitches in his face, in the tradition of the horror movie genre for which he has become known. Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is scheduled for U.S. release on November 17.
The B-side of Antony and The Johnson’s latest single Aoen is a cover of Beyonce’s Crazy Right Now. It is surprisingly good. The music video has received tens of thousands of views on YouTube and many rave reviews.
The cover art for Antony and The Johnson’s albums and singles is always superb. The cover for Aoen is no exception.
Madonna has a cool promotional website for her forthcoming album Celebration. The site features a Flash toolkit that you can use to upload your own photo and place yourself on the cover. You can even paint your face with ridiculous blue eyeshadow and red lipstick.
The eponymous album from British alternative rock band One eskimO is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on September 22. The music video for the single Kandi (right) was posted on YouTube a few days ago and it is definitely worth a listen.
Unfortunately, the band’s mascot is a cartoon Eskimo character that is likely to be viewed as a racial stereotype here in the U.S. — similar to cartoon representations of other Native Americans and Little Black Sambo. A series of 10 animated promotional films feature the Eskimo character living in a cliche ice igloo, etc. The animation is done nicely. I just don’t know why they have to exploit a culture in order to promote their album. It all seems very retrograde.
I really want to like the animated shorts and the art for this album and the single. It is all very creative. It just doesn’t take into account the history and exploitation of the Yupik, Inuit and Aleut people (collectively called Eskimos) here in North America.
The AlbumArtExchange blog now has a YouTube channel. It will be the place to find the new and notable music videos and videos about album art that are posted on the blog. Plus, you’ll find many videos that didn’t make it as blog material or are still waiting in the wings. Check it out!
The cover for David Archuleta’s forthcoming Christmas album, Christmas From The Heart, was revealed this week. The album is one of the first holiday albums of the season and already topping the presale lists.
The cover features a headshot the youthful former American Idol contestant and a snowflake background. Christmas From The heart is scheduled for release in the U.S. on October 13.
Mary Travers of the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary has passed away at the age of 72 at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut today. She had battled leukemia for several years. Peter, Paul and Mary, which was comprised of Travers, Peter Yarrow, are Noel “Paul” Stookey are probably best known for their 1963 hit Puff (The Magic Dragon). The song charted #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has long been rumored to be about smoking marijuana — something the trio repeated denied.
Travers also recorded five solo albums between 1971 and 1978. She is survived by her fourth husband, Ethan Robbins, two daughters, a sister, and two grandchildren.
The forthcoming album from Scottish electronic music producer/DJ Hudson Mohawke (aka Ross Birchard) is called Butter. The album art is definitely notable. It features a very detailed and interesting illustration of animals and a full moon.
After listening to the samples from Butter posted on YouTube, I am not quite sold on the music. It is very experimental. Butter is scheduled for U.S. release on October 13.
Show Me Love was a big dance hit for Robin S back in 1993 (right). It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Dance Club chart.
Over the years, there have been several remixes of the song. One released earlier this year by Steve Angello and Laidback Luke reached #11 on the U.K. charts — 16 years after the original.
This dance tune has long been a favorite of mine. I really like the latest remix and I just discovered a music video for it on YouTube today. If you haven’t heard the remix, give it a listen.
The music video ties in with the cover for the single. I had assumed that it was a generic cover, but obviously it was specifically designed for Show Me Love. The music video is fairly generic as well. It is simply something to watch while the music plays.
In June 1989, Pet Shop Boys released what would become their 8th best-selling single, It’s Alright. The song was sixth and final track from the British electonic pop duo’s fourth album Introspective (right).
The song features some politically charged lyrics about Afghanistan and South Africa and a positive message about the future. The music video edits the song down from its original 9:24 to 4:17. It features the duo holding babies in a simple studio setting.
Interestingly, the a couple of the babies who are now 20-year-old adults have commented on YouTube about what it is like to have been featured in a music video.
The cover art for Pet Shop Boys albums and singles are usually a cut above average. Both Introspective and the It’s Alright single is no exception.
I don’t know who is advising Mariah Carey on how to market her new album, but there is something seriously wrong with the way it is being done. Carey has new single out right now called I Want To Know What Love Is (yes, it is a cover of the Foreigner song). But, the single is not available through Amazon.com and is only listed as an available track on iTune’s presale of Carey’s forthcoming album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel.
I don’t see the logic in making people search to find a single and limiting its availability to one online retailer. There is a listing on Amazon.com for a CD single scheduled to be released on September 29. I assume that there is some kind of exclusive deal with iTunes. Why create a cover for a single if it is not going to be used to market the product? It is just another item to add to Mariah Carey’s list of crazy.
Normally, I like to give previews of the music I feature as new and notable. Unfortunately, the only samples on YouTube are not the actual single. So, people are listening to a very bad version of the song. This is very typical of record labels that do not know who to market their products in the digital age.
If you go to Mariah Carey’s website, you will find that all of the images are protected from being saved to the user’s hard drive. There are no press materials available. So, bloggers and other online media are very likely to skip covering Mariah Carey and move on to an artist who is more savvy about online marketing.
