I was browsing Amazon.com this evening and came across this listing for an import version of Justin Bieber's album My Worlds. It looks as if Amazon.com customer Ian Porter had a little fun at Bieber's expense by uploading a photograph of Weekly World News character Bat Boy as album cover art.
I think this is very appropriate for Halloween. Justin Bieber fans are free to share their outrage in the comments section.
The 1984 film Ghostbusters is a comedy about three ghost exterminators working in an increasingly haunted New York City. Written by co-stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, it was one of the most popular of that year and is on record as one of the biggest grossing in U.S. box office history.
The film's theme song, Ghostbusters, was written and performed by singer and songwriter Ray Parker, Jr. The chart topping hit has a place in pop culture history for sparking the popular catchphrases "Who you gonna call?" and "I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts".
The single (right) stayed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks earned Parker an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
The music video for Ghostbusters was a #1 MTV video. Directed by the film's director Ivan Reitman, the video integrated footage of the film intercut with images of Parker dancing around in a neon living room. The video also started the trend in music videos of featuring cameo appearances by celebrities. Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Nickolas Ashford, Melissa Gilbert, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, and Teri Garr are all shown throughout the production.
The covers for both the soundtrack and the Ghostbusters single feature the iconic Ghostbusters logo. Unfortunately, I was not able to discover who is responsible for creating the logo that shows a ghost popping through the international symbol for "no" by doing online research. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.
The logo has inspired countless imitations and parodies over the years. It is without a doubt one of the most recognizable symbols in pop culture. Everyone knows what it means and where it cames from.
The deluxe edition of Taylor Swift's album Speak Now is being sold exclusively at Target stores. The cover for the album has been changed, making Swift's dress the corporate colors of the retail chain.
The latest single from pop singer Katy Perry's album Teenage Dream is Firework. The music video for the song debuted yesterday.
The cover for the single is a photograph of Perry with her mouth hanging open and a look on her face that can best be described as dopey. I imagine that a similar expression will be seen on the faces of those watching the music video as fireworks begin shooting out of Perry's breasts.
Due Date is a road trip comedy starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis that is scheduled to be released on November 5, 2010. I am not a big fan of this film genre. They usually feature car accidents and mishaps peppered with bickering between misfit characters.
However, these types of films usually have very good soundtrack albums. Due Date is no exception in that regard. The album features tracks by artists such as Wolfmother, Billy Currington, and Band of Horses.
The album cover is a square version of the album cover. It features a photograph of Downey, Galifianakis and an unfortunate puppy in the Arizona desert. The soundtrack will be released on November 2.
I don't know why, but there are not very many new Halloween music releases this year. Last year, artists such as Alice Cooper released Halloween singles. Disney reissued their classic Haunted Mansion album. This year is coming up short when it comes to spooky sounds for a Halloween party.
There is a new continuous party mix from the Kidz Bop series (right). It includes covers of classic Halloween tunes such as Thriller and Monster Mash performed by children.
One of the most interesting new releases is an album that has a unique marketing gimmick. Going Gaga for the Lady Zombie by Halloween Music Freaks manages to work the words "Lady" and "Gaga" into the title of the album. It also has cover art that is much better than what is typically used for Halloween albums.
The album comes with eight tracks and two ringtones. The tracks are themed by horror genres, werewolves, zombies, aliens, etc. They are surprisingly good and definitely worth downloading if you need some spooky, industrial-sounding music for the holiday.
The album covers for the standard and deluxe versions of The Beginning, the forthcoming album from The Black Eyed Peas, have been revealed. Both are scheduled to be released on November 30, 2010.
The covers feature the group members rendered in simple video game pixel art. This is not the first time I have seen this concept used for an album cover. In spite of that, it is a very cute cover. I am sure that it will appeal to fans of the genre.
It will be interesting to see if this concept is carried over to the cover art for the various singles.
Pop singer Ke$ha has revealed the artwork for her forthcoming album Cannibal and for a deluxe version that will include her previous album Animal. Both are scheduled to be released on November 22, 2010.
The album covers feature Ke$ha's signature tacky arts and crafts glitter mess. The cover for the deluxe version also features staples going down the center of Ke$ha's face. Splicing two album covers together could be a clever concept. Unfortunately, the end result looks like Frankenstein's monster. It is one of the worst album covers of the year (right behind Christina Aquilera's Bionic).
The iTunes Free Single of the Week is Unexpected by Austrian soul singer Lylit. That's right. Lylit is an Austrian R&B and soul singer.
The cover art for the single features and portrait of the young, blond recording artist. When you listen to her sing, you will probably agree that the title of the single is quite appropriate. Lylit's voice is unexpected. She really does have soul.
Below are six album covers that were preselected from among this week's new music releases. They were chosen based on Amazon.com sales rank and for their noteworthy album cover designs. Please vote for the album cover that you think is the best of the bunch.
Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl - Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Acoustic Sessions)
Crowded House - The Very Very Best of Crowded House
A remastered version of Nine Inch Nails' 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2010 by by UMe and Bicycle Music Group. The album will have a "reimagined" version of the original album cover (right) by art director and photographer Gary Talpas.
The new version of the cover was created by NIN's current art director Rob Sheridan. It is a darker version of the original artwork, in muted steel gray tones rather than neon colors. It has also been rotated to eliminate the confusion about how the album cover should be displayed.
