I previously blogged about New Zealand band The Naked and Famous back in March, when I hope you all grabbed your free single of the week, Young Blood from their 2010 album Passive Me, Aggressive You (right). The video for The Sun, the fifth single from the album, featuring male and female nudity and slow motion sex scenes, was banned yesterday by YouTube for being too explicit.
Seriously, I’ve seen far more on family-friendly teen-loving prime-time True Blood. Not that I’m complaining, but where do you draw the line between art and being banned. Is this video (below) any worse than a Salvador Dali nude sketch, or any album depicting tasteful nudity. I mean seriously YouTube, unless I was a spotty-nosed adolescent teen boy deviously using the mouse to pause the video, I wouldn’t even see anything anyway! [I bet they'll all try and pause the video now - Ed.]
In a follow up to my a-peeling Bananas blog, and in anticipation of the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opens in US theaters on August 5, 2011, here are some album covers featuring some primates. Monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons, baboons, Beiber fans … humans. Oops, not humans. Basically hairy things that can stand on two legs and throw excrement at you when provoked — but not humans.
Okay, I lied about the humans! Just for this first cover from super group Supertramp. The cover for the English rock band’s ninth studio album, Brother Where You Bound, could easily double for one of the main underlying themes in the Planet of the Apes movies — evolution. As you can see, that’s a moronic dribbling knuckle-humping two-armed James Franco on the far left and an articulate upright John Lithgow on the right!
The New Pornographers Electric Version (2003)
Grinderman Grinderman (2007)
And in another unlikely link to the movie series, Canadian indie band The New Pornographers have depicted the time-honored tradition of monkeys in space on their second studio album. On a side note and totally unrelated to the cover, Ham the Astrochimp was the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in the American space program. The date: Jan 31, 1961. His flight time: 16 minutes and 39 seconds. Ham lived for 17 years and passed away in 1983. Awwww.
Nick Cave’s alternative rock band Grinderman went all out for a swinging green simian grooving it out on the disco dance-floor, from the looks of it. All members of Grinderman are also active musicians in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the band was originally called the Mini Seeds. Their eponymous debut album was recorded in four days and was acclaimed by critics on it’s release. The long awaited follow up, Grinderman 2, was released in 2010.
New Wave band Talking Heads, fronted by David Byrne, decided to use an ornately framed image of a nude, flower-wielding monkey on their eighth and last studio album, Naked. Tracks include Totally Nude and (Nothing But) Flowers. Go figure! The band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. While four of their albums were included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, this isn’t one of them.
Juicebox – Popcorn 69 (2006)
Anna Ternheim – What Have I Done? (2008)
And next we have a wacky cover from Dutch Band Juicebox featuring a giant chimpanzee complete with white toque (chef’s hat), set in what looks like 1960s Main Street small town America, reminiscence of all those 1950s and ’60s B-Grade sci-fi horrors (anyone still have nightmares of Attack of the 50ft Woman?). Which is where the popcorn comes in handy! Maybe it’s meant to be 1969. I just don’t know, and I won’t be able to sleep tonight because of it.
Swedish singer-songwriter Anna Ternheim, decided a frozen blue monkey in falling snow would look really neat all dressed up on the cover for her single What Have I Done?, the first single from her fourth full length EP, 2009′s Leaving on a Mayday. The album won Album of the Year at the 2009 Swedish Grammy Awards along with the award for Best Female Artist. Not sure about you, but I always see this cover and feel sorry for the monkey, he/she looks so sad and cold and lonely. Awwww!!
Say hello to “Nfumu Ngui” aka “Floquet de Neu” aka “Snowflake” munching away on the cover of Basement Jaxx‘s second studio album. Fritz has just posted an interesting Déjà Vu entry featuring this cover, with more information about Snowflake, the only known albino gorilla. Barcelona Zoo were unaware of just how unique he was and sent a message to Sabater Pi, who found him, saying, “Please send more white gorillas.” Snowflake’s fame helped to promote awareness of the endangered gorilla species. He sired 22 offspring, none of whom were albino, and lived to see his grandchildren. Awwww.