This will probably be the last mention Mariah Carey gets on this blog for a long time. She simply is not worth the trouble. There are plenty of equally talented performers who make it easier for bloggers to write about them.
Please vote for the the best album cover of the week from six preselected releases for the week of September 15, 2009. This week’s POLLpigeon poll features new album covers from Megadeth, Mark Knopfler, Muse, Nelly Furtado, Pixie Lott, and Porcupine Tree.
I recently discovered a great art and pop culture blog called The Jailbreak. It is basically an very classy blog designed to sell action figures from Jailbreak Toys — but it so much more than you would expect. Today, The Jailbreak tipped me off to a great video about the making of Jay-Z’s latedt album cover and to a unique music video from an indie pop nad called Meeting of Important People.
The cover for the band’s eponymous debut album leaves me a bit disinterested. It appears to be a vintage photograph of early 20th century beachgoers. Meh. The music video for the first track on the album, Brittney Lane Don’t Care is another story. The art direction and animation using cardboard as a medium is very cool. This is another good example of the video and album cover not syncing up to market an album effectively. An impressive cardboard collage used as album art would complete the package in this case.
Here’s a great time lapse video that has been posted on YouTube showing how the still life image that appears on the cover of the new Jay-Z album was assembled and photographed.
The cover was voted the best of the new releases for the week of September 8, 2009 in our POLLpigeon poll. I believe that it is an exceptional cover that can stand on its own as a work of art.
It is rare for a star of Jay-Z’s status not to appear on the album cover. I believe that this is the first time for Jay-Z. The image took photographer Dan Tobin Smith three days to create and shoot the still life image.
This déjà vu moment may be a little bit more of a stretch than most. These two albums are both scheduled to be released on October 27 and it looks to me like they could have used the same wardrobe consultant. Actually, I know that the photo of Weird Al is not recent. The cover for Tegan & Sara’s album is brand new. It is funny to see both covers together, with all of those black and white stripes.
British musical performers The Unconventionals have just released their debut single in the U.K. iTunes Store. Abstract Yo Yo is a fun song that will make you want to smile. There is an extended version of the music video on YouTube that is part sitcom and reminds me a bit of the old Monkees TV show from the 1960s.
Another great thing about The Unconventionals is that they have made the artwork for their single easily accessible on their homepage. They actually have a button that reads “Download Artwork”! That is the first time I have seen something like that on a recording artist’s website. A link to the YouTube video and information about the group make it very easy for bloggers and other online media to do a quick article about them. Brilliant PR!
Not only that, the cover for the single is pretty cool. I like the modern psychedelic look. It fits the song and the music video perfectly. I heard about The Unconventionals from a tweet by Matt Lucas. He’s good at giving tips like this, so follow him if you’re on Twitter.
Susan Boyle just keeps amazing the world with her beautiful voice. On Sunday, what is supposed to be the first single from her forthcoming album, I Dreamed A Dream, was released on the Internet. Most people are surprised to discover that it is a cover of The Rolling Stones 1971 song Wild Horses.
Wild Horses was not a huge hit for the Stones. It peaked at #28 on the charts. However, it is one of their most covered songs, with almost 30 artist having recorded it over the years. The song is third track on the classic album Sticky Fingers, which also includes Brown Sugar and Sister Morphine.
9 is a new animated film from director Tim Burton (not to be confused with District 9 which is also a current release). The soundtrack is by Deborah Lurie and Danny Elfman and from the trailer it sounds very dark and dramatic. Since the film is about the end of humanity, perhaps that should come as no surprise.
The album cover for this soundtrack is based on the movie poster. It depicts a post-apocalyptic world and the film’s main character under a giant glowing number 9.
According to our POLLpigeon poll, the best album cover for the week of September 8, 2009 is for Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3. Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants came in second and Joy by Phish was third.
The debut single from British pop duo Mini Viva is Left My Heart In Tokyo. According to Chart Rigger’s Robbie Daw, there’s “something quite infectious” about the single. It is currently ranked at #7 on the U.K. Top Ten.
It appears that there was a previous cover for the single that features the Japanese flag. The cover currently being used features the duo and a very loud pink and violet background. The cover definitely works with the song and the dance music genre in general.
The music video was posted on YouTube back in July and has received a significant number of views. the video is fairly typical, but I get the point about it being infectious.
And now PopWrap has the exclusive first look at the cover for their new CD “Waking Up” (in stores 11/7). It’s part Pollock, part pop and easily this fall’s most artistic album — both inside and outside of the jewel case if the lead single is any indication.
I guess one of the reasons why record labels are doing these “exclusive” reveals is so they can get false praise for the album cover in print. That is almost as annoying as releasing an image that has a watermark defacing it.
Now, let’s be honest about this album cover. Is it “this fall’s most artistic album”? Hardly. I like the use of primary colors on a black background. But, this is not a work of fine art. When the praise is this gushing, you can be certain that it was taken straight from a press release.
One thing that I find amusing is that the Post spelled the band’s name incorrectly as two words. You would think that they’d get that right for their exclusive reveal.