The original sleeve is a gatefold that includes the NIN logo that was designed by Talpas and an expanded view of the polarized photograph. I do not think the new cover can be considered to be improvement of the original. However, it will help consumers differentiate between the 2010 remaster and previous versions of the album.
According to our AlbumArtExchange Blog poll, the best album cover for the week of October 19, 2010 is Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon. The cover won with 34% of the vote. The self-titled album by Mt. Desolation was second with 21%. Liz Phair's Funside was in third place with 17%.
Brett Kilroe is credited as the art director for the project. Kilroe has a long list of credits for art direction and design for artists such as Dave Matthews, Velvet Revolver and Kelly Clarkson.
The cover art for the forthcoming Christmas album by the Glee Cast has been revealed. The album is scheduled to be released on November 16, 2010, three weeks before the season two Christmas episode of the TV series.
The album will feature 12 tracks performed by the cast members and a version of You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by k.d lang and Glee's Matthew Morrison. There is little doubt that this will be the top-selling holiday album of 2010.
Andy Partridge's Ape House record label has announced the reissue of XTC's 1986 album Skylarking as a vinyl double LP. The album is scheduled to be released on November 23, 2010.
The album will also include the original cover art that was banned by Virgin Records. Here is the story from the Ape House website:
The fantastic sounding forthcoming double vinyl release of XTC's SKYLARKING album is being pressed up right now and will soon be in your hands. You know of course that it's cover will be the original one? No, not the last minute drawing of the elysian type couple tooting on their flutes, nice as it was, I mean the ORIGINAL cover, the one that Virgin banned. Quick version goes like this. XTC had sleeve shoot with naked male and female models. Took mock up of sleeve to big store chains in London. They went all coy and said they would refuse to stock it, Virgin said that can't be sleeve. XTC had to find a last minute replacement. IE: the one you're familiar with. Till now.
I guess there's no point in speculating as to why the original cover was banned. From an artistic viewpoint, it is interesting. However, I can't imagine why anyone would expect a retail store to display it on their shelves. A retail store is not an art gallery.
I remember going to the import bin of my local record store in 1979 to buy the album Cut by British punk band the Slits. I was very disappointed to discover that the cover had been censored with stickers covering the breasts of the trio. Three black strips had been placed strategically in order to hide both nipples and cleavage. I no longer have the LP, but I have created a reasonable facsimile (right) of what it looked like.
Sadly, the Slits founding member and singer Ari Up (born Arianna Forster) passed away on Wednesday. Her death was announced on the website of her stepfather John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten). Lydon wrote that her death was the result of a long illness. News reports have since stated that the illness was cancer. She was only 48.
Ari Up was 17 when the album Cut was released. I am surprised that a cover showing the bare breasts of an underage girl was not more controversial. I have seen it appear in several "sexiest album covers" lists along with Roxy Music's Country Life and others that feature unclothed ladies.
The cover for the EP Fuzz by Ursula 1000 (a.k.a. Alex Gimeno) is one of my favorites of 2010. The EP was released on October 5, 2010 and is available on iTunes and from Amazon.com.
There is information about a picture disc version (right) on the Ursula 1000 website. You will also find a free download of a megamix of the EP. Unfortunately, I was not able able to find any credits for art direction and graphic design.
The EP includes four tracks. The first, Hey You!, features Fred Schneider of The B-52s and The Superions doing vocals. If you like the The B-52s, you'll like this track. It has a little Hawaii 5-0 theme and the classic disco "oo oah oo oah" sound in the mix.
The cover art is purple and green shag carpeting that has been used to create the title of the EP. It is brilliant in its simplicity.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about a 3D music video from Kelis and wondered if it was the beginning of a trend. Now, there is another 3D video from Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker featuring The Cool Kids for their single Jump Down.
The new Jackass 3D movie is a big hit in theaters right now. So, using 3D as a marketing gimmick is not a bad idea. Unfortunately, the only thing the Jump Down video has in common with Jackass 3D is Barker's tattoos. It consists of footage of Barker playing drums and The Cool Kids (who look more like middle-aged dudes to me) posing and making hand gestures. The cover art for the single isn't anything to write home about either.
Tangled is an upcoming 3D animated film from Walt Disney Studios and starring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. Scheduled for release on November 24, 2010, it will be the 50th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.
The story is based on the classic fairy tale Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. Original music was composed for the film by Alan Menken with lyrics written by Glenn Slater. The soundtrack will be released on November 16.
The cover for the soundtrack album features the main characters, Princess Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, wrapped in the princess' long blonde hair. It is a cropped version of the teaser poster for the film.
Nelson, led by twin brothers Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, have announced the forthcoming release of their new album Lightning Strikes Twice. The album is scheduled to be released in Europe on November 5, 2010, with dates for the U.S. and Asia to be announced.
The album is being described as a sequel to Nelson's multi-platinum debut album After the Rain (right). comes The release takes place on the 20th anniversary of their #1 hit (Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection.
The cover of the album features an illustration of a man standing in a storm with an umbrella. It is somewhat disappointing that the new album does not have a photograph of the twins. Since it is being marketed as a sequel to After the Rain, it would have been interesting to see a similar cover 20 years later.
After tweeting that the cover for his forthcoming album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (right) had been "banned in the U.S.A.", Kanye West has now revealed another cover that will be used for the album.
West has also stated that there will be five covers for the album, all created by artist George Condo. The cover that has is being used for online promotion features a ballet dancer with a moustache.
I am not certain that the ballet dancer can be described as beautiful or dark or twisted. As fantasies go, I think most people would describe a ballet dancer with facial hair as being freaky or bizarre or maybe even homoerotic.
Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy revealed the cover for her forthcoming album Endlessly on her official Facebook page today. The album is scheduled to be released on December 7, 2010.
The cover is a color photograph of Duffy, who is wearing a red sweater and a matching red ribbon in her hair. The cover almost looks like it is for a holiday album. The photographer was not credited in the Facebook post.
The iTunes Free Single of the Week is My Heart Skips a Beat by country duo The Secret Sisters. The single is from The Secret Sisters' self-titled album (right) that was released last week.
The photographs for both the covers of the album and the single were taken by popular music photographer Autumn de Wilde. The photographs do an excellent job of communicating the retro country sound of the duo.
De Wilde photographed the cover of Beck's album Sea Change. Her numerous subjects include Eels, Death Cab for Cutie, Willie Nelson, Tegan and Sara, and Fiona Apple.
Swedish pop singer-songwriter Robyn has revealed the cover for the third and final album of her Body Talk series. The album is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2010.
The cover features an interesting photo of Robyn with what appears to be a hanging sculpture or mobile surrounding her body. The image was probably created in Photoshop instead of being a real life photo. Several of the square elements appear in the image more than once.
Regardless of how the image was created, the final result is that Robyn looks like a giant disco ball. That is probably the desired effect. I especially like how the face has been rendered.
I just got a message from TiVo about a free service that is now part of my regular TiVo subscription. Pandora is an Internet radio service that is now available to TiVo users with TiVo HD, HD XL, Series3™, Premiere and Premiere XL boxes.
It only took a few minutes to set up Pandora on my TiVo and I was quite happy with how it works and looks. One of the things that I really liked seeing is that Pandora displays album art. Other services that I've seen do not include this feature.
Pandora allows users to set up radio stations based on the artists and styles of music that they like. To test the service, I created a station based on Pet Shop Boys. I then clicked the "thumbs up" button for a few songs that I liked and now Pandora has been serving up songs that I like for about 30 minutes.
My only complaint is that I would like the album art to be larger. There is a lot of wasted space on my TV screen and I would rather have it filled with the album cover than all of those blue pixels. At least Pandora gives me something to look at instead of just the artist name and song title. Being able to identify the album is a big plus.
Pop music blog Chart Rigger has tipped us off to a free download of Ke$ha's new single We R Who We R. The single will be available until noon tomorrow and requires that you add your email address to Ke$ha's mailing list.
The single is a 160 kbps MP3 that does not come with artwork. So, you will have to snag the cover from the AAX gallery if you want artwork for the music file. The file isn't tagged either. Oh, well. You get what you pay for, right?
Below are six album covers that were preselected from among this week's new music releases. They were chosen based on Amazon.com sales rank and for their noteworthy album cover designs. Please vote for the album cover that you think is the best of the bunch.
George Harrison's 1970 solo debut, All Things Must Pass, will soon be released in a limited edition, numbered 180-gram vinyl set in its original three-LP configuration. The album is scheduled to be released on November 26, 2010.
Newly remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the deluxe vinyl reissue commemorates the album's 40th anniversary and will be available exclusively at Record Store Day-participating independent music retailers and at www.georgeharrison.com. The album will feature faithfully replicated original album art, a poster, and lift-top box packaging. It will also be available as a high-quality digital download.
According to our AlbumArtExchange poll, the best album cover for the week of October 12, 2010 is Metallic Spheres by The Orb featuring David Gilmour. The album cover took first place with 31% of the vote. Railroad Earth's self-titled album was second with 25% and I Am Not a Human Being by Lil Wayne came in third with 19% of the votes.
The winning cover was designed by Simon Ghahary, a loudspeaker designer and artist who has collaborated with The Orb in the past. According to David Gilmour's website, the artist's royalties will be donated to help fight the extradiction to the United States of accused hacker Gary McKinnon. McKinnon has been accused of what may be considered to be the biggest military computer hack of all time.
Check back later this evening to vote for your favorite album cover from among this week's new music releases. There will be a cover by the legendary rock photographer Annie Leibovitz and a couple of fun surprises.
British pop group Take That revealed the cover for their forthcoming album Progress on their official website today. The album is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2010.
The cover features an interpretation of the classic textbook illustration the Ascent of Man. Over the years, there have been several album covers based on the chart that shows an ape evolving into a man walking upright. The one that comes first to my mind is the 1985 Supertramp album Brother Where You Bound (right).
The Take That album features images that represent the members of the group, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams. (Do not expect me to identify the order in which they appear.) Rather than evolving from an ape, the "progress" shown on this cover seems to be a spiritual evolution. It puts a slightly new spin on a concept that we've seen before.
My friend Jerry Hopkins recently sent me a copy of the album that he recently released on Korean music label Big Pink Music. The album, Songs from the Heart, features songs that Jerry recorded in the late 1960s with his late twin brother Jay when they performed as the singing duo Twinn Connexion.
When Jerry let me know that he was sending me a CD, I had no idea that I would receive a collectible mini LP or paper sleeve CD. The packaging was designed to simulate a 12" LP and includes a booklet with lyrics and liner notes, a color photo insert, and an inner sleeve. This type of packaging is very hot in Japan right now. It also came with what is known an "obi strip" (not pictured) that is intended to display the Korean, Japanese, or other language text for the country where the CD is distributed.
What impressed me most about this CD package is the quality of the components. The print quality is excellent. There were no annoying defects or printing errors.
