North American Halloween Prevention Initiative - Do They Know It’s Hallowe’en (2005)
October 2009 Archives
When I read Adam Lambert recent tweet that defends his new album cover as “campy”, I immediately thought of the most recent album cover that I have seen that displays a true sense of gay camp. The cover for the deluxe edtion of Rufus Wainwright’s Millwaukee At Last shows the artist in a bathrobe and putting on a huge diamond earring. Wainwright is also wearing a bit of eyeliner.
The album uses a retro font that adds to the campiness. The concept is simple. The photograph shows Wainwright’s personality and sense of humor. The image of a vain diva playing at a venue in the American Midwest is a joke that anyone can get in an instant.
Recently, photographer Matthew Rolston took a wonderful campy photograph of Adam Lambert for Rolling Stone. Lambert even uses this image as the background of his Twitter homepage. I took that image and applied fonts that are similar to those used on the Rufus Wainwright album. I think the result is an album cover that has much more impact and suits Lambert’s image.
Now, THIS is a campy album cover. I think it works because it is based on the work of a talented photographer and is not overworked. The background is not busy and distracting. It also works with the title of the album. “For Your Entertainment” envokes an image of an artist performing live on stage.
My advice to Adam Lambert is to seek out a talented photographer and art director for your next album cover. Do not try to come up with a cover that screams at the viewer. Your voice already does that.
The title track from Adam Lambert’s forthcoming album For Your Entertainment (right) was released yesterday as the first single. The album is scheduled to be released on November 17 and has caused a great deal of controversy due to the cover that features Lambert in heavy makeup and blue hair.
Lambert has defended the cover on his Twitter account, writing, “Thank you to those who appreciate and understand that the album cover is deliberately campy. It’s an (homage) to the past. It IS ridiculous.”
Personally, I don’t have a problem with Lambert’s glam makeup. The cover is simply overdone. The stars in outer space background, amateurish typography and bright blue hair are all just to the right of being tacky.
Thankfully, the cover for the single is in black and white. The photo was probably taken during the same shoot for the album. Yet, the makeup does not come across as being as artificial as the image on the album cover.
The single was released in July and followed by a music video that was posted on the artist’s YouTube channel in September. Both the song and the video have a very European flavor. It always puzzles me when British pop singers try to sound like Americans and vice versa.
The cover art for Lewis’ album, the Sad Song single and remix EP can all be described as busy. The images are very overworked with flourishes, colorful designs and distracting backgrounds. That isn’t always a bad thing. However, there doesn’t seem to be any concept behind these covers. The busy graphics are just there for decoration. The result is far from pleasing to the eye.
If you’re looking for some great Halloween sounds to play for the trick or treaters tomorrow and you don’t have a lot of time to make your own mix, consider downloading some classic horror radio programs featuring Vincent Price and Boris Karloff. These radio shows are more interesting than the typical Halloween sound effects CD and fun for the whole family.
A 23-minute track of Boris Karloff’s Death for Sale is available on Amazon.com for only 99 cents. The program features spooky sound effects and the unmistakable and creepy voice of Boris Karloff. This is a real bargain.
Also, available on Amazon.com is Witchcraft & Magic by Vincent Price. It features 14 tracks for $8.99 or selected tracks can be purchased for 99 cents each. It isn’t quite the deal as the Karloff album, but it is still worth the Price (pun intended).
Legendary rock band U2 has just released a special “super deluxe” limited editon of their 1984 album The Unforgettable Fire (right) containing the remastered album a bonus audio CD, a DVD with live footage, documentary and videos, a 56 page hardback book with liner notes written by the band, and five photographic prints.
The box sex was released the day after U2’s October 25 performance at the Rose Bowl was streamed live on the Internet. The 2 hour and 21 minute show is now available on the band’s official YouTube channel.
From the press materials, box set looks as if it has been done right. The original album art has been reproduced quite nicely and used consistently on all of the packaged materials. This limited edition is also priced quite reasonably (currently on sale for $39.99 at Amazon.com).
For those of you who are new to the AlbumArtExchange blog, our Déjà vu category is for album covers that seem eerily familiar — as if you’ve seen in somewhere before. Today, I ran across an album by Athens, Georgia rock band Widespread Panic that reminded me of the cover for a forthcoming album from Orange County, California metal band Throwdown.
Throwdown - Deathless (November 2009)
Widespread Panic - Don’t Tell The Band (2001)
In 1984, Michael Jackson’s single Thriller peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The single followed the album of the same name (right) and a groundbreaking music video. It was the seventh single from the album.
The cover art for the Thriller single has been understandably forgot. It features a rather ordinary photograph of Jackson wearing a yellow vest, bow tie and jeweled brooch. Probably the most puzzling thing about the Thriller single was the lack of any connection to the music video, which became a sensation a little over a year before it was released.
A 12” version released in Europe included the long version of the song, while the U.S. single was simply the album verson that almost everyone already owned and the B-side Can’t Get Outta The Rain. This single is definitely an example of a missed opportunity for increased sales and the common music industry tactic of tossing anything out there to make a quick buck.
The fourth single from British electronic duo La Roux’s self-titled debut album (right) is called I’m Not Your Toy. The music video was recently released and the single has been hovering at the bottom the U.K. charts in spite of unfavorable reviews.
The cover for the single is simply not the same quality of design displayed by the album and the previous singles. This is something that is often seen by the time the third or fourth single from an album is released. The art direction of both the cover and the music video are typically inferior — as the record label puts the artist on its B-list and the budget dries up.
Personally, I am ready to see a new hairstyle on Elly Jackson. Perhaps others are getting bored with her orange pompadour, too. Unfortunately, in the music business there is never such a thing as saving the best for last (except that song by Vanessa Williams).
Tuesdays). Below are six new releases that have been preselected from among this week’s top selling albums. They have been chosen for both popularity and for having notable cover art.
|Pink Martini - Splendor In The Grass
||Devendra Banhart - What Will We Be |
|Echo & The Bunnymen - The Fountain
||R.E.M. - Live at the Olympia in Dublin |
|Tegan & Sara - Sainthood
||The Swell Season - Strict Joy |
The Michael Jackson documentary This Is It opens in theaters today. The double CD album of “music that inspired the movie” is currently on sale. The CD is not a soundtrack. It is a collection of studio recordings of many of the songs heard performed live in the film. The collection includes 14 of Jackson’s hit songs, two versions of the previously unreleased single This Is It and four demos.
The album cover is a squared version of the movie poster (right). It features a silhouette of Jackson on a smoke-filled stage on which has been superimposed a colorful “quilt” of images from the artist’s live performances. It is a very strong image and quite approriate as a tribute to the late King of Pop.
There will undoubtedly be a lot of media coverage surrounding the film. There are already reports that it accounts for over 61% of online ticket sales. We are certain to see fans lining up at theaters.
It seems that earlier predictions that Michael Jackson mania would be a short lived fad have proven to be inaccurate. The film is certain to boost sales of the This Is It and Jackson’s most popular albums.
Hot Rocking Girls: Female Rock And Roll 1956 -1958 - Various Artists (2009)
The cover for Adam Lambert’s forthcoming album For Your Entertainment was revealed online today. I saw it first at Robbie Daw’s Chart Rigger blog. Daw’s headline reads “All Adam Lambert’s Album Cover Is Missing Is Pink Glitter And A Rainbow Brite Doll” — I can’t help but agree. I really am surprised that he looks so feminine. It is almost as if he is channeling Human League’s Phil Oakey (right).
I know that Lambert is a fan of 1980s glam, but I don’t know if this album cover really fits his image. We’ll have to wait and see how his fans react to this cover. It certainly isn’t safe and boring.
For Your Entertainment is scheduled to be released on November 23.
According to our AAX poll, the best album cover for the week of October 20, 2009 is In This Light and On This Evening by Editors. I Told You I Was Freaky by Flight Of The Conchords was a distant second and Sonic Boom by KISS and Liebe Ist Für Alle Da by Rammstein tied for third.
Pop culture blog PopEater revealed the cover of Rihanna’s forthcoming album Rated R today. According to a poll accompanying the article, 54% of those who have so far voted hate it. I have to count myself among them.
A few days ago, I posted an image that appeared on Amazon.com as the cover art for Rated R (right). That image has now been replaced with the photo from Rihanna’s Russian Roulette single. I am somewhat disappointed that the simple graphic was not used for the cover.
PopEater interviewed German fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth, who briefly described working with Rihanna.
The ‘Rated R’ cover was shot by famed photographer Ellen von Unwerth, who says that “Rihanna was looking to create something a bit new for the look of the album.”
Von Unwerth goes on to say that Rihanna is “so beautiful, sweet and tough at the same time — and a pleasure to shoot,” adding that she’s “fantastic to work with — very giving, very creative, very involved in every aspect of the shoot, and ready to push the boundaries.
The problem with this cover is that it does not look “new” or push any boundries. It reminds me of something Diana Ross would have done in 1985. All Rihanna needs is a string of pearls and a tiger skin rug.
Ellen von Unwerth is known for her photographs that simulate erotica of the 1950s. The Rihanna cover looks as if she has jumped ahead a few decades and into an era that most of us view with a hint of embarrassment. I cansee why a majority of those polled do not like this album cover.
Even the cool metallic “R” logo has been reduced to a blurry, ’80s-looking symbol in the top right corner. Rated R is scheduled for release on November 23. So, there’s still time to change this cover. Let’s hope the folks at Def Jam are listening.
UPDATE: AAX blog reader Lindy just sent in the following graphic with message:
Let me be the first to do the obvious Photoshop for this album cover. I am certain that it won’t be the last one we will see like this. What was that photographer thinking?