I would like to point out that bloggers really don’t like to use PR images that have been defaced with someone’s logo. I rarely use these images and simply wait until the actual album cover is added to the AAX gallery. There’s no point in not making these album cover images readily available to bloggers and other online media. Doing these kinds of “exclusive” reveals simply slows down publicity. There are plenty of other bands to write about.
If you want to participate in the AAX Album Cover Mash Up, all you have to do is follow these rules:
The album covers must be part of the AAX gallery.
All of the elements in the mash up cover must be present in one of the two originals. However, you do not have to use the original images. For example, if there is a black car in one of the original covers, you can use a black car from a stock photo instead of the one on the cover.
Submit your mash up along with the AAX links to the original cover images via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must also include your name or AAX forum username.
I will publish mash ups as I receive them. I will not guarantee that your mash up will be published (but I’m not going to be too picky).
Author, poet and punk musician Jim Carroll passed away on Friday in New York City at the age of 60. In addition to recording several albums with The Jim Carroll band, Carroll’s autobiography, The Basketball Diaries, was made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll.
The Jim Carroll Band’s first album Catholic Boy is one of my personal favorites of the era. I have heard that the couple shown with Carroll on the album cover are his parents. I do not know if that is true.
I’ve just discovered a collection of 70 vintage classical music album covers on Flickr.com. Many of the covers in the set are by album cover art pioneer Alex Steinweiss, who many believe invented the concept of placing art on the sleeves of record albums.
Steinweiss designed over 2,500 album covers betweeen 1939 and 1973. So, it is far from surprising that many of the covers in this collection from the 1940s and 1950s are his designs.
Most of the covers are in beat up condition. The images are quite large and would be good for beginners to use to practice their skills at restoring album covers.
For those of you who are simply interested in vintage album art, browsing through this collection will be a pleasure. The Flickr user has done a fantastic job of selecting covers and obviously spent a great deal of time photographing them.
When I saw the cover for Rammstein’s forthcoming album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da (Love is for Everyone) and its depiction of a woman being slaughtered on a table (right), I came very close to making it the subject of a WTF feature. I am glad I didn’t because the cover for the second single from the album is just as outrageous.
The cover for Pussy features the German industrial metal band as naked women. Their heads have been Photoshopped onto womens’ bodies — one of them pregnant. It is absolutely one of the most ridiculous covers I have ever seen. Combined with the title of the song, Rammstein has crossed the line into legendary misogynist status. Surprisingly, the cover has not been censored on Amazon.com. It is not yet listed on iTunes.
The band posted a preview of the music video for Pussy on YouTube and it was quickly pulled for violation of terms and conditions. I searched the Web and found a copy of it on another video service and discovered that it is simply a series of old x-rated porn clips. How did they think that would not ger baned from YouTube? Needless to say, I won’t be posting that video clip here. You will have to settle for audio alone.
AAX blog regular and friend Lindy sent me a great shot of her living room with the DuckyInferno Weezer Raditude cutoutPhotoshopped on it. This cover makes it look like Sidney the dog is getting some serious air!
UPDATE: Here’s an absolutely brilliant Raditude cover from AAX blog reader Michael! This one has to be the best on on the Web right now. If anyone else has one to share, please send it to email@example.com.
UPDATE #2: New AAX blog visitorDavid sent me the following Raditude cover, daring me to post it. He don’t know me very well, do he? Seriously, this one is hilarious. Sidney dancing in a gay nightclub. Brilliant!
When I saw the cover for Black Devil Disco Club’s The Strange World Of Bernard Fevre, I had to investigate. The image of a high-heeled, thigh-high boot stepping in some kind of red goo instantly grabbed my attention.
I had never heard of Black Devil Disco Club, and even after a good Google or two, I’m still not sure who or what it is. I was able to find the description on the Lo Recordings Web site:
In 1975 before the release of the first Black Devil Disco Club album, Bernard Fevre released an album called ‘The Strange World Of Bernard Fevre’ and like the first Black Devil album it was so far ahead of it’s time that even now people struggle to believe it was really recorded over 30 years ago.
So crisp and inventive are the electronics, so haunting and eternal the melodies, it is as if this music has always existed. Now Bernard has once again unlocked his magical cabinet and made available new mixes of the original tracks along with previously unheard compositions.
Australian pop singer Natalie Imbruglia is causing a stir by going topless in her latest music video for Want, the second single from her forthcoming album Come To Life. The album cover was revealed online a few days ago and has not yet been added to the AAX gallery.
The album cover continues the trend of female recording artist being photographed with a dopey expression and a mouth hanging open for no apparent reason. Where is Annie Lebowitz when we need her? Come To Life is scheduled for release in the U.K. on October 6. I do not have a U.S. release date.
A few of days ago, I reported on the new Robbie Williams album Reality Killed The Video Star and included what I believed to be the album cover (right). As often happens, the image turned out to be a publicity photo that was used as a temporary working album cover.
The final album cover was released today and I think it is inferior to the publicity photo. The cover features Williams on a motorcycle and looking none too glamorous. I’m not quite sure what he’s going for with this album cover. It looks like a snapshot that was taken on a family outing to the desert.