Most mini LPs that are in distribution are miniature recreations of vintage LPs. They have become a popular item for collectors and many examples can be found in the AAX gallery. Songs from the Heart is different because it is a new release comprised of songs that were recorded during the era of the LP. I think that packaging it as a mini LP is a perfect concept.
The album is already being sold as a collectible on eBay. I hope that this is the first of many miniature CDs that are aimed at collectors of rare recordings.
It looks like Kanye West is getting quite a bit of publicity from his claim over the weekend that the cover for his forthcoming album was banned. It is one of the hottest stories on music and entertainment blogs today.
In his numerous tweets about the album cover yesterday, West complained that there were album covers in the 1970s that featured nudity. However, West doesn't seem to realize that most of those album covers were either censored at the request of retailers by placing them in plain brown wrappers or by having stickers placed on the offending parts of the cover.
Two Virgins: Untitled Music No. 1, the 1968 experimental album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (above right) is an excellent example. While the album cover that features Lennon and Ono in full frontal nudity is commonly displayed online today, it was not displayed in retail stores when it was released.
In fact, entire shipments of the album were seized by authorities as obscene material in several US jurisdictions. It was one of several album covers by Lennon and The Beatles that were censored over the years. There is very little risk of Kanye West having the same experience as Lennon and Ono.
West's record label has clarified that the album cover was not banned. They simply suggested that it be changed in order to prevent retailers like Walmart from refusing to display the album face out on store shelves.
I think that West should use the cover and place it in a brown wrapper similar to the one used for the classic Two Virgins album. It could look something like the image below. It would also be a fitting tribute to John Lennon and the countless other artists who have had their album covers censored in the past.
Less that an hour ago, Kanye West revealed the cover for his forthcoming album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy via Twitter. According to the tweet, the cover has been banned in the USA.
The cover features an illustration of two nude demonic-looking characters. One is assumed to be West and the other is the "Phoenix" he referred to in his tweet. The album is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2010. I guess we'll have to wait and see whether or not this will end up being the official cover.
I wonder how the folks at Arm & Hammer feel about the cover rapper Z-Ro's forthcoming album Cocaine Chopped & Screwed. This is not the first time that I have seen a real product on the cover of an album. However, this is probably the most negative representation I've ever seen.
The album is scheduled to be released on December 31, 2010. I wonder if this will end up being the final cover.
Hip hop artist Kid Cudi revealed the cover of his forthcoming album Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager on his Facebook page today. The album is scheduled to be released on November 9, 2010.
The cover features the artist sitting in a chair looking rather dejected. I am not sure if that is a gun in his hand or what. Is this a contemplation of suicide? The image leaves me feeling rather depressed.
The cover has been artificially aged, which is has been a trend for a couple of years. I do not think the cracks, folds and scratches add anything to the image. Also, the designer went nuts with the lens flare tool and created some kind of star field for the background. It is either a field of stars or a very big Christmas tree. Meh.
After at least a half dozen fakes and fan-made covers have appeared on blogs and music websites, the official cover for Nicki Minaj's forthcoming album Pink Friday has been revealed. The album is scheduled to be released on November 23, 2010.
Of course, the color scheme of the album is pink. That's no surprise. However, I did not expect Minaj to appear on the cover looking more like drag superstar RuPaul (right) than herself.
To be more accurate, Minaj looks like the Barbie version of RuPaul that appeared on his covers a few years ago. So, she really looks more like a plastic drag queen doll. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It is simply unexpected.
I like both the concept and execution of this album cover. I am just not sure it is something that will have broad appeal. The pink wig, pink boots, and the campy expression on Minaj's face tell me that this is an album aimed at the Lady Gaga market.
The Social Network is a film about the founding of the Internet social networking website Facebook. The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin was adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires. It is currently playing in theaters.
The soundtrack for the film (right) was composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Prior to the September 28 release of the album, a free five-track EP was made available for download. The sample can be obtained from a special webpage on the Null Corporation website by adding an email address to a mailing list.
The Beatles' song Baby, You're a Rich Man was used to conclude the film. However, the song does not appear on the soundtrack. Also missing from the soundtrack is the song heard in the trailers and TV ads to promote the film.
A cover of Radiohead's Creep performed by Scala & Kolacny Brothers, a Belgian girls' choir conducted by Stijn Kolacny, has been assumed to be part of the soundtrack by quite a few people.
The song was quickly made available as a digital single. However, the cover art that was used is from Scala & Kolacny Brothers' 2010 album Circle (below left). Creep was actually released on the group's 2002 album On the Rocks (below right). Confused?
This is a great example of a record label being too cheap to create a cover for a single. So, now we have cover art for the Creep single that really is the cover for an album on which the song doesn't even appear. To top it off, live versions of Creep appears on a couple of other Scala & Kolacny Brothers albums with similar titles.
I hate having music in my collection that has incorrect cover art. That is even true of artwork that is released by the record label. Even though I am not big on fan-created cover art, I just had to create my own cover for the Creep single. It took all of ten minutes. Feel free to use it for your own download of the song.
These déjà vu moments are beginning to come in groups of three. This one is one of those times when it seems a little bit more like a deliberate copy than a coincidence. The cover of Wake Up! by John Legend and The Roots and the cover of GLC's Love, Life & Loyalty are virtually identical.
The first single from Annie Lennox's forthcoming album A Christmas Cornucopia (right) is Universal Child, which was released worldwide on iTunes this week.