I don’t know very much about dance music duo Groovewatchers other than they have been putting out singles since 2005 and their new music video just debuted on YouTube a few days ago. Sexy Girl first caught my attention a few months ago when I spotted the cover art for the EP on iTunes.
I downloaded one track from the EP and discovered that Sexy Girl is a fairly typical electronic dance tune. It is not particularly exceptional. It is one of those songs that just keeps repeating the same line over and over again. I guess this just proves that sex still sells a product. Buying that song was a lot like pulling off the highway after seeeing one of those cheesy strip club billboards. I suppose I should be embarrassed.
According to Chart Rigger, the single Fight For This Love by Cheryl Cole debuted at number one on the British chart and is the fastest selling single of 2009. The single is from Cole’s forthcoming album 3 Words (right), which is scheduled for release on November 17.
Cole is a former singer with British girl group Girls Aloud. 3 Words will be her solo debut album. The music video for Fight For This Love is a standard pop video, showcasing the young singer as a performer with star qualities.
The covers for both the single and the album are done in the same style. A black and white portrait of the artist has been painted with heavy brush strokes in each and the typography is an exaggerated script that is somewhat difficult to read. On the album, the script has been applied to Cole’s shoulder and resembles a tattoo.
If you grew up in a metropolitan area in the late 1970s, you probably remember the cult film phenomenon called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film began showing at midnight at a theater in New York City on April Fool’s Day in 1977 and by Halloween of that year, people were lined up wearing costumes at venues all over the United States.
The film is an adaption of the British musical production The Rocky Horror Show. The original cast recording (right) was released in 1974 and was already considered to be a camp classic by the time the film was released. I recall that the first time I heard Tim Curry sing Sweet Transvestite it was on the Dr. Demento show. I am not sure what year that was. But, I think it was prior to ‘76.
The soundtrack for the film was released in 1975 and by the time the film became popular three years later, it was a difficult item to find at your local record store. Kids who had the LP to play for friends suddenly became quite popular. In late 1977, listening to The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack with a group of fellow teenagers was about as subversive as many could imagine. The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack was one of those records that were always at risk of being confiscated by a disapproving adult.
The album cover featured the images of several cast members, including Tim Curry in drag makeup as Dr. Frankenfurter. I recall an uncomfortable moment when a mother of a friend pointed to the LP and asked “Who is that lady?”
Rocky Horror has now become a Halloween tradition for young and old alike. Many of you who are reading this are likely to have plans to attend a Halloween showing and even more will have parties at home that include watching the DVD and doing the Time Warp.
A few days ago, I ran across a story on a blog about a professional wrestling promoter named Paul Heyman who believes that the cover for Rihanna’s single Russian Roulette may have been inspired by a cover for album he produced back in 1998. I was surprised when I saw that the story grew legs and was repeated by dozens of other blogs and online magazines.
Today, a blog called People Magazine Daily (not affiliated with People magazine) went so far as to accuse Rihanna’s record label of unauthorized use:
Rihanna’s photograph was an unauthorized use.
So when do you think she and her company will have to pay the Pied Piper?
So, I think it is time for the AlbumArtExchange’s most vocal album art expert to weigh in on the issue. This “scandal” needs a voice of reason.
Those of you who follow the AlbumArtExchange blog know that there are probably thousands of examples of these kinds of coincidences involving album covers. At first glance, it appears that these two covers have a great deal in common. The pose is similar and both figures are wrapped in barbed wire. If you’ve never seen a photograph of a person wrapped in barbed wire, you may come to the hasty conclusion that the later cover must have been inspired by the first. In truth, the artistic theme of a person wrapped in barbed wire has a long and kinky history.
Those of us who have studied art and photography recognize being wrapped in barbed wire as a fairly common theme that stems from the world of S&M and bondage. There are paintings and photographs showing women (and sometimes men) wrapped in barbed wire going back decades. Often these images are focused on a woman’s breasts, as with the Rihanna cover. I have found several examples online (below) that are very similar in concept to the Rihanna cover.
The fact that Rihanna is wearing a mask and a corset indicates that her cover was inspired by the S&M fetish, rather than professional wrestling. Where Paul Heyman got his inspiration is another question. I don’t think fans of professional wrestling realize just how much kinky stuff is displayed in this field of entertainment — sweaty, muscular men wrapped in barbed wire, hmm.
The larger issue that should be discussed is whether or not either cover is really appropriate for items that are displayed in public to a general audience that includes children. Being wrapped in barbed wire is a form of torture. Yet, both images unrealistically depict the person wrapped in barbed wire as being free of any obvious pain. Some may argue that such an image is more degrading to women.
Graphic designers and art directors typically have college degrees in the field of Art. They study paintings and photographs that often explore controversial subject matter. The problem with using those types of themes on an album cover is that the proper context is often warped or absent. What does it mean to a 12-year-old child to see his or her pop idol or a wrestling star wrapped in barbed wire? What is really being sold by both of these covers? Sex and violence appears to be the answer.
Neither the cover nor the music video for Come Back Now compares to the first single from Divided by Night, Drown In The Now. Perhaps the duo ran out of money and had to cut corners.
The video for Drown In The Now featured some impressive animation and the big round moon of woofers shown on the album cover. Come Back Now looks like the result of switching art directors in the middle of a project. I’m not sure what the story is here.
On June 9, 1984, Time After Time, the second single from Cyndi Lauper’s debut album She’s So Unusual (right) took over the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It remained at the top of the chart for two weeks, replaced by The Reflex by Duran Duran.
Unlike Girls Just Want To Have Fun, the first single from She’s So Unusual, Lauper actually co-wrote Time After Time. Her collaborator was Rob Hyman of the rock group The Hooters.
Time After Time was a also a hit music video at the time. It features a long lead in, with Lauper watching an old movie on television and snuggling a ceramic dog. It also features Lauper’s friend and wrestling icon Captain Lou Albano who recently passed away.
The cover for the single created many comparisions between Lauper and Madonna, whose debut album came out the previous year. Lauper does look more like Madonna on the Time After Time cover than in any other photo that I have seen.
It is hard for me to believe that is has been 40 years since I first set foot in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. My twin brother and I were nine years old and one of the things we brought home from Disneyland that day became one of our most prized possessions — especially at Halloween.
After exiting the mansion, we spotted a booth that was selling souvenirs. The first thing that caught my I was an LP called The Story and Song of The Haunted Mansion. The record included a story about two boys caught in the Haunted Mansion during a thunderstorm (I did not know that one of the boys is played by Ron Howard). It also included the main theme song heard during the ride through the attraction.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion’s opening in 1969, Disney has released this album on an enhanced CD that includes high resolution images of the paintings used for the cover of the 1969 LP.
If you’re looking for a great way to entertain kids this Halloween, this CD would certainly do the trick. If you’re a grown up, it is a wonderful piece of nostalgia.
Imagine wearing a tribute to a classic album cover on your feet. That is the idea with Converse’s new Chuck Taylor high top sneakers that bear the words from The Clash’s London Calling. Fashion website Highsnobiety has the details and photos.
For Spring 2010 Converse continues their music collaboration series and presents a capsule footwear collection with The Clash. They present a series of Chuck Taylor Hi’s in the collection, including white leather versions, as well as black and khaki canvas versions. All sneakers come with interesting details on the sole and the upper, in the form of special tags, prints and more.
In case you are not familiar with London Calling, it is recognized as one of the top rock albums of all time by many experts, including Rolling Stone magazine.
The image below is currently being displayed on Amazon.com as the album art for Rihanna’s forthcoming album Rated R. The question is whether this is the actual cover or simply a placeholder that is being used until the final album cover is revealed. This image was not in place the last time I checked.
This particular album cover has been the subject of countless rumors, including an image that popped up online a couple of months ago (right) that was assumed to be the final cover by many bloggers.
Many fans are certain to be disappointed if the final cover does not feature a stunning image of Rihanna. Rated R is scheduled to be released on November 23.
I just saw the cover for the forthcoming George Lopez comedy album and it is yet another déjà vu candidate. The cover features the stand up comic and actor crouching on the hood of a red hot rod. Hum, where have I seen that recently?
It is almost exactly like the cover of new Neko Case album, Middle Cyclone. In fact, I’m willing to bet that this is no coincidence. Middle Cyclone was released in March and it is far from being an obscure album.
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone (2009)
George Lopez - Tall, Dark & Chicano (December 2009)
Online art, fashion, photography and entertainment media magazine Dazed Digital is conducting an album cover competition. The winner’s album art will be used as the cover for a compilation CD from U.K. record label Full Time Hobby called Hobbyism.
We’re looking for original work from aspiring photographers, illustrators, typographers and artists - it’s up to you what you create and how you go about it, but it will need to be able to fit on a standard CD and don’t forget this is for Full Time Hobby’s Hobbyism compilation!!
All artwork must be designed in high-resolution, 300dpi and final artwork may need to be modified due to any necessary production constraints.
The soundtrack for Zombieland was recently released on iTunes. According to the reviews, many people are upset that what is being sold as the movie soundtrack is actually the score by composer David Sardy. It does not include the rock songs heard in the film, such as Van Halen and Metallica.
I downloaded the soundtrack (er, score) and it is actually quite good. It will be an excellent addition to my Halloween music collection. You may have noticed that there is an embarrassing typo in the cover art that is being used on iTunes. If not, I’ll give you a moment to find it.