Also, the quality of the photograph is not that great. It is very grainy and looks as if it were taken during a dust storm — which is more than likely. At least in the publicity shot Williams looks rather dashing in a jacket and tie. The cover below makes him looks more like a NASCAR dad.
Canadian rock singer and songwriter Fefe Dobson’s single I Want You is from her upcoming album Joy that is scheduled for release late next month. A music video for I Want You was posted on YouTube recently and I think it is worth a listen.
For those of you who are new readers, the AAX blog’s Déjà Vu category is for those album covers that make you ask, “Hum. Where have I seen that before?” Today, I saw the cover for the new album by folk singer Joshua James on iTunes and it took me a few minutes to recall a similar cover by Annie Lennox.
In the short time since Weezer’s cover for their forthcoming album Raditude made its debut, the Internet has gone wild for image of Sidney the dog leaping across his owner’s living room (right). It has also started a new Photoshop fad — placing Sidney in other locations, especially your own living room.
An artist who goes by the handle DuckyInferno has created a cutout that people are using to make their own version of the album cover. The cutout is one of the best that I have ever seen. It is 1500 x 1500 pixels and the designer obviously spent a great deal of time creating it.
You are likely to find hundreds of versions of the cover that show Sidney doing everything from jumping the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China to pouncing on an alien from outer space. This is a Photoshop fad that is certain to go viral.
Here is Sidney leaping through my own living room. If you download the cutout and use it to place Sidney somewhere cool (like your own house or apartment) send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cover for American alternative rock band Weezer’s forthcoming album was revealed today. Raditude features an amusing photograph of a dog leaping in mid-air. I sure think it beats the untitled red, green and blue covers that have become a Weezer trademark.
According to Spinner magazine, the band’s singer discovered the photograph of the dog named Sidney in a issue of National Geographic and contacted the photographer to get the rights to use it for the cover. Raditude is scheduled for release in the U.S. on October 27.
Months before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, an Oakland, California hip hop group called The Coup had settled on the cover for their fourth studio album Party Music. The cover featured group members Boots Riley and Pam the Funkstress using a bomb detonation device to blow up the World Trade Center.
Little did they know that shortly before the album was to be released, the iconic Twin Towers would be destroyed in a similar manner. The release of Party Music was delayed until a new cover featuring a martini glass (right) could be designed as a quick replacement.
Today, the original cover for Party Music has become part of an urban legend. Many versions of the legend include the false belief that the original cover shows two planes crashing into the buildings. Other stories claim that the group was somehow in on the conspiracy. None of these rumors are true. You can see the original cover below.
While most of us viewing this album cover today find it shocking, it is important to remember that at the time of its creation this kind of horror was unthinkable. Rather than being a prediction of 9/11, the cover of The Coup’s Party Music was considered to be a ridiculous image of something that could never really happen. Boots Riley, the group’s founder, considered it to be a metaphor for the destruction of corporate greed and initially resisted changing it.
I suppose this could serve as a lesson to those who design album covers that are meant to be shocking and sensational. Whether the cover depicts and woman being slaughtered for food or someone blowing up the Twin Towers, our wildest nightmares can come true.
I debated whether or not it would seem inappropriate to write about this album cover today. I get questions about it fairly often — especially before 9/11. I think those who have heard some of the rumors about it will benefit from knowing that the cover was really nothing more than a horrible coincidence.
The cover for vocalist Norah Jones’ forthcoming album The Fall was revealed online yesterday on both the artists website and that of her record label EMI. It features Jones looking adorable in a top hat and a wedding gown. But, the St. Bernard posing with her really steals the show.
The Fall is scheduled for U.S. release on November 17. It will be Jones’ fourth studio album.
I just installed iTunes 9 and before I discuss the new look and feel and the iTunes LP, I want to get my biggest complaint with iTunes out of the way. The program is just as slow as ever. It simply creeps along when activating songs after the download completes. The Genius feature grinds browsing through the iTunes Store to a crawl. These are old issues, but they have not been resolved in this latest version.
I like the new look of iTunes 9. It is always difficult to find your way around when the navigation features are moved from one place to another. The biggest change to the iTunes 9 user interface is the addition of a horizontal navigation bar at the top of the window. It has drop down menus that allow you to select the various genres of music, TV and movies, apps, etc. (All images below are clickable for a larger view.)
The feature that will be of most interest to album art enthusiasts is the new iTunes LP. The iTunes LP is a special album that includes a menu screen similar to those on a DVD. Currently, iTunes customers can choose from a selection of six iTunes LPs for immediate download and six others as presale purchases. I wasn’t too impressed with the selection.
I already own all six of the albums that are currently available. I chose to purchase The Doors to use a research for this article.
After the download competed, it took about 35 minutes for the songs and iTunes LP file to process and to be made available through the iTunes application. Meanwhile, I was unable to do anything else in iTunes. Browsing the store and playing other songs were not possible. So, if you want to purchase one of these iTunes LPs, make sure that you are willing to wait for it to do its thing.