The video for the third single from Rooty, Where’s Your Head At?, directed by Tom Webb, is almost as famous as the song. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Suffice to say that the band members’ heads superimposed on monkeys is only part of the whole story. I have no idea why the cover for the single features an ostrich head!
Curious George 2 Follow That Monkey (2010)
Pixies Doolittle (1989)
Curious George is main character in a set of children’s books from the early 1940s. In 2006, an animated film was made, featuring Will Ferrell as the voice of “The Man with the Yellow Hat”. The soundtrack was comprised of music from Jack Johnston. The soundtrack for the 2010 sequel, pictured above, is a compilation from artists Carbon Leaf, Jackie Greene and Heiter Pereira, as well as the hit California Sun by Brian Wilson.
The artwork for American alternative rockers, Pixies‘ second studio album, was designed by British graphic designer Vaughan Oliver (who has also designed covers for Throwing Muses, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and The Breeders, among others). The cover references the themes in the track Monkey Gone to Heaven, and depicts a stuffed monkey, with a halo and the numbers five, six and seven above it (“if man is five… then the Devil is six… then God is seven”). The album is ranked at #226 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
“There are several different printings of this cover. The original is a
metallic ink that was probably expensive to produce. Subsequent versions
are in a brown ink. Scans of the metallic version vary quite a bit
because it is reflective and difficult to scan.” – Fritz.
The Black Eyed Peas – Renegotiations: The Remixes (2006)
The cover for The Black Eyed Peas‘ EP, Renegotiations: The Remixes, depicts a rather dapper and carefully combed and groomed young chimp in his Sunday best, and is presented in an old-style-shaped oval portrait. Which is a nice tie in to the fact that the Extended Play is comprised of songs and remixes of songs from their 2005 album Monkey Business.
Extra for Experts: A monkey is a primate and not a type of ape, an ape is a primate and not a type of monkey, and a chimpanzee is a type of ape (so it’s a primate but not a monkey). [And yes, I mixed them all up and have no idea what exactly is on what cover! Except for James Franco.] And the smallest monkey in the world is the pygmy marmoset, which can grow to a height of 14 to 16cms. Also called a dwarf monkey, here’s a picture of one. Reminds me of my sister … the good looking one . So now you know!
Homework: The phrase “cold enough to freeze the balls off (or on) a brass monkey.”
Amy Winehouse is dead, at age 27. Welcome to the 27 Club, Amy. You’re in good company. All four deaths below have spawned controversy, allegations of cover-ups, murder or the like. I am sure Amy Winehouse’s death will also be subject to intense scrutiny.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1986)
James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (Nov 27, 1942 – Sep 18, 1970) asphyxiated on his own vomit in London. The murky details involve Vesparax sleeping pills (a strong Belgian brand Hendrix was unfamiliar with), red wine, a doctor later investigated for malpractice and fraud (unconnected to Hendrix), inconsistent timelines and accounts, and an allegation of murder!
Hendrix’s third and final studio album, produced under his own supervision, was Electric Ladyland, The original US/Canada only Reprise release album cover featured a
“fiery” photo of Hendrix’ head. The slightly later Track/Polydor
International album release cover, controversially, was a photo of group
of nude women. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is the last track on Electric Ladyland. It was re-released as a single after Hendrix’s death in 1970, and reached #1 in the UK, making it the band’s only single to top the charts.
Just sixteen days after Jimi Hendrix, the death of Janis Lyn Joplin (Jan 19, 1943 – Oct 4, 1970), the “Queen of Rock and Roll”, shocked the music industry. Joplin rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. The official cause of death was an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol. Her posthumous album Pearl peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200, holding that spot for nine weeks and went quadruple platinum.
Jim Morrison (Dec 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) is best known as the lead singer and lyricist of The Doors. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub by Pamela Courson (his long-term companion). Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison’s cause of death. Courson died of a heroin overdose three years later.
The Door’s third studio album, Waiting for the Sun, was the band’s one and only #1 US album. It was also the band’s first hit album in the UK. The title track Waiting for the Sun was left off this album, but would be included on the 1970 album Morrison Hotel. The first track, Hello, I Love You, sold over a million copies, and became their biggest hit after 1967′s Light My Fire.