Got it? The “d” has been omitted from the word “soundtrack”! Obviously, this was a hasty graphic design job. It is simply the artwork from the movie poster with some extra typography added. I always wonder how these typos make it into the wild. I worked as a corporate marketing department editor for many years and these goofs are really quite rare.
Twitter user RichardBiedul sent out a tweet tonight with an amazing photograph of a light show recreation of the album cover for Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side of the Moon. Sky Arts created the display on London’s Primrose Hill to promote a screening of Pulse: Dark Side Of The Moon Live.
I think they did a great job of matching the album cover. I wonder how they did it. There are several news stories about this, but none give technical details.
Weezer just sent out a tweet to let fans know that their new music video has been published on Babelgum. (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To is the first single from the band's forthcoming album Raditude (right), which is scheduled for release on November 3.
The single was released in August to some chilly reviews. The music video is a very nice production that is set in what looks like a 1930s era small town with a very unusual population (I won't spoil the surprise).
I really like that Weezer has made their video available for bloggers to include in our reviews. In addition to creative album art, this is one of the things that will really help promote an album.
For some reason, KKK isa trending topic on Twitter. In addition to being disturbing, it reminded me of the 1981 single by Ramones The KKK Took My Baby Away. I was not able to locate the cover art for the single. However, the AAX gallery does have the cover of the album on which the song appeared. Pleasant Dreams was the sixth studio album by the pioneering American punk band. It is also one of my favorites by Ramones.
The cover features a creepy silhouette of a man in a trench coat. I remember how cool this graphic looked on the LP.
Rock band Phish is promoting their Halloween Festival 8 performance with a special website that displays album art for the various albums that they are considering covering live that evening. Albums that have literally been given the axe (or stabbed, shot with arrows, etc.) are the ones that have been removed from consideration.
Fun Boy Three was a British pop band formed in 1981 by former members of ska band The Specials, Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Golding. The group never had a hit in the U.S., but their single The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) (right) was popular here as a protest against the Reagan presidency.
The band began their two-year stint with the name The Fun Boy Three. However, by the time they released their second and final album in 1983, they had dropped the superfluous “the” from their name. Fun Boy Three recorded two songs with Bananarama and band member Terry Hall co-wrote the hit Our Lips Are Sealed with Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s. Fun Boy Three recorded Our Lips Our Sealed for their album Waiting.
Believe it or not, the cover for Fun Boy Three’s self-titled debut album was somewhat controversial in 1981. Many people still held racist attitudes and found the portrait of the trio to be too intimate. The cover for the single showed the band in an even more controversial pose, with Staple and Golding resting their chins on Hall’s shoulders. Hall appeared on both covers wearing lipstick, eye makeup and a hairstyle that was very feminine for the time (Boy George and Culture Club had just hit the scene).
The covers for both the album and the single shown here are composites created by combining several examples found online.
Recently, Chicago DJ crew Jump Smokers have been working artists such as Mariah Carey and Pitbull. A few months ago, they had limited success with a single called Don’t Be A Douchebag!, which can best be described as a novelty song. The music video has received just over 240,000 views on YouTube.
While I’m not crazy about the cover for the single, Jump Smokers have a strong and colorful logo that they aren’t afraid to use. It really stands out on the cover of their remix of Mariah Carey’s Obsessed (right). I’m giving Jump Smokers a big thumbs up for their consistent use of the logo. This is one of the proven methods for establishing a brand. What works for potato chips works for music — especially a group of DJs without a single frontman.
I am surprised that Don’t Be A Douchebag! hasn’t turned into a new version of the Rickrolling fad. Click here if you think you’re sexy. See what I mean?
Former Danity Kane singer D. Woods revealed the cover of her forthcoming solo album The Gray Area via Twitter yesterday. It was also announced that the album is scheduled to be released on December 8.
This is a very nice album cover. The portrait is beautiful and the dotted line down the center of the artist’s face is simple, yet effective.
The cover for the forthcoming album by producer and rapper Timbaland was revealed via news release today. Shock Value II is Timbaland’s third studio album. It is scheduled to be released on November 23.
The cover features an image of the artist superimposed on an electonic audio wave. It would be interesting to know what sound is being imaged on the cover. I am willing to bet that there’s a story behind it.
To publicize the premiere of Columbia Pictures’ new animated comedy Planet 51, the studio has put a DVD of the film in orbit on the International Space Station. Planet 51 will be released in theaters on November 20, 2009. It features the voices of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Gary Oldman, John Cleese, Jessica Biel and Justin Long.
The soundtrack for the movie is scheduled to be released on November 17. It features songs performed by Keith Murrell, Sophie Green and others. The album cover features a very cute illustration that is different from the various movies posters and can be seen as the main graphic on the movie’s webpage (which is worth checking out).
The deluxe edition of Fever Ray’s self titled album was just released in the U.K. It contains two new tracks, Stranger Than Kindness and Here Before, and a DVD of six videos. Vanity Fair debuted the music video for Stranger Than Kindness on their website today.
Recently, Sleevage published an excellent article about the Fever Ray album cover and the various singles.
A paranormally gifted woman stands in front of a barren, twisted and wintry landscape, her face expressionless and intentions unclear. The mysterious cover of Fever Ray’s self-titled debut album invokes a pitch-black, pagan sensibility.
The cover for the deluxe edition is the same as the previous release (except for a sticker in the top left corner). I do not have a U.S. release date for it
After I wrote a review of Allison Iraheta’s new album cover (right) this morning, I started thinking about what makes the difference between an average cover that is simply designed to sell the album and those memorable album covers that make a lasting impact. The cover for Iraheta’s Just Like You doesn’t really say much. It features an attractive portrait of the artist, but it doesn’t tell us anything interesting about her — other than the fact that she has brightly colored hair.
If you’re a fan of American Idol, you watched Allison grow as a performer during the competion. She matured from a timid young girl who had difficulty speaking her mind into a confident star. Why isn’t that story conveyed by her album cover?
Below is a mock up of a concept that I came up with for Iraheta’s album cover. It shows her standing in what could be a backyard or neighborhood playground anywhere in the world. Standing in front of a tire swing is a small girl with a frightened look on her face. This child is “just like you” or just like anyone who has ever been small enough to be afraid to jump in that swing and head for the sky.
A talented photographer could do much to improve a concept like this. It would result in a cover for a debut album that Iraheta could be proud of for the rest of her career. I think this kind of image would be inspirational to Iraheta’s young fans who view her as a peer who has already achieved fame and success.
This concept shows a contrast between the edgy pop star that Iraheta has become and the child that she used to be. It is something that will contrbute to her image and be valued by fans years from today. There are dozens of album covers that portray female artists as sexy vixens. There are very few that are smart and sexy at the same time.
It took me about an hour to come up with a concept for this album cover. That demonstrates the small amount of effort that must have gone into creating the final cover for Just Like You. The record label just slapped something together without considering the artist’s image or her future. That is very typical and should serve as a lesson to young artists who are just starting out in the business. Ask for concepts that you can live with for the rest of your career. Your album art will help define you.
The cover for American Idol contestant Allison Iraheta’s debut album was revealed online yesterday. Just Like You is scheduled to be released on December 1, 2009.
I must confess that Iraheta was one of my American Idol favorites last season. However, I dislike this album cover. The combination of the pink colors and the amorphous blobs that are inexplicably surrounding the young artist makes me think of the lining of a stomach and antiacids. It is simply not an attractive cover. It appears as if the graphic designer tried to coordinate the background with Iraheta’s hair color. It would have been much better to have used a neutral background to make her trademark dye job stand out. Instead, the cover turned out somewhat vomitous.
The cover for American R&B singer Angie Stone’s forthcoming album Unexpected was revealed yesterday. Unexpected is Stone’s fifth studio album. It is scheduled to be released on November 23 and is currently available as a presale item on Amazon.com.
The album cover features Stone in a shimmering dress astride a motorcycle. One thing that can be said about this cover is that it is unexpected. Kidding aside, Stone looks great in the photograph. I always look forward to her albums. Thanks to AAX user fourplay for uploading this cover to the gallery.
Ben Weasel - The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (2009)
The music video for Adam Lambert’s song on the 2012 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was posted on YouTube tonight. Time for Miracles is the kind of rock ballad that fans have anticipated from Lambert, whose album For Your Entertainment is scheduled to be released on November 23.
The 2012 soundtrack is set to be released on November 10. If I were them, I’d place a “Featuring Adam Lambert” in the bottom left corner of the cover.
Below are six abum covers that were preselected from this week’s new releases. They were chosen based on Amazon.com sales rank and the quality of the design. While they are from different genres and by artists that range in popularity, the covers should be judged on individual merit.
Editors - In This Light And On This Evening
Flight Of The Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky
KISS - Sonic Boom
Rammstein - Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
Tim McGraw - Southern Voice
Tina Turner - Tina Live
Rihanna debuted her new single Russian Roulette on Ryan Seacrest’s radio program this morning. The cover for the single was also revealed online. Thank you to AAX user bknollenberg for uploading it to the gallery today.
The cover features Rihanna dressed in a kinky bondage costume, wrapped in barbed wire and holding a rusty chain. I’m not sure what that has to do with Russian Roulette, but at the very least it is an interesting photograph.
According to our AAX poll, the best album cover for the week of October 13, 2009 is for Blue Record by Baroness. It won by 73% of the vote. Second place goes to Embryonic by The Flaming Lips and third to Christmas From The Heart by David Archuleta.
This week’s poll will be posted later today. Later in the week, we will be introducing another poll to determine which cover uploaded to the AAX gallery qualifies as the Best Upload of the Week.