Once I was finally able to play my new iTunes LP, I was impressed by the menu screen. The album art looks great on my 1920 x 1200 pixel LCD monitor. There is no pixelation at all. The menu is sized for smaller resolution monitors and does not fill the entire screen.
The iTunes LP has a nice interface for playing the tracks that includes the lyrics. The photos and liner notes are a nice addition — although I think a larger view of the photos would be nice for those of us with high resolution monitors.
There is one area of concern regarding the iTunes LP. The Doors iTunes LP file is a huge 518.9 MB in size. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the image quality is good. This also explains why the LP took so long to download and process. Consumers who do not have large hard drive storage capacity may want to avoid purchasing too many of these things. I know that hard drive storage is less of an issue these days, but you’re not going to be able to store hundreds of these files on your average laptop.
All things considered, I like the new iTunes LP digital sales format. I think that it will work for classic albums and those by artists with a large and devoted fan base. I do not think that they’ve done enough to expand the value of album art. The images are not as large as I would like them to be. Apple should be getting ready for the next generation of high resolution monitors and the continued convergence of HDTV and home computer systems.
The latest album from American R&B group All-4-One is called No Regrets. The first music video from the album was posted on YouTube several days ago. It is for a track called My Child that is about parents who use their children as weapons after a seperation. It features Malcom-Jamal Warner (Theo from The Cosby Show) as a father being kept from his child. It is a song and video with a heavy message, but it is not heavy-handed.
The album cover for No Regrets certainly won’t win any awards. It features a nice photograph of the group. However, there is no way of telling from the cover that there’s a message worth hearing on the album.
The latest single from U.K. electronic duo Basement Jaxx is Feelings Gone featuring Sam Sparro. The cover is similar to that of Basement Jaxx’s forthcoming album Scars, which features a collage of human and animal body parts wearing a battle helmet (top right).
The previous single Raindrops also used this motif (bottom right). It is a very interesting concept and it looks as if the art direction is going to be very consistent as far as the covers for the album and various singles are concerned. However, I don’t think that leaving the titles off of the covers is a very good idea when the images are so similar. I have seen several of these covers with stickers that bear the title. So, obviously it is a problem. In addition, consumers could assume that the album is a single that they’ve already purchased.
The music video for Feelings Gone is very creative. It features a combination of special effects and puppetry. Sparro has dyed his hair blond and appears as an astronaut piloting some kind of extraterrestial taxi.
The cover for German industrial metal band Rammstein’s forthcoming album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da (Love is for Everyone) was revealed online today. The cover features a disturbing image of a nude woman being slaughtered for food. Ugh. I hate it when recording artists try this hard to shock us.
While it is a beautifully executed image, it is unfortunate that the scene is so trite. We’ve seen this kind of ridiculous misogyny far too many times on album covers. It is not original enough to be ironic. Perhaps the title of this album should be Kannibalismus Ist Für Alle Da.
I saw the music video for Baby Baby Baby by French electronic group Make The Girl Dance a few months ago. It features naked women strolling through the streets of Paris — turning only a few heads.
Today, I saw the cover for the single and that combined with the video makes Make The Girl Dance worthy of the AAX blog’s latest WTF moment. I guess this cover confirms the fact that I’m totally jaded when it comes to covers that try to be shocking. I’m not horrified by the sight of a woman getting her tongue tattooed. Even if they had Photoshopped a little blood in there, the strongest reaction this cover would get from me would be a roll of the eyes.
I featured British pop singer and actress Paloma Faith in a New and Notable article a few weeks ago. Since that time, I have fallen head over heals for this talented young artist. I’m not the only one. Many news articles are saying that Paloma Faith is the next big thing. I have to agree.
I predict that Faith is going to be a huge star in the U.S. Not only is she an amazing singer, the campaign for her forthcoming album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful is spectacular. The videos and the covers for the album and both of the singles released so far are stunning.
Here is a short film about Paloma Faith that is posted on her YouTube channel. In addition to this film, you can view her music videos and a video diary. Check it out. I promise you’re going to love this woman. Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful is scheduled for release in the U.S. on September 29. Both singles are available now.
The forthcoming album by British R&B singer and AIDS activist Beverley Knight is called 100%. It was released in the U.K. today and is scheduled for sale in the U.S. on September 29. The first single from the album is Beautiful Night. I am sure there will puns about Knight being beautiful. However, I don’t think the album cover really does her justice. Check out the music video for Beautiful Night and I think you will see what I mean.
This week’s POLLpigeon poll for best album cover is online. There is a lot of variety this week. The six preselected albums range from Jay-Z to Brooks and Dunn with a children’s album by They Might Be Giants in between.
A rare album by The Beatles known as the “butcher cover” is on sale at U.K. gallery for $11 million. The album was once owned by John Lennon and comes with a note signed by the late musician that reads, “Here’s the famous banned butcher cover. You can sell it for $11 million dollars.”
The butcher cover is the original cover of The Beatles’ 1965 album Yesterday And Today. The cover was banned by retailers who refused to sell it due to a photograph of the band draped in cuts of meat and headless dolls. The albums were returned to the distributor after being in stores for one day and a new cover was pasted over the objectionable image.