The royalties from the sale of Universal Child will be donated to The Annie Lennox Foundation, in order to raise money for projects supporting and educating women and children in Africa with HIV/AIDS.
Sadly, the cover art for the single that is being distributed by iTunes is very bad. It is full of JPEG artifacts and the top of the image has been cropped off. Hopefully, a better image will be uploaded to the gallery in the near future.
A Christmas Cornucopia is scheduled to be released on November 15, 2010.
The cover art for both the deluxe and standard editions of reggaeton artist Don Omar's forthcoming compilation album Meet the Orphans has been revealed. Both versions are scheduled to be released on November 2, 2010.
The cover for the standard version (right) features Omar and the contributing artists standing in what appears to be a ruined cathedral. It is a very interesting cover with an eerie feel. The image is tinted a warm sepia tone.
The cover for the deluxe edition features the men in a different pose, with Omar in the center position. The color has been changed from sepia to a steel gray. The only thing I don't like about it is the lens flare that has been applied to the typography.
Cheryl Cole has revealed the cover for her forthcoming album Messy Little Raindrops. The album is scheduled to be released on November 9, 2010.
One blogger wrote that Cole's cover is the worst of 2010. Another raved that Cole has never looked more beautiful. My opinion is a little more middle-of-the-road.
Certainly, the cover of Cole's last album, 3 Words, was vastly superior to this one. The photography was better and so was the styling. Based on the cover alone, the title of Cole's new album should be Ugly Little Boots. Those studded, animal print boots are the main focus of the image.
However, the boots aren't the only thing wrong with this album cover. Cole is wearing a dress that looks like a Project Runway loser. The worst thing is the little upskirt peek-a-boo action going on between Cole's legs. On top of that, the graphic designer has applied an amateurish motion blur to the image. This effect only works with race cars and horses.
Cheryl Cole is a beautiful woman. If an art director can't produce an amazing album cover that takes advantage of that, he or she needs to go back to creating ads for Payless shoes (which is exactly what this album cover looks like).
Stereo Stack is a fun and simple website that displays vintage LP stereo banners. It is one of several creative online promotional projects created by Jive Time Records in Seatlle, Washington.
Sadly, I recently read at the popular blog Joe.My.God. that Medium Rare Music in San Francisco may be closing soon. A "For Lease" sign is now displayed over the storefront (right). So, it is great to see a record store doing such innovative promotions to attract customers.
Don't Look Now by Far East Movement featuring Keri Hilson sounds a lot like Livvi Franc's Now I'm That Bitch. The single is from the group's current album Free Wired (right).
Like the Livvi Franc song, Don't Look Now is a story about a romantic relationship. It just doesn't have the unhappy ending or the same quality of vocals. Auto-Tune has been stretched to its irritating limit.
I like the cover art that has been created for this project. There are a few different versions of the album cover floating around the Internet. They all feature strong neon type effects and a photograph of the group.
The cover for the single also features a photograph of the group. It is a good choice for an iTunes Free Single of the Week. It will give millions of people who are not familiar with Far East Movement an idea of who they are and what they look like.
I just read a post on Twitter and discovered that rapper Lil Wayne is wearing a designer t-shirt that bears lyrics from the song Hand in Glove by The Smiths (right) on his latest album cover.
The shirt can be seen underneath a coat worn by Lil Wayne on the cover of I Am Not a Human Being, which was released today.
The shirt was designed by Marc Hundley as a tribute to The Smiths' Hand in Glove. It features fluorescent lyrics screen printed on a white 100% cotton t-shirt. It is available in unisex sizing from online retailer Open Ceremony for $60.
Hand in Glove was The Smiths' first single. It was written by The Smiths singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr and released in 1983 . The cover for the single is noteworthy because it featured a photograph of a naked man with his back to the camera by gay photographer Jim French (a.k.a Rip Colt). I wonder if Lil Wayne knows any of this.
Below are six album covers that were preselected from this week's new music releases. They were chosen based on Amazon.com sales rank and for their noteworthy album cover design. Please vote for the album cover that you believe is the best of the bunch.
According to our AlbumArtExchange Blog poll, the best album cover for the week of October 5, 2010 is Double Fantasy Stripped Down by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The cover received 30% of the vote. Doo-Wops & Hooligans by Bruno Mars was second with 25% and Easy Wonderful by Guster was third with 15%.
The cover art for the winner is a sketch by Sean Ono Lennon that recreates the photograph by Kishin Shinoyama that appeared on the 1980 Double Fantasy album by Lennon and Ono.
Check back this evening to vote on the best album cover from among this week's new music releases. There will be album covers from artists such as Belle & Sebastian, Lil Wayne, and The Orb featuring David Gilmour.
Parlophone has posted a short teaser for Together, the forthcoming single by Pet Shop Boys, on YouTube. The single will be released on November 29, 2010. It will also be included on the new greatest hits compilation Ultimate Pet Shop Boys (right).
The 2-CD collection will include 19 of the duo's biggest hits, including West End Girls, It's A Sin, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Domino Dancing, Go West, Se A Vida, New York City Boy, Home And Dry, Love Etc., and the newly recorded single. A special edition version with a bonus DVD of previously unreleased performances from the BBC and a 2010 live performance at Glastonbury will also be available.
The the Together single is being released as two CDs. I assume that the cover art for the second CD will likely be similar to the one shown below, except with a different gradient behind the type.