Kurt Cobain (Feb 20, 1976 – April 5, 1994), lead singer and guitarist of grunge group Nirvana, was found dead by an electrician on April 8 — the coroner’s report estimated Cobain to have died on April 5, 1994. Cause of death – suicide. The Seattle Police Department incident report states that Cobain was
found with a shotgun across his body, had a visible head wound and there
was a suicide note discovered nearby. The King County Medical Examiner
noted that there were puncture wounds on the inside of both the right
and left elbow.
Nevermind was the band’s second studio and most successful album. The cover alone has spawned many an internet meme and story. Big hits from the album included Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, Lithium and In Bloom.
Other musicians in The 27 Club, include Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, Richey James Edwards of Manic Street Preachers, Pete de Freitas of Echo & the Bunnymen, Jeremy Michael Ward of De Facto and The Mars Volta, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan of the Grateful Dead, and Gary Thain of Keef Hartley Band and Uriah Heep — to name but a few.
In no particular order, here are 11 interesting album covers depicting blurry people. From out of focus camera shots to post production techniques and additional design elements. For some, it’s to hide the naughty bits (sigh). For others, it’s to create the illusion of rapid movement and/or two heads! And others, well, it’s to jazz up a boring head shot or the designer discovered a new plugin in Photoshop. Or maybe they were under the influence when they used their camera.
My favorites would have to be Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (come on, who wouldn’t like Joan Jett naked?), Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Uffie. What are yours?
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Shooting Straight in the Dark (1990)
In the first of a breakthrough four-part multiple-cross-category “story arc”, I bring you striped clothing, specifically black and white horizontal striped clothing — the sort Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton would recognize. Part two is about being behind bars, and part three is all about bar-codes as art. Anyone with a plethora of covers featuring zebras, please drop Noah’s Ark a line.
Jacqueline Govaert, previously lead singer of Dutch band Krezip, released her debut solo album in 2010. I happen to have this album and the cover really suits it. It’s carefree, laid back, whimsical, catchy and dance worthy in a sort of slow, twirly, barefoot and stripey way. Here she is performing Dare to Lose at Paradiso a few months ago.
Holly Williams – Here With Me (2009)
El Perro del Mar – Love Is Not Pop (2009)
Now I’m sure you’ve heard of Hank Williams, Jr.. Well, his daughter, singer-songwriter Holly Williams, has two studio albums under her belt, the second being featured here. Anyway, we know how much of a sucker I am for a girl in boots with a guitar. El Perro del Mar is the musical project of sole member Sarah Assbring. Her music is best described as melancholic lo-fi indie pop. Most of her album covers are very colorless if not indeed black and white.
I’ve previously covered The B-52s before. If you’d read that article, you’ll know they dropped the apostrophe in 2008. I really like the cover of their seventh studio album. We’ve got Cindy Wilson sporting a zebra inspired outfit, Fred Schneider in striped pants, and Kate Pierson wearing a vertically striped top whilst Keith Strickland wants to be a pirate. And just to mix it all up a bit further, their shadows create a zebra crossing. I’m also digging the way that Kate’s hair stands out.
KT Tunstall – Tiger Suit (2010)
Keri Hilson – No Boys Allowed (2010)
Scottish guitar-rockin’ bluesy country singer-songwriter Kate Victoria “KT” Tunstall is probably best known for her debut album, Eye to the Telescope and it’s biggest hit Suddenly I See. Another single from that album, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, was performed by Casey Weston in the quarter finals on NBC’s The Voice. On the cover of her fourth studio album, Tiger Suit, KT is appropriated striped out. Her single Fade Like a Shadow is always on my playlist. Keri Hilson has also gone for the pirate look on her second studio album cover, whilst using her lipstick to pretend to smoke. Not cool! Lipstick is bad for you . And excessive use of police barricade tape can be dangerous to the environment.