St. Giles St. Gallery in Norwich is displaying the album along with other memorabilia of The Beatles. If the album sells for the asking price, it will likely be the highest price ever paid for a record album.
The AAX gallery has a 1500 x 1500 high quality image of this cover thanks to AAX user savoirfaire. The rough canvas-like texture is how the original cover was designed. It is not due to a poor scan or age (check out the poster for the exhibit).
Noooooo! When I saw the original cover for the forthcoming Bowling For Soup album (right), I thought it was very cute. The band is jumping into a swimming pool — which has been done to death. But, it looks like they’re having fun. If you’re familiar with this American alternative rock band, you know that the cover suits their music.
Unfortunately, I just discovered that they have changed the cover. They took the image of the men diving into the pool and Photoshopped them inside a toilet. What are they thinking?
Not only is the image of the band splashing around in a toilet bowl kinda gross, it is far from original. I’m not quite sure what being in a toilet has to do with partyin’ — my first thought is of another activity.
Sorry For Partyin’ isn’t scheduled to be released until October 13. I only hope that they come to their senses and stick with the first cover.
If you want a laugh, check out the music video for one of the tracks that will appear on the album. My Wena is already available on an EP (right). There are actually two videos, the clean verson I’ve posted below and a dirty version that you can view on YouTube.
The clean version of the video features lots of cute Daschunds. The dirty version is the same song except that the weiner dogs are replaced by a woman wearing a penis costume.
So, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that the swimming pool was swapped for a toilet bowl. I actually prefer the video with the dogs. It makes the sexual innuedos a lot funnier.
According to our POLLpigeon poll, the best album cover of the week is Trey Songz’ Ready. There was a four-way tie for second place between Chevelle’s Sci-Fi Crimes, Drive-By Truckers’ The Fine Print, Pitbull’s Rebelution and Artwork by The Used. Juliette Lewis’ Terra Incognita did not receive any votes.
DJ Tommie Sunshine just tweeted that he has made several of his remixes available as free downloads for Labor Day. I was thrilled to find a great remix of Sneaky Sound System’s 16. However, there are many tracks worth having.
I’m a big fan of Tommie Sunshine. It is great that he makes his tracks available on SoundCloud. I’ve downloaded several of his remixes over the last few months. If you like great dance music, check out his SoundCloud page:
Irish singer and songwriter Dolores O'Riordan recently discussed braving freezing temperatures for the photo shoot of her new album No Baggage. No Baggage is the second solo album for O'Riordan who is also the lead singer of The Cranberries.
On September 14, 1991, Paula Abdul had her sixth number one hit with The Promise Of A New Day. The single was the second from the album Spellbound (right) to reach the top chart position. Rush Rush was number one on the Billboard chart just three months earlier.
Abdul has had six number one hits during her career in pop music. This makes her tied for fifth place among female recording artists for the most number one hits. Many people have forgotten that she reached this level of success.
The cover for The Promise Of A New Day single has no visual connection to the album or the music video. The video features lush tropical locations, while the cover for the single appears to be more about bed linens. There certainly is not anything special or memorable about it. The cover for The Promise Of A New Day was very difficult to find. The cover below is a composite based on several images I found online.
If an album cover that features a nude man on stage holding lobsters in his hands isn’t worthy of a WTF, I don’t know what is. When I discovered the cover for No Neck Blues Band’s album At 6am We Become The Police, I didn’t thnk that it was real. It had to be one of those covers invented by a clever graphic designer as a joke.
Nope. The No Neck Blues Band (also known as NNCK) is a New York City experimental collective that has been around since the early ’90s. If you search for the album on Amazon.com, you’ll discover that an image of the an LP label is being used as the cover (right).
I really don’t understand the logic behind using album art that is certain to be censored. I’m far from prudish about nudity. From a marketing perspective, I just don’t know why anyone would want to cripple their product by trying to sell it online without cover art. I think would be be especially true for an experimental music band.
From an artistic viewpoint, this album cover is worthy of discussion. It is a very interesting nude photograph. It works as a piece of fine art. Unfortunately, it is not an appropriate album cover. What works hanging on the wall of a Soho art gallery may not be something a major retailer would want to post online.
I was not able to find a video clip from the movie for which this album serves as a soundtrack. I did find several No Neck Blues Band videos and I’ve posted on that will give readers an idea of what they’re about. This is performance art and certainly not easy on the ears.
If my blog stats are any indication, Susan Boyle fans are searching the Internet for a sneak preview of the cover art for her forthcoming album I Dreamed A Dream. The album is not scheduled to be released until November 24 and it is already the top selling presale album on Amazon.com — outselling Whitney Houston and The Beatles combined.
Boyle was reported to have done a photo shoot for the album cover in Scotland several weeks ago. The image below is currently being used on the artist’s official website and as a press release photo. So, it is a good bet that the album cover will be similar.
I would be quite surprised to see a close up portrait of Boyle used on the cover. The outdoor photo shoot indicates that a landscape will be featured instead.