German synthpop band Alphaville is back with a new album called Catching Rays on Giant (below). It is scheduled to be released on November 19, 2010. It will be the band's 10th studio album.
I Die for You Today (right) is the album's first single. It will be released on October 22. Several remixes have already been posted on YouTube.
The covers for both the album and the single are great. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a credit for the artist. The band's website is one of those Flash site's that looks pretty but is impossible to navigate. If anyone has more patience, please feel free to do some research and let me know.
My favorite version of the single sounds as if it may include a Madonna sample. However, I am not really sure about that. You can give it a listen below.
Earlier this year, Kelis released the single 4th of July (Fireworks). So, I assume that her latest single is supposed to be a Halloween hit. The cover art for Scream (below) should make that obvious.
I wrote about the music video recently released for the single a few days ago. It was filmed in 3D. However, it doesn't contain anything related to horror movies. The scariest thing about it is gratuitous footage of Kelis jogging, with her breasts bouncing in slow motion.
The cover art for Scream features a photograph of Kelis with what looks like something a high school art student copied from Gray's Anatomy applied to it. It isn't over-the-top enough to be campy and it isn't scary enough to be taken seriously. It is definitely a WTF?! moment for me.
Gimme Some Truth is a new 4-CD collection of John Lennon's music featuring 72 tracks divided into themed collections: Borrowed Time: Life Lessons; Roots: The Rock 'n' Roll Beginnings; Working Class Hero: The Polotical Side; and Woman: Love Songs.
The slipcase box includes liner notes outlining the four themes by music journalist Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone. The booklet also features photos, drawings, and hand-written lyrics. The promotional video below displays the various features of the Gimme Some Truth package as well as several others that were released to commemorate Lennon's 40th birthday.
The album cover photograph was taken by the famous rock photographer Iain MacMillan and the art direction is credited to Yoko Ono. It also features a version of the drawing Power to the People by John Lennon.
When his album with wife Yoko Ono Some Time in New York City was released in 1972, John Lennon had already experienced the censorship of two album covers by retailers. The first was The Beatles album Yesterday and Today which was puled from shelves and given a new cover when retailers complained about the use of raw meat on the original cover. The second was the cover for the 1968 Lennon and Ono album Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, which featured a photograph of the couple in full frontal nudity. The Two Virgins album was ruled to be obscene material in several jusridictions and copies were impounded.
The album cover was mocked up to look like the frontpage of the New York Times, with outrageous headlines and photos. This is a concept that has been imitated many times over the years, most notably by Guns N' Roses for their 1990 album Lies. The Guns N' Rose cover was also censored, with two objectionable headlines changed.
Some Time is New York City has a cover that was obviously intended to be censored. There are several elements that made it shocking for its time, the most controversal being a fake photo of Richard Nixon dancing naked with Mao Zedong. The album cover also featured the title of the song Woman is the Nigger of the World and a cartoon image of a bare breasted woman being eviserated.
As could have been expected, many retailers censored the objectionable portions of the album cover by pasting stickers on it. Unfortunately, many of them used stickers that could not be removed and the covers were permanently damaged.
In an interview with Playboy magazine that is recounted in David Sheff's book All We are Saying, Lennon expressed his outrage over his album covers being censored:
You see how they banned the picture here. [He points to a gold seal pasted onto a corner of the album.] Yoko made this beautiful poster. Chairman Mao and Richard Nixon dancing naked together, you see? And the stupid retailers stuck a gold sticker over it that you can't even steam off. At least you could steam off that Beatles cover. So you see the kind of pressure Yoko and I were getting, not only on a personal level, and the public level, and the court case, and the fucking government, and this, that, and the other, but every time we tried to express ourselves, they would ban it, would cover it up, would censor it.
The cover shown below is from the new remastered version of the album that was released to commemorate what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday.
Released in 1971, John Lennon's second solo album Imagine is considered to be his most popular album after The Beatles. The album was listed by Rolling Stone magazine as #76 in their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The title track became Lennon's signature song and has endured as one of the most important anti-war songs ever recorded. The album also contains the fan favorites How? and Jealous Guy.
The album cover for Imagine was designed by Lennon's wife Yoko Ono. The version posted below is from the new remastered version of the album. The color differs slightly from scans of covers from earlier releases, but Ono closely oversaw the new releases that commemorate Lennon's 70th birthday.
Today would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. The rock legend and political activist was assassinated on December 8, 1980.
Lennon was one of the founding members of The Beatles. He and Paul McCartney are perhaps the most successful songwriting team of the 20th century. In addition to his work with The Beatles, Lennon recorded 13 albums and 31 singles.
Photo Credit: Iain Macmillan (C) Yoko Ono
To commemorate Lennon's birthday, all of today's blog articles will be about Lennon and his albums.
Tomorrow would be the 70th birthday of the late John Lennon. There are many celebrations planned to remember the legendary musician. For example, all of the posts on this blog will be dedicated to Lennon's work, including the release of his remastered albums.
Google got the jump on everyone today by replacing their Google logo with a John Lennon Google doodle. A YouTube video featuring an animated version of the doodle was posted earlier this week.
Jackass 3D opens in theaters on October 15, 2010. The soundtrack for the third movie in the series based on the MTV television series is scheduled to be released on October 25.
The soundtrack features an eclectic mix of tracks by artists such as Weezer, Karen O, Twisted Sister, and Roger Miller. The cover art is a basic black and white graphic that includes the Jackass skull and crossbones logo. Like the stars of Jackass, the logo is getting a bit old and tired. I am certainly not looking forward to Jackass 6, in which a 50-something Johnny Knoxville get punched below his hernia belt.
