One of my favorite album covers of 2010 is Now or Never by R&B singer and songwriter Tank. The tightly cropped photographic portrait of the shirtless artist sporting a scruffy beard is unusually sensual for a male artist. It appears that fellow R&B singer Usher is attempting something similar with the cover of his forthcoming album, Looking 4 Myself.
While the two covers share a similar concept, they clearly demonstrate what causes one to have a great deal more impact. The first flaw in the Usher cover is the tank top that can be seen in his portrait. It would have much better if the photographer had simply had him take it off. It really interferes with the composition. The second problem is the flat contrast. The third and most important issue is the lack of expression on Usher's face. In this case, there is absolutely no question about which one did it best.