Vagina Panther’s self-titled debut album is such an obvious choice for the AAX blog’s WTF?! category I don’t even know where to begin. When I was teenager, the California punk rock scene had a lot of appeal. Bands with outrageous names like Circle Jerks and Dead Kennedys had shocking album covers that captured the attention of my adolescent mind. I was young. The bands were young. It was all about being rebellous and deliberately inappropriate.
However, there is something disturbing about a band of seemingly mature adults who employ tactics that most of us outgrew over 25 years ago. A band called Vagina Panther seems more like something from an episode of South Park. An album cover that features a breast dripping milk seems just as sophomoric.
The funny thing is that I like this New York rock band’s sound. The only thing that would keep me from sharing that with my circle of friends and family is that I would have to say the band’s name. No one would believe that I was being serious. Word of mouth is important when it comes to the success of a band. “Vagina Panther” is going to keep a lot of mouths closed.
The fourth single from Lily Allen’s It’s Not Me, It’s You is scheduled to be released on November 23, around the same time as a DVD/CD special edition of the album (right). The music video for Who’d Have Known has already made its debut on YouTube.
The video features Allen and an actor portraying Elton John. In the video, Allen is a crazy fan who has kidnapped Sir Elton and is keeping him tied up in her apartment. It is very entertaining.
The cover for the single uses the same branding as the others from the album. It features an attractive photograph of Allen, but I was disappointed that is doesn’t contain any visual references to the quirky music video. I would have like to have seen her holding a length of rope or something.
Can you imagine heading to the beach with a camera crew and posing in the surf for hours to create what you imagine will be a unique photograph for the cover of your new album? Then, imagine that after your album cover is a done deal that another artist uses the same concept — except that they do it much better.
That’s what I assume happened when two album covers featuring the artists sitting in chairs during a rising tide were both scheduled for release at around the same time. The cover of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson’s Summer of Fear shows the American singer-songwriter sitting in a chair at the beach as the tide rises. It is a very serene image and not really one that conveys a feeling of fear.
The same cannot be said of the album cover for Keep Calm and Carry On by Welsh rock band Stereophonics (the irony of the two titles does not escape me). This cover shows the band sitting at a kitchen table while a raging tide rises around them. Perhaps this installment of Déjà vu should be called “Who done it better?”
Summer Of Fear - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (2009)
Stereophonics - Keep Calm And Carry On (2009)
I just noticed a trending topic on Twitter called #chartjackers and did a quick Google search to find out what it is. I discovered that ChartJackers is some kind of YouTube project involving a BBC documentary and four young guys making a pop music single.
Frankly, I found it all a bit confusing. It all seems like cheap publicity stunt. A video posted on October 15 shows one of the guys asking people to submit artwork for the cover of the single.
Unfortunately, he did not mention the name of the single and refused to play it. So, these people are asking for artwork based on absolutely nothing. The designer does not know the name of song, what it is about, or anything. Not only that, there is no mention of how much they are willing to pay — which makes me believe that they are asking a graphic designer to work for free.
Good luck with that. Watch the video and I’m sure that unless you are a teenage girl (or otherwise inclined to appreciate a cute boy) you will find this young man’s coyness to be quite annoying. Does anyone really have time for this kind of tease? Either play the song or shut up!
Girls are and alternative rock band from San Francisco who released their debut album Album. Album received a very good review on Pitchfork last month that begins with a disturbing bio of frontman Christopher Owens.
Girls frontman Christopher Owens grew up in the Children of God cult. His older brother died as a baby because the cult didn’t believe in medical attention. His dad left. He and his mother lived around the world, and the cult sometimes forced his mother to prostitute herself. As a teenager, Owens fled and lived as a Texas gutter-punk for a while. Then a local millionaire took Owens under his wing, and Owens moved to San Francisco. There, he and Chet “JR” White formed Girls, and recorded Album, their debut album, under the influence of just about every kind of pill they could find.
There are many online comments that compare Girls to Elvis Costello. Personally, I don’t hear any similarities to Costello’s sound. To me, they sound more like Pixies and a couple of other more obscure alternative bands from the 1990s.
The cover for Album is not quite as generic as the title — but it comes close. It features photos of Owens and White and bouquets of roses. It is a simple design, but at least it shows us what the artists look like (and lets us know that they aren’t girls) and doesn’t feature a dead raccoon.
INOUDID’s Attic uses the covers of unplayable LPs to create unique coasters. The coasters can be used as a simple puzzle and keep rings off your furniture.
Each LP results in nine coasters and there are dozens of artists from which to choose. I selected Revolver by The Beatles to use as an illustration for article, but there are country, jazz, pop, and many other genres represented in the coasters that are available on the website.
A set of nine is priced at $35, which seems very reasonable for something that is handcrafted and one of a kind. This seems like a great gift for any album art lover.
The second single from Arctic Monkeys’ album Humbug (right) is called Cornerstone. I was not impressed with the album art for Humbug. Recently, the band boasted that the cover was taken with a camera that was picked up for just one dollar.
The cover for Crying Lightning, the first single from the album, is far superior. It features the mirror image of a nude woman doing a contortionist act on a drum with a bolt of lightning in the background.
Sadly, the cover for Cornerstone is not very creative at all. It features a fanciful black and white illustration of some leaves — yeah, leaves. The single was released along with a very low budget music video. Perhaps I’m wrong, but thrift is usually not a quality that the public expects or appreciates when it comes to rock bands.
With Halloween just around the corner, I think this déjà vu moment is appropriate. It involves two albums that seem to have both been inspired by the Stephen King horror movie Carrie.
Who can forget the scene in which Sissy Spacek has a bucket of blood poured over her during her senior prom — sending her into a telekinetic killing frenzy (right). It is a horror movie classic.
Garage punk musician Jay Reatard appeared on the cover of his 2006 album Blood Visions in what looks like a shot right from Carrie. Wearing nothing but a pair of bikini briefs, Reatard is soaked from head to toe in blood.
When I first saw the album cover for Blood Visions, I immediately thought of Carrie and another album cover that I first saw in 1998. On the cover of Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, rapper DMX appeared shirtless and also covered in blood. The cover was considered to be quite shocking at the time and many retailers refused to display it on their shelves.
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions (2006)
DMX - Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)
Vamps are a Japanese rock band that just finished a U.S. tour last month, following the release of their debut self-titled album. The album is currently a hot item selling as an import on Amazon.com for just over $50.
The album art is very similar to the lips from the movie poster for Rocky Horror Show Picture Show (right) and has a posterized, Andy Warhol look to it. It is certainly not very original. However, it is a compelling image and appropriate for a band called Vamps.
Vamps perform in both Japanese and English and have a very commercial American rock sound. Apparently, the lead singer Hyde is quite the heartthrob of many teenage girls.
The murder revenge movie Law Abiding Citizen starring Gerald Butler and Jamie Foxx was released to theaters yesterday. The soundtrack for the film is currently available as a digital download and as CD on Demand from Amazon.com.
CD on Demand is a new way to distribute digital music on a physical CD. The album is burned onto a CD-R and packaged with album art much the same way as a traditional mass-produced CD. This is the first time that I have seen a motion picture soundtrack distibuted on CD on Demand. The last time I read about this new sales format, it was being presented as an affordable way for indie artists to produce CDs.
The album art for this soundtrack is very basic. It is a square version of the movie poster. It is missing the “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” phrase that we’ve come to expect on soundtrack covers.
American indie rock band Vampire Weekend have made the first single from their forthcoming album Contra (right) available as a free download. Horchata can be downloaded from the band’s website after entering a valid e-mail address.
The download includes a 320kbps MP3 file and a digital booklet. That’s a pretty good deal compared to most free music downloads.
Contra is scheduled to be released on January 11, 2010 in the U.K. and on January 12 in the U.S. The cover art for the album was revealed several weeks ago on the band’s website.
The cover for the single Bad Romance from Lady Gaga’s forthcoming album The Fame Monster was revealed online today and is currently being posted on Twitter and blogs. Thanks to AAX user joshdelta high resolution versions of the cover were uploaded to the gallery yesterday.
The cover features Lady Gaga draped in blood red fabric. I think this image has much more imapct than the photographs that were chosen for the covers of the album and the deluxe edition of The Fame Monster. Bad Romance is scheduled for release on October 27.
As Tall As Lions - You Can’t Take It With You (2009)
The cover for Enya’s forthcoming album The Very Best of Enya was recently revealed on Amazon.com. The cover features the artist wearing a bright red gown that is spread around her like a giant flower. This album cover demonstrates a wonderful use of color.
The Very Best of Enya is scheduled for release in the U.S. on November 24.
John Mayer revealed the cover for his forthcoming album Battle Studies via Twitter today. The album is scheduled to be released on November 17.
The cover has the retro look of a 1960s jazz album. It features a portrait of the artist wearing a leather coat and looking very much like James Dean in the famous Phil Stern photographs (right). I think that this is a very good concept and Mayer looks very handsome on the cover. It definitely conveys the image of the Hollywood rebel from a previous era.
Retro-looking album covers and black and white portraits have been a trend this week. Susan Boyle, Janet Jackson and John Mayer are three artists who have used black and white photography to achieve very nice results. If this is a trend, I hope that the quality continues to be this good.
I write frequently about how much I love albums that have a consistent theme that can be seen in the album art, covers of the various singles and the key music video. Get Wild by American DJ and producer Sharam is one of those albums.
The album has a very creative theme based on spaghetti westerns. The cover for the album and that of the special limited double CD editon (right) features the artist dressed as a 1960s era movie cowboy. This theme is carried over to the cover for the single She Came Along which features rapper Kid Cudi and samples of Strange by the late great Pasty Cline.