The cover and title for the forthcoming album by American Idol Lee DeWyze was revealed online today. Live It Up is scheduled to be released on November 16, 2010.
The cover features a surprisingly unflattering photograph of DeWyze. His arms are crossed and his shoulders are hunched over. Half of his face is in shadow. The background looks like the side of an old farm building. This cover could be appropriate for a country music album. In any case, it is nothing to write home about.
The cover of Joan Osborne's 1995 hit One of Us by the Glee Cast (right) is quickly moving up the charts this week. It was featured in the the recent episode and has been discovered by a new generation of fans. With Glee shattering the Billboard record set by The Beatles this week, having a song covered by the cast is something that many singers and songwriters would appreciate.
Many Gleeks who are too young to remember the original version have discovered the music video on YouTube and are making comparisons between the two versions.
The song was originally released in March 1995 on Osborne's second album, Relish. It received Grammy nominations in 1996 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. In January 1996, it charted in the top 10, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album cover for Relish is a collage illustration created by Osborne and Chris Thompson. The cover has a certain naive quality that worked quite well with the alternative sound of the album.
Two alien visitors from the planet Erotulak have filed a lawsuit in a California Superior Court against pop music superstar Madonna over a photograph that was used for her 2003 EP Remixed & Revisted (below). This is the third case involving a dispute over permission to use the likeness of a private individual on an album cover this year.
The aliens, Glorp and Gleep, are shown strolling in the background of the photograph in question as Madonna glances over her shoulder. Apparently, the visitors from the largely unknown planet in a neighboring gallaxy were not aware that they had been photographed. They discovered the album cover when a copy of the album was delivered to Erotulak in an Amazon.com order that took seven years to travel to the distant world.
The case is being handled by popular entertainment and civil rights attorney Gloria Allred.
"My clients may be aliens who arrived on this planet illegally," said Allred at a press conference in Century City, California. "But they have rights just like everyone else. They were exploited by Madonna and the music industry. We will see justice for Glorp and Gleep and all aliens currently being exploited in the United States."
Madonna and her attorneys refused to comment on the pending lawsuit.
Yesterday, pop singer P!nk revealed the cover for her forthcoming album Greatest Hits... So Far!!! on her official website. The album is scheduled to be released on November 16, 2010.
The album cover (below) features and black and white photograph of P!nk with her name appearing as a bright pink (of course) transparent overlay. Unfortunately, the album cover is inferior to that of P!nk's new single Raise Your Glass (right). The covers for the album and the single should have been swapped. The cover for the single features a color photograph and the typography is much more dynamic.
The good thing is that both covers have been designed to look as if they belong to the same project. However, the album cover looks cheap compared to that of the single.
Today, R&B singer-songwriter Kelis posted a 3D music video for her song Scream on her official website and on YouTube. The song is from her current album Flesh Tone, which was released in May 2010.
This is the first 3D music video that I can think of from a major recording artist. There have probably been others, but it is an interesting gimmick nonetheless. If you have a pair of red/blue 3D glasses, the video is worth checking out.
Below are six album covers that were preselected from among this week's new music releases. They were chosen based on Amazon.com sales rank and for their noteworthy album cover designs. Please vote for the cover that you feel is the best of the bunch.
My Chemical Romance revealed the cover for their forthcoming album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys on their official website yesterday. The album is scheduled to be released on November 22, 2010.
The cover features a rather ordinary-looking snapshot of what appears to be the California desert with a spider graphic superimposed on it. I am not impressed. U2 set the standard when it comes to using desert photography as album art with The Joshua Tree. This cover is just kind of ugly and faux cool.
According to our AlbumArtExchange Blog poll, the best album cover for the week of September 28, 2010 is for Record Collection by Mark Ronson and The Business International. The cover won with 39% of the vote. History of Modern by OMD and Neil Young's Le Noise tied for second place with 22% each. Clapton by Eric Clapton was a distant third with 9%.
I am not surprised this album cover was selected as the winner by album art fans. It features several different record covers to create the design. The project was directed by Gerald Saint of Big Active with design by Mat Maitland, Jasper Goodall, Will Sweeney, Jesse Auersalo, Parra and Markus Karlsson.
Check back this evening to vote on the best album cover from this week's collection of new music releases. It includes a sketch by Sean Lennon, KT Tunstall's idea of a "tiger suit", a retro cover from Bruno Mars and three other interesting covers.
The RockPop Gallery blog has just posted an interview with artist/illustrator John Lorenzi about the making of the cover for Megadeth's 2007 album United Abominations. It is an excellent account of how the Lorenzi came to create the cover and the creative process involved.
Founded by Mike Goldstein, the Portland, Oregon-based RockPop Gallery showcases the best artistic and photographic talent from all areas of today's music industry. Their ongoing series of interviews are intended to give ;the music and art fan, an inside look at the making of the illustrations, photographs and designs of many of the industry's most-recognized and influential images.
UnCovered Interview - John Lorenzi and the making of the cover for Megadeth's United Abominationsalbum
Subject - the making of the cover of the Megadeth album titled United Abominations, released in 2007 on RoadRunner Records.