British pop star Robbie Williams has a new album coming out in November. Reality Killed The Video Star is a very cool title for an album. For those of you who aren’t up on your pop music history, the first music video played on MTV was Video Killed The Radio Star by Buggles (right).
It really didn’t turn out to be true that music video killed the radio star. And, while reality TV shows are just about all that is on MTV these days, YouTube and iPods are helping to revive the art of the music video.
In fact, the music video for the first single from Reality Killed The Video Star Bodies is set to debut on YouTube on September 9. The music track has already been posted on Robbie William’s YouTube channel. I’ve included it at the bottom of this entry.
Williams is a huge star in Europe and this album has been highly anticipated by his fans. I am not sure whether or not I like the cover for this album. The sneer on the artist’s face is kind of off-putting. It is an artistis, professional black and white portrait, though.
Gamer is a futuristic thriller about a video game that involves real humans being used as game characters. The soundtrack by Robert Williamson and Geoff Zanelli will be released on Tuesday.
Like most recent motion pictures, the album cover is almost identical to the movie poster. That is always a good strategy because it makes it easier for consumers to recognize the soundtrack. Of course, it helps to have a great poster on which to base the album cover.
The cover for Gamer features an image of the star Gerard Butler, with the face of the child who is controlling his character pushing through it. It is a nicely done cover that makes good use of the star’s handsome face.
American pop singer/dancer Erika Jayne had two number one dance hits, Roller Coaster in 2007 and Stars in 2008. Both songs are included on her debut album Pretty Mess, which was released last month.
The music video for her latest single Give You Anything features Jayne auditioning dancers for a nightclub act. The video shows off her dancing talents as well as her dancer’s body. That is why is surprises me that her album features a very tightly cropped and unflattering photograph of her face.
The covers for her previous singles Stars (top right) and Roller Coaster (bottom right)showed Jayne as a seductive vamp, dressed to move on the dance floor. The album cover just doesn’t have the same impact. It is a mess, but it is not a pretty one.
The artist looks tired and her mouth is slightly open — giving her a slightly dumbfounded expression. The typography is not appropriate for an album. It amazes me that the covers for the singles are so much better than the album.
I actually bought Roller Coaster simply because I was intrigued by the cover. I wanted to find out what that woman sounded like. The costume and the spotlight on the red curtain hooked me. I also like the typography used on both the singles.
I don’t know who the art director was on this project, but it takes a special kind of ineptitude to make such a gorgeous woman look kind of dopey. This is very similar to the bad cover that was done for Jordin Sparks’ Battlefield.
On September 2, 1995, the second single from Michael Jackson’s album HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1 hit the number one spot on the Billboard chart. You Are Not Alone is a simple ballad. However, the music video for the song was quite controversial at the time.
The video opens with a nude Jackson wearing a pair of angel wings. A few seconds into the video, the pop star’s wife Lisa Marie Presley appears in an equal state of nudity. It was not well received by critics, who called the video disturbing rather than sexy.
You Are Not Alone was replaced in the top spot the following week by Coolio’s Gangstas Paradise.
There are several different covers for this single. The one I’ve posted below is a composite based on the most common versions. Some versions have a very washed-out orange appearance. One version is tinted blue.
The latest single from the upcoming album by Dutch DJ and producer Fedde le Grand is Let Me Be Real. The song features Mitch Crown on vocals and it has a very cool music video that includes TV sculptures that remind me of the work of Nam Paik (right).
I really like innovative, artistic music videos. This particular one is visually interesting and must have been challenging to create. I don’t believe the TV sculptures shown in the video were faked using special effects.
Sadly, the cover for Let Me Be Real is nothing special. It is typical for a dance music single and does not feature any of the images displayed in the music video. That’s unfortunate when consumers are likely to identify a song by the visuals shown in a popular video.
Fedde le Grand’s album Output is scheduled for release on September 29. The single Let Me Be Real is available now on Amazon.com and iTunes.
What is rumored to be the official album cover of Shakira’s forthcoming album She Wolf appeared online today. It is significantly different from the previous cover that was reported to be the final version several weeks ago (right).
The new cover features Shakira wearing a black sequined top and standing in front of a lime green background. The cover also includes the title written in what appears to be blood. This bloody type effect is consistent with the bloody wolf paw print that currently appears on the artist’s website.
I think that it could be likely that this is the final cover. I was able to locate a high resolution version, which is rarely the case with fan-created covers. She Wolf is scheduled for release on October 13. We will just have to wait and see which cover art appears on Amazon.com and iTunes.
In spite of trying to hype the release of their new album Backspacer by revealing a portion of cartoonist Tom Tomorrow’s album cover on Conan O’Brian and a rather lame scavenger hunt that required fans to hunt down pieces of the cover on the Internet, it looks like Pearl Jam may be off to a slow start with their single The Fixer.
The single debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at number 56 this week and the music video is very far from going viral. The cover art for The Fixer is one of the nine panels from Tom Tomorrow’s cover. I suppose that each single released from the album will have a similar cover.