The cover art for She Came Along is a little more evocative of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name with the gunslinger shown wearing the trademark poncho seen in classics like A Fistful of Dollars and Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Any doubts about this connection will be erased after watching the music video for She Came Along.
The Royal Mail has announced the 2010 release of special collector edition postage stamps that will feature 10 notable album covers by British artists. The stamps will include artists such as New Order (right), Coldplay, Blur, David Bowie, and Pink Floyd.
Special stamps such as this are quite popular in many countries, including the United States. In an article about the British stamp on pop culture blog Idolator, the question was asked which album covers are likely to be chosen for a series of U.S. stamps featuring American artists. Elvis? Madonna? Britney Spears?
There is one British band that is conspicuously absent from this collection. Check out the 10 stamps and I’m sure you’ll be able to spot it (they are the number one rock band of all time).
Hello Kate!! is an electronic band from Sao Paulo, Brazil lead by DJ Hisato. Last year, they released their debut EP Girls. The EP features four tracks that show obvious influence from ’80s electronic bands like New Order and Caberet Voltaire. The EP had been forgotten in my collection for quite a few months and I just recently gave it a listen. Technically, it may not be new, but it surprised me and is certainly worth sharing.
The cover for the EP features a young woman wearing a combat helmet and a star in glittery makeup drawn around her eye. It is a very simple image, yet it it nicely executed and catches the eye. Hello Kate!! has several music videos posted online. All are very avant garde and low budget. I have posted the video for a song called Female Mousache.
The Surfin’ Gorillas - The New Adventures of The Surfin’ Gorillas (2003)
Get U Home is the first single from American rapper Shwayze’s forthcoming album Let It Beat (right). The music video for Get U Home was recently posted on YouTube. It is set at a sorority house with all kinds of youthful shenanigans taking place. That really doesn’t seem to be what the song is about, but the song is featured in the film Sorority Row.
The cover art for both the album and the single feature bright illustrations with neon colors and a dashing typographical treatment of the artist’s name. It is clear that this music is about parties and fun for the young generation. I feel tired just looking at it!
Let It Beat is scheduled to be released on November 3. Get U Home is available now for download on Amazon.com and iTunes and on the Sorority Row soundtrack.
The cover of rapper Snoop Dogg’s forthcoming album Malice ‘n Wonderland appeared on Amazon.com today. The illustration pulls out all of the stops in representing the gangser rap lifestyle, featuring a buxom woman, liquor, gambling, a fast car, and a skeleton wearing dark glasses and a goatee. It is a quality illustration, however it is not really typical of what Snoop Dogg has done in the past — even considering Doggystyle which featured a cartoon dog.
There were a couple of articles about the album published online today, including one on MTV.com. None featured the album art. The album is not scheduled to be released until December 8. Perhaps this is not the final version of the cover.
The cover for Janet Jackson’s forthcoming greatest hits album Number Ones was revealed on Amazon.com today. The cover features a beautiful black and white portrait of Jackson, who is shown reclining and resting her head in her hand.
This is a very appropriate album cover for a mature artist. One thing that I find interesting is that the “e” in the artist’s name is the same symbol that appears on Jay-Z’s album Blueprint 3 (right). It is probably just a coincidence, but it seems like an odd typographical treatment.
Number Ones is scheduled to be released on November 17.
On rare occassions (which frankly not rare enough), I run across an album cover that seems too much like a parody to be real. The cover for the single Teardrops On My Telephone by California pop band Hunx and His Punx is one of those. Watching the music video on YouTube did not help to confirm that this is in fact a real, performing band either.
However, a little bit of poking around confirmed that Hunx and His Punx is a real band. In fact, they have just released five out-of-print singles and a new track called Do The Makeup on the LP Gay Singles (right).
The LP is being released by Matador records in a limited quantity of 1,000 pressings. The label’s website includes the following product description:
The debut LP from California’s Hunx and His Punx…Amazing, at once hilarious and deeply good pop songs, like the Gay Ramones mixed with Ronnettes filmed by John Waters.
The cover for the single is definitely more Ronnettes than Ramones. I suppose that is “Hunx” reclining on the bed with a giant telephone and black pantyhose.
It has been a long time since I last went to see a live performance at a club in San Francisco or Los Angeles. But, this band seems typical of the kind of campy acts that have performed there over the past few decades. The legendary Divine, Pasty Cline and the Memphis G Spots, Julie Brown, and El Vez are a few that immediately come to mind.
The first single from Norah Jones’ forthcoming album The Fall (right) is called Chasing Pirates. The covers for both the album and the single feature the artist wearing a top hat and posing with dogs.
The album cover shows Jones with a St. Bernard, while the Chasing Pirates single shows her with an assortment of furry friends. I’ve made it clear in the past that I really like consistent branding when it comes to an album and the associated single. I believe that a solid artistic concept helps consumers identify the music of a particular artist and keep track of what is new or recently read about in publications and online.
The excellent art direction for The Fall will not only help promote the album and the singles, it will remain in the minds of fans as the “dog” album. That’s a good thing if the music is worth remembering as well. From a listen to the song on YouTube, I think that will be the case.
On February 2, 1985, Relax by British pop group Frankie Goes To Hollywood peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both the song and the cover for the single were very controversial at the time. The song contains less than subtle sexual lyrics and the cover features half-naked male and female figures locked in a reverse embrace.
In 1984, the song was banned by the BBC in all of its TV and radio outlets. This caused the single to jump to the number one spot on the U.K. charts, where it remained for five weeks. It subsequently started getting airplay in the U.S. and other countries. The following year, Relax was featured on the group’s album Welcome to the Pleasure Dome (right) and won an award for Best British Single.
Today, a music video featuring a 2009 remix of Relax was was posted on YouTube. The video features Frankie Goes To Hollywood front man Holly Johnson performing the song for the first time in 22 years.
The Ramonetures with Billy Zoom - Johny Walk Don’t Run Paulene (2000)
A movie that is being called High School Musical with fangs premires in New York City tonight. The young cast of I Kissed A Vampire will be in attendence at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema at 6 PM. The soundtrack was released on iTunes today.
The album cover features yet more attractive young people with vampire fangs and an ambiguous love triangle. I don’t know how much longer this trend will continue, but a rock musical just could be the thing that drives a stake through its heart.
British rapper Example has the number two single on the UK iTunes dance chart with Watch The Sun Come Up. The cover art for the single features a psychedelic illustration that is reminiscent of the 1960s. However, the music video for Watch The Sun Come Up is certain to remind those who are old enough to remember of the video for a-ha’s Take On Me (just not done as well).
Fans of the Twilight Saga films were excited to see the album cover for the film’s score appear on Amazon.com yesterday. The cover for the film’s soundtrack (right) was revealed last month and is scheduled to be released on Friday.
The album cover for the score by noted film composer Alexandre Desplat is very similar to that of the soundtrack. It features the film’s three young stars standing in a misty forest. There is often confusion when both a score and a soundtrack are released for a film. Many consumers purchase the score thinking that the album will contain popular songs that are heard in the film.
The Twilight Saga New Moon: The Score will be released on November 24. That means it will be available just in time for many grandparents to purchase it as disappointing Christmas gifts for teenagers who wanted to listen to Death Cab For Cutie and The Killers and got Alexandre Desplat under the tree instead.
Below are six albums released on October 13, 2009. They have been preselected for our AlbumArtExchange poll to determine which album cover is the best. I am using a new polling application on the blog. Let me know what you think.
Baroness - Blue Record
Bowling For Soup - Sorry For Partyin'
David Archuleta - Christmas From The Heart
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
Mario - D.N.A.
Monsters Of Folk - Monsters Of Folk
The cover features a portrait of the American Idol winner sitting in a row of theater seats and wearing a black leather jacket. This reveal comes on the heels of the placement of Susan Boyle’s album cover on Amazon.co.uk this morning.
This album will be released in the U.S. on November 17 and is available for preorder at this time.
The cover for Susan Boyle’s forthcoming album I Dreamed A Dream has been added to the AAX gallery. The cover was revealed ealier today on Amazon.co.uk. It is surprising that a big PR launch was not planned for this much anticipated album. Instead, it was quietly added to the online retailer. The last time I checked, the artist’s website had not even been updated to include the new cover.
I first wrote about Portland pop duo YACHT (or Y△CHT) a few months ago after I fell in love with their single Psychic City (Voodoo City). Since then, there has been a cover for the single and music video. So, it is time for an update.
As I wrote earlier, Psychic City (Voodoo City) reminds me quite a bit of Tom Tom Club and other innovative bands from the early ’80s. The duo is comprised of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans (right), who recently released the album See Mystery Lights.
The music video begins with an interesting disclaimer:
Due to our strong personal convictions, We wish to stress that this film in no way endores a belief in the occult.
Hum. I don’t quite know what to make out of that disclaimer. The video appears to be drawing a comparison between witchcraft and Christian rituals. Anyway, the cover for the single is kind of witchy. It features a Evans wearing a black outfit and apparently conjuring spells in an open field.
The cover for Susan Boyle’s much anticipated debut album was revealed on the Amazon.co.uk store today. The cover of I Dreamed A Dream features a black and white portrait of the artist with her face cradled in her hands and wearing a black sequined dress.
It was assumed by many that the album cover would include a landscape of Scotland following a photo shoot there earlier this year. Personally, I think this is a much better concept.