As it is true in most of the careers of "creative types" - the folks that rely on whatever it is inside them that makes them want to devote themselves to making things (art, music, literature, etc.) that somehow stimulate others - sometimes, you just need a break to be discovered and for your career to get some sort of a boost. Not that that break will necessarily lead to fame, riches and the adoration of the masses...sometimes, it just serves to introduce you to a patron or two and helps kick-start your fan base to some degree. From there, it usually just takes a tireless work ethic, marketing savvy and gobs of luck before you can have a life-long career doing what you're passionate about.
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine has long shown a flair for invention, both in his music and how his musical efforts are promoted visually. In a song ("Skull Beneath The Skin") from their first record release in 1985, Mustaine describes a character - a macabre manifestation of "See/Hear/Speak No Evil" - who he then realized in an initial sketch he did (and then worked with a series of artists over the years to recreate to fit applications including album cover art, merchandise, music video/stage props, etc.). And, like other examples of iconic rock images done before and since, each artist's interpretation of Mr. Rattlehead would reflect - some more successfully than others (according to fans/critics) - the status of both the band's music, internal politics and the state of the world in which Vic "lived". In some cases, it seems clear that even a guy with all of his facial orifices sealed shut just can't get a break.
In the case highlighted here though - that of artist/illustrator John Lorenzi - his own break came as the result of an almost-first-place (!!) finish in a contest to redesign an iconic image - that of Vic Rattlehead - where he just hoped to gain a little notice and, perhaps, win a guitar for his kid...
Hot on the heels of the success of his single Fuck You, Cee Lo Green has revealed the cover for his forthcoming album The Lady Killer. The album is scheduled to be released on November 9, 2010.
The cover has a familiar look to it. It show Green wearing a pair of oversized sunglesses, similar to the cover of his 2004 album Cee Lo Green is the Soul Machine. It has a retro Barry White vibe going for it. We saw the same kind of image on the cover of the recent Rick Ross album.
However, the font used on the cover is a pink script with a 1950s vintage look. It definitely is not what ine would find on a hip hop album. It is clear that this album is going in a different direction.
AlbumArtExchange.com user Jeff72 tipped me off about a new UK electronic duo that is generating a lot of attention by keeping their faces hidden. Their forthcoming self-titled debut album (right) is scheduled to be released in the UK on January 24, 2011.
The duo's single Love Get Out of My Way was released in the UK on August 30 and a promo video has been posted on YouTube. As with the album cover and the cover of the single, the duo's faces are not shown in the video. Instead, the video features characters wearing masks. This looks as if it is going to be an ongoing PR gimmick.
Those who choose to follow Monarchy's Facebook page by clicking the like button will receive a free download of another single called The Phoenix Alive. It is a 320 kbps high quality MP3 that is definitely worth downloading.
McCandless said in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles that he never gave permission for Dido to use the photograph that shows him "free flying" about 320 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger...The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment and Getty Images Inc. McCandless said in the complaint that Sony was informed as early as June of last year that the use his image was unauthorized.
In 1962, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, became the first animated holiday special ever produced specifically for television. It ran on TV during the holiday season for many years and became a favorite of several generations along with other animated classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
On November 2, 2010, the soundtrack for the program will be made available through Vivendi Entertainment as a digital album. One of my favorite musical numbers from the show is We're Despicable (Plunderer's March), which includes the memorable lyric, "We're rep-re-hensible. We'll steal your pen-and-pencible." Check it out in the video posted below.
The album has been given fresh new cover art that features Mr. Magoo and the Tiny Tim character from the cartoon. The program is available on DVD and for download on iTunes.
The musical Burlesque starring Cher and Christina Aguilera is scheduled to premiere on November 24, 2010. It is too bad that it won't be released before Halloween, because it looks like a film that would inspire quite a few drag costumes.
The soundtrack will be released a week before the premiere on November 16. I think it is safe to predict it will be a big seller. With the faces of two pop music superstars on the cover, how could it go wrong?
The cover art is a square version of the movie poster. In this particular case, it would be a mistake to do otherwise. This is going to be an iconic image that will be part of pop culture for many years.
Famous Album Covers is a fun collaborative blog that I have been contributing to for many months. It features fictional album covers by fictional bands and often fictional stories about them.
My latest creation uses an acid-washed stencil font like those that have been popping up on a lot of recent album covers, particularly the various ICON greatest hits collections (right).
I also wanted to follow the trend of using scans of old family snapshots and amateur photos as album art. So, I used a scan of a my late mother in a photo booth with a friend that was taken in the 1950s. Mom was the blonde on the right. I imagined that it was the kind of photo girls would send to their boyfriends who were away at war.
I like making up stories that are almost believable and based on real artists. You'll have to guess who inspired the fictional artist Ellen Townsend. You can click the image for a larger view.
Ellen Townsend (born August 16, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Townsend was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. A musical prodigy, she learned to play guitar by the age of 10. Her formative years were spent in the small town of Clarinda, Iowa, where she began performing in a bar owned by her stepfather. Her first public concert was at age 15 at the University of Iowa campus. Townsend cites Joni Mitchell as a primary influence on her music, and her initial recordings reflect that.
Townsend began working in the music scene professionally in the late 1970s. She moved to New York City in 1983, where she became involved with the Fast Folk cooperative in Greenwich Village. She has recorded 10 studio albums.
Released in August 2010, her most recent album, Missing You, is being called the best of her career by many top music critics. The title track was used for the theme of the TV series Deadly Little Bitches and has reached #4 on the pop music chart.
Famous Album Covers accepts submissions. If you're inspired to create a fictional album cover and a short story to go along with it, feel free to drop them a message.