I like the original illustrations used for this album and the single. I think Tom Tomorrow was an excellent choice. However, this kind of cover should have been revealed far in advance of the release. In my opinion, keeping it a secret and forcing fans to hunt it down online was a poor marketing decision. It this era of blogs and other online media, it is important to make creative assets available so that bloggers will generate a buzz. I will not post a blog article without a decent graphic. I am certain that most blogers feel the same way.
There’s nothing to be gained by keeping album art a secret from the public. If a blogger can’t find the cover of the upcoming Pearl Jam album, he or she is likely to write about another band instead. By the time the single comes out, no one cares and it debuts below in the middle of the chart.
The cover for Swedish DJ and pop singer Basshunter’s upcoming album Bass Generation was revealed online this week. The album is scheduled for release in the U.S. on September 29.
The look of the cover is typical of Basshunter’s previous releases. Bass Generation features the artist sitting on the hood of a sports car. Is not a particularly attractive portrait. It really has nothing to due with the album title. Where does the “bass” come in? Is it a fish or a booming beat? This cover doesn’t make me think about anything except perhaps car polish.
The cover for American rapper/hip hop artist Wale’s upcoming debut album Attention Deficit was reveal online this week. Wale (pronounced wah-lay) has already produced several mixtapes. I’ve noticed that many artists who have worked to market mixtapes seem to know the value of having creative album art. Often, the covers for mixtapes are superior to what is produced by major record labels.
The cover for Attention Deficit is very interesting. It features a small boy wearing headphones and seemingly mesmerized by a bank of TV screens. The cover conveys a simple and effective message without being shocking or heavy-handed. Attention Deficit is scheduled for release on October 20.
British pop group Dolly Rockers has posted a 3D music video on YouTube. Luckily, I have a pair of 3D glasses at home. It is too bad they didn’t make a 3D version of the cover for their single Gold Digger to go along with the video.
I’ve already featured Dolly Rockers Gold Digger as new and notable, so I won’t repeat myself. I will add that the 3D quality of the HD version of the video is pretty good. This is the first time I’ve seen a 3D music video like this. If you have 3D glasses, check it out.
Michael Bublé’s new single Haven’t Met You Yet was released last week in advance of his upcoming album Crazy Love. The single reminds me of something that I just can’t put my finger on. I’m certain that it sounds like an old TV theme song. I just can’t remember which one.
The cover for the single features and nice portrait of the artist. It is exactly what I would expect for a vocalist like Bublé. There’s nothing innovative about it.
The same can’t be said for the cover of Crazy Love. It features a highly touched up photograph of Bublé with his hands raised in front of his face. The typography has been placed in two yellow bands that cross the cover diagonally.
At first glance, it appears that Bublé is posing behind crime scene tape — like you see in an episode of CSI. I very much doubt that is what the art director was going for with this cover. Crazy Love is scheduled for release on October 9.
AAX blog readers will recall that I was not very impressed with the cover of the new Madonna album Celebration when it was revealed in July.
At the time, I wrote:
“I really don’t like the application of blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick. It is very cliche and adds nothing to the image…This is one trend in album cover art that needs to stop right now. The dripping, splattered type treatment used on the Madonna cover are just a bit overused, too.”
Well, imagine my surprise to see an alternate cover for the album appear online this week that has both the makeup and dripping pink paint removed from the image.
This new cover is a major improvement on the design created by street artist Mr. Brainwash. The bright pink dripping paint has been replaced by a much more subtle effect. The blue eyeshadow and red lipstick is gone. The yellow color has been removed from Madonna’s hair.
What is reported to be the cover for the forthcoming album by German rock band Tokio Hotel was revealed this week. When I saw it, I was instantly reminded of the fantastic artwork of H.R. Giger. Giger is known for his creation of the scary alien frim the movie Alien and the Emerson, Lake & Palmer album cover Brain Salad Surgery.
The cover for Tokio Hotel’s Humanoid actually looks more like the work in Giger’s book Biomechanoid. There can be no doubt that it served as the inspriration for the album cover shown below.
The tricky thing about doing an album cover that is obviously inspired by the work of a talented genius like H.R. Giger is rising to the level of the original. Unfortunately, this cover of Humanoid does not. It is a nice illustration, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the frightening aspects of blending flesh and machine shown in the illustration at right.
Many will also see similarities to the Star Trek character Seven of Nine. Giger’s work was also the inspiration for the Borg characters on Star Trek TNG. I do not believe this album cover even compares to that. Humanoid is scheduled for release on October 13.
The cover for Carrie Underwood’s forthcoming album Play On was revealed online early this week. The cover features the artist sitting at what looks like a breakfast table with a daisy in her hair. It is a nice portrait.
However, it seems more appropriate for a single rather than an album. I think this is playing it a little too safe. Play On is scheduled to be released on November 3.
According to our Pollpigeon poll, the best album cover for the week of August 25, 2009 was Whitney Houston’s I Look To You. Arctic Monkey’s Humbug and Jet’s Shaka Rock tied for a distant second place. Colbie Caillat’s Breakthrough and Skillet’s Awake tied for third.