The AAX gallery does not yet have this cover in our collection. I am certain that it is forthcoming. Her album is still one of the top in presales worldwide, outselling many top recording artists such as Barbra Steisand and Madonna. A track from the album, Wild Horses, was previewed on YouTube last month and received rave reviews. I Dreamed A Dream is scheduled to be released on November 23.
UPDATE: The album cover has been added to the AAX gallery. The larger images provide a much better view of the cover.
When I created the “Search for the Worst” category on this blog, my goal was to feature only the most universally offensive, horrible album covers ever created. So far, I’ve selected an album that features a bloody illustration of cannibalism and another that is a photograph of a dead raccoon.
Today, I discovered an album that features a portrait of the artist with what appears to be feces smeared around his mouth. Coprophilia is not something that I believe would sell albums to anything except a very small segment of the population. Yet, here is an album cover with the revolting image and a suggestive title that attempts to do just that.
I looked up the artist’s bio online and here is an excerpt of what I found:
Barry Lawton is a singer songwriter, hailing from the sprawling metropolis that is Crewe, South Cheshire. He has released two albums, ‘Enough To Go Around’ released in 2001 and his 2003 release entitled ‘Brown Lipstick’.
Lawton specialises in well-crafted intelligent pop tunes with the emphasis on melody and lyrical punch. If you’re looking for mystical sojourns into introspection, then you’ve sadly come to the wrong place.
The only reason why I am including the “buy now” link for this album is so people can click through and verify that this is real. YUCK! If this cover doesn’t qualify as one of the worst of all time, I don’t know what does.
Halloween - Various Artists Cavendish Music/The Orchard (2008)
Vocalist Aaron Gillespie appears in a YouTube video that explains the concept (posted below). Those who purchase the physical EP will receive a blank CD that will allow them to download the album tracks. Liner notes and five versions of the EP cover are included with the purchase.
Not only is this a unique marketing concept, the album art is really quite special. I love the look of the album cover and the five covers for the EP. One thing I noticed is that the name of Virgin Records is misspelled on the album cover. It reads “Vigin Records” — oops! In spite of the typo, this is a very special album cover. The monster heads immediately caught my attention.
Armand Van Helden & A-TRAK Present Duck Sauce is a retro soul project from the U.K. that is a real kick. The music video for aNYway was posted on YouTube a few days ago in advance of its U.K. release on October 26.
The Duck Sauce concept with the cute duck mascot holding a vinyl record (right) is very creative. I can’t wait to see where they go with this. Just check out the MySpace page.
The profile has the following information:Influences Quack.
Sounds Like Quack quack.
Record Label Fool’s Gold
Type of Label Indie
New York City musical collective Animal Collective have revealed the cover art for a forthcoming EP called Fall Be Kind on their MySpace page. The EP is scheduled to be released on December 8.
I am not quite sure what the image on the cover is supposed to be. If you squint, it kind of looks like a fetus holding its umbilical cord. Perhaps it is an angle blowing a horn. Just an abstract image? You tell me.
Winter Gloves are a Canadian electronic pop band who have created a very fun music video for their song Party People using stock footage of 1960s era dance parties. The band also has a single from their album About A Girl available as a free download on RCRD LBL.
The cover art for About A Girl is a collage featuring a tangle of arms and a woman’s face that has been divided in two and had an eye removed. This kind of collage is all too common, especially as covers for little-known artists. I aways think it is a mistake not to use a photograph of the band unless their faces are already familar to the public. I know designers work very hard on these kinds of collages, but they remind me of high school art class. Meh.
The Silent But Deadlies - Halloween Nasty Zombie Farts (2009)
Let me begin by making it clear that I am NOT one of those people who don’t like to say “I told you so.” Back in August, I wrote about the new digital sales formats that both Apple and major record labels are introducing in order to boost album sales.
One thing that most of the news articles about these new formats seem to overlook is how they will impact recording artists. The digital music format was not developed by the record industry. The MP3 was something that was forced upon them. In addition, the technology that is used to produce an MP3 is not proprietary to the recording industry.
This means that independent recording artists and small record labels can easily produce their own product and distribute it for sale through online stores. This will not be the case with Apple’s Cocktail and CMX. These formats will be owned by the record industry and artists who wish to use them to promote their albums will undoubtedly have to make deals with the major labels.
If these formats end up being something that consumers like (and that’s probably not likely), it will be a step back for independent recording artists and small labels. They will almost certainly be locked out of the game by the big boys.
Yesterday, John Herman wrote an article for tech and gadget blog Gizmodo that reveals Apple is in fact shutting indie artists out of the iTunes LP sales format:
With a higher price than regular albums, no lossless audio and virtually no device support, iTunes LP seems like a hard sell. Turns out, it might be lame for musicians too—at least, the ones without platinum records.
I spoke with Brian McKinney, who runs Chocolate Lab Records, a smallish label out of Chicago. As someone who actually makes records, he saw potential in iTunes LP, and after seeing how incredibly simple the actual LP files are, started looking into making some himself. It didn’t go so well:Continue reading…
I contacted the digital distribution manager at my label’s distributor. He had a conference call with an iTunes rep and asked how we go about putting an LP together. He was told that LPs aren’t being offered to indies and that there are only about 12 LPs being offered right now. They also said that iTunes charges a $10,000 production fee for them as well. So that pretty much edges out the indie market completely.
So, there you have it. I am still surprised that this wasn’t reported on much earlier. I know that my earlier blog post got quit a lot of traffic when it was published back in August. I was certain that someone who works with independent artists would raise this issue.
I didn’t take a genius to figure this one out. Oh, and global warming is real, too.
The new AlbumArtExchange Facebook page has been up for less than a week and it already had 100 fans. That’s pretty cool news. The Facebook page has lots of news and information that I just don’t have time to post on the blog. I can easily post links to things like links to other blogs and noteworthy album covers that have been posted to the AAX gallery.
It is shaping up to be a Michael Jackson Saturday here on the AAX blog. According to an announcement on MichaelJackson.com, a new single will be released on the website tomorrow. The announcement features a thumbnail image of the cover.
At the stroke of 12 a.m. (midnight) EST on October 12th, a never-before released song from Michael Jackson - a single entitled “This Is It” - will be unveiled to the world on www.MichaelJackson.com. “This Is It,” a brand new song, marks yet another exciting moment in music history for one of the world’s most revered artists; featuring backing vocals by Michael’s brothers The Jacksons, the song plays during the closing sequence of Sony Pictures’ forthcoming film MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT and is on the 2-disc CD set Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which is the stand-alone companion to the motion picture. The single artwork - a new photo of Michael taken recently at his Staples Center rehearsals - will also be disclosed.
According to a press release, a costume worn by Michael Jackson and featured on the Jackson 5 album Get It Together is up for bids on eBay. At the time of this writing, the high bid was $3,050! Bidding ends October 14 at 13:05:29 PDT.
The costume bears a tag showing it was made by Cotreneo Costumes of Hollywood for ” Mr. Mike”. The King Of Pop also signed the multi-colored costume. “Get It Together” was produced during the Jackson Five’s Motown “middle period” as they moved towards funky dance music, and showed how much 15-year-old Michael had grown and changed.
Condition of this item is good for its age. This shows some minor “ring around the collar” age, looks as if it wasn’t drycleaned after performance. There are at least four small holes on the upper back, one under the collar on the back, and two small ones on the pants. Pictures should show close-ups of stains and the holes.
The story on this item is: seller received this in the 1980’s as a gift from her son’s fiancee. The fiancee lived in Los Angeles at the time and worked in show business. We are also including the album cover, Sorry there is NO LP in the album, and the cover is in rough shape.
The cover for Canadian teen pop singer Justin Bieber’s forthcoming debut album My World was revealed on the artist’s website yesterday. Bieber rose to popularity on YouTube and subsequently signed a record contract with Island Records. The album is scheduled to be released on November 17.
I watched a few of Bieber’s videos and I have to say that I do not think the album does a good job of reflecting his personality. I imagine that a great deal of his success has to do with his pleasant, fun-loving attitude. The album cover photo makes him appear as if he has an attitude. The serious glare reminds me of River Phoenix. It is just a hunch, but I bet his teenage fans would have rather seen his smile on the cover.
AAX user cjmal gave me the tip that alternative rock band Fall Out Boy revealed the cover for their forthcoming greatest hits album yesterday. The album has been titled Believers Never Die and is scheduled for release on November 16 and 17 worldwide.
The cover features a morbid scene of a pair of skeletons who appear to have died while embracing and listening to LPs. It is a very nice illustration. However, skulls and skeletons are just too much of a rock music cliche. We’ve all seen it before.
UPDATE: AAX reader and friend has informed me that the cover is not the typical “rock music cliche” as I wrote earlier. It is a parody of two fossilized Neolithic era skeletons that were found near Mantova, Italy in 2007 (right).
The archeologist who led the dig was quoted by the AP as saying, “”As far as we know, it’s unique. Double burials from the Neolithic are unheard of, and these are even hugging.”
I’ve submitted another cover to Famous Albums Covers, the best fake album cover blog on the Internet. This time, I decided to create a creepy, Halloween type album cover. Check out all of the other fun “famous” album covers they have to offer.
Behind the Red Door is an Athens, Georgia alternative rock band formed in 2004 by twin brothers Jacob and Jared Marx. The band took their name from the 2003 movie starring Kiefer Sutherland and Kyra Sedgwick about a man dying of AIDS.
“Our music is very dark and we deal with issues of death, violence and injustice quite a bit,” said Jared Marx in a recent interview. “Our drummer Stacy (Roper) was diagnosed with HIV shortly after he joined the band and that was why we wanted to name the band after that particular movie. There’s some meaning there that is too painful to go into.”
Come Play with Us is the band’s third studio album and it has met with some positive reviews, especially in the Athens music scene. The video for the first single “Death Panels for Sarah Palin” went viral on YouTube last month.
“That is Jared and me on the album cover,” said Jacob during the same interview. “We were about six years old. The hallway and red door have been added in. But that’s how we looked back then. Don’t ask us to tell you which one is which. Even we can’t tell.”
I just bought the new Yello album Touch Yello this evening. It is the 17th studio album by the Swiss duo and it is simply amazing. I’ve listened to it three times from beginning to end and there’s not a bad track in the bunch.
The album cover is a very sophisticated black and white image of Yello performing on stage. Yello has always had very artistic and innovative album covers. This one is a little on the tame side. However, I like the way the photograph is composed. (I am including a “buy now” button for Amazon.com, but I do not know when this album will be released in the U.S.)
Eugene Mirman is a Russian-born American comedian, writer, and filmmaker who has recently released his sixth comedy album, God Is A Twelve-Year-Old Boy With Asperger’s.
The album cover and title got my attention, so I looked Mirman up on YouTube and found and interview in which he discusses the album.
Pop diva Lady Gaga recovered enough from her catfight with Madonna on SNL to reveal the cover for two albums today. The covers for The Fame Monster and The Fame Monster Monster Edition were posted on the artist’s website.
According to a tweet from Lady Gaga at, the photos were taken by Hedi Slimane.
Cy Coleman - The Spectacular And Definitive Piano Witchcraft Of Cy Coleman
Black Gold is the Brooklyn, New York duo of Eric Ronick and Than Luu. Both musicians had experience performing with several artists such as M. Ward, Ambulance Ltd., Rachael Yamagata, and Panic At The Disco. They formed Black Gold in early 2006.
The music video for their single Breakdown was posted on YouTube recently and I think it is worth a look. The cover for the album is a collage of Polaroids and glitter. I have seen several similar covers in recent months, so I’m not really blown away by it.
However, the photograph theme is carried over to the Breakdown video though some very clever stop motion animation. The album was released in February and is currently available though Amazon.com and iTunes.
The cover for Britney Spears’ forthcoming singles collection CD was revealed on Amazon.com yesterday. The design is clean and professional, but I am somewhat disappointed that it turned out to be so predictable. Frankly, some of the fan made covers I’ve seen over the past few months are more creative. I especially liked the one that used four singles covers and was rumored to be the official cover for several weeks (right).
Even though it is not one of my favorite covers, Madonna used an upcoming street artist for the cover of her latest compilation. This cover was playing it safe and that’s probably not the best way to sell albums when the competition is artists like Lady Gaga. The album is scheduled to be released on November 24.
John Lennon would have been 69 years old today. Let’s look back at the covers of a three of his notable solo albums. There are currently 35 John Lennon covers in the AAX gallery.
Mind Games (1973)
Walls and Bridges (1974)
Dead Man’s Bones is a unique musical collaboration between actor Ryan Gosling, his friend Zach Shields and the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir. The result is a very creepy album that’s being released just in time for Halloween.
The album cover features a photograph of the choir dressed in Halloween costumes. It has a very retro look to it. The costumes are all vintage — no Princess Leahs or Michael Jackson zombies. And, you have to check out both the website and MySpace page. The album will be released in the U.S. on October 20.
According to Chart Rigger, Jay Sean’s Down has replaced the Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling in the number one spot on the Billboard chart after their 26 week reign. Down is the debut single from Sean’s forthcoming third studio album All Or Nothing, which is scheduled to be released on November 24.
The cover for the single features the artist flexing his muscles and wearing a tight black tank top. It is basic, but undoubtedly targets a couple of specific audiences.
The cover art for the untitled ninth studio album by R, Kelly was recently revealed on Amazon.com. The cover features the controversial artist standing in front of a large mirror with a chandelier in the background.
There have rumours and fake covers for this album posted online for several months. This appears to be the official cover and final title for the album. It is scheduled to be released on November 10.
People have probably been taking cute photos of animals with a wide angle lens since the lens was invented and someone tested one out by taking a photo of the family pet. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that a few of these of photos have become album covers. One recent example is Dancing to the Devil’s Beat by The Strawbs. It reminded me of Domino by Squeeze, which was recently uploaded to the AAX gallery.
The Strawbs - Dancing to the Devil’s Beat (2009)
Squeeze - Domino (1999)
The EP will be released on October 13, prior to the 21st anniversary deluxe 3-disc edition reissue of The Innocents album (right) which is scheduled to drop on October 26th.
The free track is quite good and certainly worth downloading. You will not have to sign up for anything or give personal information in order to download the track. Just click the link on the Facebook page and you will be taken to the download page.
To visit Erasure’s Facebook page and download the free track, click here.
The cover for the EP features a bridal veil and a pocket watch. It is very fitting for the title song Phantom Bride.
As the singer/guitarist for the infamous rock band Baroness, John Baizley has toured the world over. Baroness has also released several critically acclaimed albums on the iconic Relapse label, home to Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Neurosis and countless others. As an artist, John has created the cover art for all the Baroness releases as well as many other classic albums, including “Flight Of The Chonchords,” Pig Destroyer’s “Phantom Limb” and “In Return” by Torche. John’s lush artwork shows the influence of two major artists - Pushead, through his morbid subject matter and fine-line penwork, and Alphonse Mucha, with the graceful manner in which his subjects are posed, and the Art Deco scenes in which they are set. The few available prints John has made, most culled from album art, or specially made tour-only posters have all been hopelessly sold out, resulting in a fanatic fanbase competing for the precious available works on sites such as Gigposters.com and ExpressoBeans.com - putting John in the same rabid collector conversation as Shepard Fairey, Emek, Aaron Horkey, and others.
November 2009 at the Metropolis Gallery will be John Baizley’s landmark debut solo show, and will for the first time contain original works. His solo show will be comprised of all-new pieces, unrelated to any band or album release. To be added to the preview list for this show, please contact Metropolis.
154 N. Prince Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking was the first solo album released by British musician Roger Waters following his split from Pink Floyd. It is a concept album about a man who fantasizes about an extramarital affair during a midlife crisis. The album is unique in that it takes place in real time during the early morning.
When it was released in 1984, the album was controversial due to a nude photograph of model Linzi Drew that appeared on the cover. Many retailers refused to stock the album without the bare bottom of the model being censored with a black bar (right).
Online retailers including Amazon.com and iTunes continue to use the censored cover to illustrate the product. This is due to the censored cover being supplied by the record label rather than a concern over the image. This image would hardly raise an eyebrow in 2009.
The cover below is from the 2000 remaster CD of the album. The color balance and saturation is slightly different from the original LP. The AAX gallery contains all three covers, the original uncensored version, the original censored version, and the uncensored remaster version.
Ever since the leak of a photo taken of Adam Lambert during the photo shoot for his forthcoming album (right), people have been speculating about the costume that the artist is wearing. Some people believe that he is made up to be some kind of glam astronaut.
An astronaut isn’t a bad guess. If you take into consideration the numerous albums that have used a space suit theme in the past, the odds a pretty good. Space exploration has been a popular theme on album covers for decades.
Probably the most controversial cover to feature astronauts was the the 1970 album by L.A. blues/rock band Canned Heat called Future Blues. The politically charged cover shows five astronauts planting an American flag on the moon upside down (a distress signal).
Probably the strangest cover with an astronaut theme is for a greatest hits album by pop diva Christina Aguilera. The photo shoot caused a buzz when it was reported that Aquilera was wearing a full space suit and carrying a toy ray gun. The cover ended up being just a shot of her wearing a space helmet.
Other notable covers with an astronaut them include Led Zeppelin’s Early Days, 18 by Moby and Happy Smiles by t.a.T.u. (which many fans assumed to be a joke when the cover was revealed).
Below are a few other examples of albums using a variation of the astronaut theme. There are probably over 50 popular album covers that feature a space suit. This is in no way a comprehensive listing. As always, you can click the images to see the large image in the AAX gallery.
If you have a favorite astronaut-themed album cover that is not mentioned here, add a comment to this article and let me know about it.
The album art for the forthcoming album of music from the Vatican featuring the voice of Pope Benedict XVI has been revealed. Alma Mater: Featuring The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI Deluxe Edition will be released on November 24, just in time for Christmas shopping.
Previously, I speculated on whether or not the album would bear the image of the Pope. The album has photography of St. Peter’s Basilica with some sun spot visual effects.
It is time for our weekly POLLpigeon poll to determine which of six preselected album covers are the best among new releases. This week, we have a very eclectic mix of genres. We have Backstreet Boys, Built to Spill, Lita Ford, Michael Bublé, Toby Keith and Tokio Hotel. It doesn’t get more diverse than that.
The votes are now final. The best album cover for the week September 29, 2009 is Kiss & Tell by Selena Gomez and The Scene. Brand New Eyes by Paramore was in second place. Celebration by Madonna was third.
I’ve already made it known that this is far from one of my favorite album covers. I think the gems in the shape of a heart on the artist’s lips looks kind of creepy. They look like cold sores to me. If they had simply used color, I would be okay with this look.
I will post a link to this week’s POLLpigeon poll later today. There are some interesting choices among the preselected new releases for this week.
Unlike many current soundtrack albums, the cover for Cirque du Freak is not simply a squared version of the movie poster (right). In fact, it is entirely unique. The album cover also omits the tagline “Meet Darren. He’s sixteen going on immortal” and the title is “The Vampire’s Assistant” rather than “Cirque du Freak” — which one would assume to be potentially confusing for consumers.
The film has an impressive cast that includes John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Willem DaFoe, Ken Watanabe (The Last Samuri), Orlando Jones (MADtv) and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock). I’m not sure that the world needs another vampire movie or TV show right now. But, the movie looks interesting with Hayek as a bearded woman and a vampire chimpanzee called a “vampaneze” (I’m not making that up). Perhaps they should have included the bearded Hayek and the fangy chimp on the cover of the soundtrack!
The latest album by rock band Breaking Benjamin is currently topping the iTunes chart. It was released last week to excellent reviews.
The album cover is somewhat trite. We’ve seen these x-ray shots numerous times on album covers, the most notable being The Altogether by Orbital (right). A skull are perhaps the most cliché object found on rock album covers. At least using an x-ray put a slightly different spin on it. There’s another recent x-ray album cover that features a razor blade inside a skull. I cant’ recall who the artist is for that one.
I found a music video on the band’s MySpace page that can be embedded. It is for I Will Not Bow, the second track on the album.
British pop singer Leona Lewis has revealed a very sexy glamour portrait as the cover of her forthcoming album Echo. The much anticipated follow up to her debut album is scheduled for release on November 17.
It is great to finally see a beautiful and sophisticated album cover following recent covers from Mariah Carey, Madonna, and Whitney Houston that fell short of showing the artists looking their best. Some will undoubtedly comment that the cover is heavily airbrushed. I feel that is simply part of the artistry. Bravo, Leona!
When I saw the cover for Amazing Grace by Spiritualized that was posted by AAX user Schwarzenegger today, I had another one of my album art déjà vu moments. The cover simply features a photograph of an arm. I knew that I had seen something very similar in recent weeks among the new releases. After searching for a few minutes, I found it — King Of Jeans by Pissed Jeans. In fact, the album was the subject of one of my WTF articles.
Pissed Jeans - King Of Jeans (2009)
Spiritualized - Amazing Grace (2003)
On April 20, 1985, a British pop rock band with an American lead singer hit number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 with Walking On Sunshine. Katrina and The Waves seemed to come out of nowhere and remained on the chart for nine consecutive weeks. The band’s album (right) was one of the top five in sales of the years.
Walking On Sunshine received considerable airplay and was one of those happy songs that everyone was humming. Unfortunately, the band was not able to top the success of what quickly became their signature song.
Katrina and The Waves are often mistakenly considered to be a “one hit wonder” band. They actually had two other songs that made the charts, Do You Want Crying in September 1985 and That’s The Way in August 1989.
AlbumArtExchange owner Scott has shared a cover scan of the 1985 12” vinyl single for Walking On Sunshine. In addition, a “super summer mix” was released with the tagline “For Most Fun, Play Outdoors” on the back of the cover (right). For those of you who are too young to remember vinyl records, that would not be easy to do.
As you can see, all three covers use a similar typographic design for the band’s name. This worked well for the light and happy pop sound of Walking On Sunshine. Unfortunately, it did not work as well for the band’s other material, which was a bit more sober. Do You Want Crying and Going Down To Liverpool are certainly not the kinds of tunes that work at a summer beach party. This is a good example of how album art can impact the image of a band and eventually their future success.
Amazon.com currently has a meter posted on their music store that compares the album sales of 2009 American Idol contestants, Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, and Allison Iraheta (right). Many of you will recall that Kris Allen won the competition even though Lambert was considered by many to be a sure bet.
I know that whenever I do a blog article about Adam Lambert, traffic increases dramatically. It has been reported that Lambert is outselling all other artists in presales.
The meter shows that Lambert is ahead of Allen and Iraheta by a wide margin. His album doesn’t even have a title and album art yet. I am certain that the release of the album art will cause a huge surge in traffic here on the AAX blog. It is safe to say that his is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. It is too bad that people who vote for American Idol aren’t required to do so with their wallets. If that were the case, Lambert would have won by a landslide.
Welsh rock band Stereophonics revealed the cover of their forthcoming album Keep Calm And Carry On online last week. The group also posted the first single Innocent on YouTube. The album is scheduled to be released in the U.K. on November 9 and will be available in the U.S. as an import through Amazon.com.
I think the album cover is very cool. It features the band sitting at a kitchen table and surrounded by a high tide. This shows how a simple concept that is professionally executed can achieve a great result. They simply took a table and chairs to the beach.
In an interview on the blog The Thought Vox, Langstroth spoke about the cover:
So many people thought I was crazy to use that picture for my album cover, and maybe I am, but at least it’s definitely what I wanted, and what I feel represents me. I would have been bored with just doing what everyone else is doing.
I don’t think Langstroth is crazy for using such a unique photo. The hand reaching out for her is just enough to make it interesting.
Shake My Hand by Southern California alternative rock band The Jakes was released over a year ago. So, it really isn’t a new album. It is, however, notable. I just listened to a few tracks and was very impressed with this band.
I’m not quite sure what’s going on in the illustration for the cover of this EP. It is a interesting composition. When you watch the video I’ve posted of The Jakes doing an acoustic performance of Cough Syrup, you will get a good idea of what the band is about. This album cover really doesn’t do that.
Jason Urick is an experimental musician from Baltimore. The cover of his album Husbands is simply a bad copy of the cover of John Lennon’s Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins album (right) with the faces of two men pasted on the nude bodies of Lennon and and his wife Yoko Ono.
I guess if your intent is to create a controversial album cover, it is best to use one of the most controversial covers of all time as a starting point. I’m not sure what Yoko Ono would think about this cover. She’s been known to be very protective of John Lennon’s image and artistic legacy.
In an interview on the website of his record label, Thrill Jockey Records, Urick explains his inspiration for the album title and cover:
The title Husbands is a tribute to the Cassevettes movie of the same name. I became pretty obsessed with the movie around the time of creating the first pieces for this record. The scene in which they are sitting around the table in a bar singing songs especially resonated with me. It was long, drawn out, uncomfortable, but ultimately beautiful and rewarding. While I wouldn’t say that it was an intentional influence on the record, it certainly seemed in-line with what I was doing.
The artwork is obviously a tribute to the John Lennon/Yoko Ono record.
German techno band Scooter released their 14th studio album yesterday. Under The Radar Over The Top was preceded by the single J’adore Hardcore (right) and a catchy music video.
The chorus of J’adore Hardcore is a sample of the 2002 song Chase The Sun by Planet Funk. I doubt that the song will catch on in the U.S., but the video is worth watching for the young couple dancing on a rooftop.
I really like the art direction behind this album. It is being released as a “VIP” box set and also as an alternate “Dark Side Edition” with extra tracks. The project was very nicely done.
The cover for Under The Radar Over The Top may look as if it were shot at an abandoned amusement park. The site is actually an artificial hill in Berlin called Teufelsberg (German for Devil’s Mountain). It was the location of a U.S. military listening station (shown in the photo) used to spy on the East Germans and Soviet Union. The site is considered to be a landmark and symbol of the Cold War that once divided the city.
Sometimes these album cover mash ups seem destined to come together. A few days ago, Morrissey revealed an album cover with a photograph that many people said looked as if the artist was smelling something foul. Today, I came across an album by actor and stand-up comedian Nick Swardson that I immediately recognized as the perfect mash up match for Morrissey.
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).
Alice in Chains released their album Black Gives Way To Blue this week. There is a promotional video for the album on YouTube in which the members of the band talk about the death of lead singer Layne Staley, working with Elton John on the title track, and the release of their first album since 1995.
The cover of the album features an anatomical illustration of a heart. Hearts are one of the most frequently used graphic elements on album covers. There are literally thousands of albums with covers that are very similar to this one. The only thing that is more of a cliche is a human skull. Skulls, hearts and butterflies are three things I always hate to see on an album cover — unless something innovative has been done with the design.
On October 5, 1991, the hip hop group Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with Good Vibrations. The song featured the vocals of disco diva Loleatta Holloway (whose name was misspelled on the cover of the single). It was the first of four singles from the group’s debut album Music for the People (right). The group was lead by Mark Wahlberg who went on to a successful acting career.
Loleatta Holloway did not record for the song. Her voice was sampled from her number one U.S. dance hit Love Sensation. The same song was sampled for Black Box’s 1989 song Ride On Time, which reached number one in the U.K.
Rapper 50 Cent revealed the cover for his forthcoming album Before I Self Destruct on Twitter earlier today. The cover which features the head of the artist exploding into flames from within was well received by fans. It has been reported that Madonna tweeted 50 Cent with a comment calling the cover scary.
The tweet also announced that the release date for the album has been set for November 17.
It has been several months since I’ve posted anything under the dreaded “Search for the Worst” category. This is the category reserved for album covers that I feel are destined to appear on “Worst Album Cover” lists for years to come.
The Real Feel by Seattle rock band Spiral Stairs is unquestionably that bad. It is perhaps one of the most disgusting album covers I have ever seen. The cover was designed by photographer Ashod Simonian, who writes on his blog:
I played on it and designed the packaging. Before the backlash begins, I should state that I love raccoons and I hate death. Death freaks me out. I also don’t condone pills though I have had the occasional recreational pill and have found them to be terribly awesome. I am a big fan of art and art as personal expression and I am also way into humor. I suppose you could add honesty and creativity and innovation to the list of things that I’ll stand behind as well. So step off.
So step off? No, I’m backing away slowly — like you do when you see a crazy person eating bugs and talking to himself. I don’t know why anyone would use a photograph of a dead raccoon as the cover of an album. No one is going to buy an album that is repulsive. It just doesn’t work that way.