Indie poppers, indie rockers, and indie folk’sters, Canadian identical twins Tegan and Sarah Keirsten‘s sixth, and latest, studio album has both Tegan (or Sarah) and a manikin decked out in matching swashbuckler attire. I’ll also assume that both girls are on the cover, but you never know — identical twins do love to get up to pranks. Reminds me of the time…
Minneapolis punky-rock girl group Sick of Sarah (Abisha, Jamie, Jessie, Jessica and Katie, in no particular order – see, NO Sarah) are often compared to Tegan & Sara. And here they are in their special penitentiary pajamas perhaps anticipating a sleepover stateside. In case you were wondering, Sarah was a former roommate of Abisha’s who used to complain about her own name.
On an interesting side note, people who wear striped clothing look slimmer if the stripes are horizontal, not vertical, as many people think. Thanks to the research of Dr. Peter Thompson of the University of York. Here’s an article about it. In reality, being fat makes you look fat, and being thin makes you look thin!
Now that the hubbub has died down about this cover (Caution: Evacuate children and avert eyes – Ed.), its time to show how a gorgeous hot chick on a bike should be done. You really do have to admire their gleaming looks, flowing lines, sleek curves, shiny leather and unblemished finishes. And the bikes aren’t half bad either!
British rock band Charlie take first prize. Their eighth studio album cover features a blond beauty in thigh high shiny boots, with flowing wind-swept hair on a gleaming and immaculate Harley-Davidson or HOG. I’m not sure who she’s pursuing for romance — if she was after me, I’d stop running.
The video for the group’s most successful hit, It’s Inevitable from their eponymous 1983 album, features a rousing pie fight.Terry Slesser (second lead vocalist from 1982-1984) has uploaded it here. Fun times! On a side note, the band was briefly called Charlie Cuckoo, after a racehorse.
Cascada – San Francisco (2011)
Republica – Speed Ballads (1998)
In second place, we have the ever delicious
Natalie Horler, lead singer of Cascada, gracing the cover for their latest 2011 hit, San Francisco. There’s absolutely no motorbikes to be seen in the video, so it’s a strange choice for a cover. But hey, I’m not complaining! I can see the connection between riding the open roads on a chopper and “being free”, 1969, and the “City of Love”. There’s even a hippie bus – I want on that! It’s party time!
And a deserved podium finish goes to our friends Republica. The English “electronica, techno-pop, punk rock” band’s follow up to their self-titled debut album, Speed Ballads, reached #37 in the UK Album Charts. The UK cover version shows another leather-clad and wind-swept delight. And that delight is lead singer Saffron (Samantha Marie Sprackling). She’s super talented — she performed for two years in London’s Starlight Express, can speak fluent Cantonese Chinese, and has been a featured vocalist, among others, for Prodigy and N-Joi (where she also danced in the video for his single Mindflux).
And I just can’t resist adding this cover from Maxime. It’s so hilarious. It cracks me up every time. Most likely not a hot chick under that cowl, but who knows what those monks get up to! I can’t really find anything about this band (or artist), so just enjoy the sublime pathos, paradox, oxymoron, irony and metaphorical antithesis of the whole thing! You can also check out Poison’s Hollyweird album cover here in my last The Nude Series escapade.
Inked bodies, tattooed birthday suits, and artistically painted flesh make up this installment of The Nude Series. My favorite is Joss Stone, followed by Bullets and Octane, but I’m quite like the last one for the clever play on words and cool band name (Johnny Depp’s character Rango should cover them!). Oh heck, I like them all.
Jocelyn Eve Stoker (or Joss Stone to those in the know!) went au naturelle for her third studio album. I assume she has been painted “silver/gray” to blend in with the wall, and then the painted swirly and “hippie-like” designs have been accented along with her red hair. Totally awesome!
The album’s lead single Tell Me ’bout It, was, incredibly, Stone’s first solo single to make the Billboard Hot 100 in the US (come on America, what are you playing at?). The album itself debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 in it’s opening week, becoming the highest debut for a British female solo artist on the chart, surpassing the record previously by Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black.
Kelli Ali – Tigermouth (2003)
Poison – Hollyweird (2002)
Lead singer of the trip-hop group Sneaker Pimps, female vocalist Kelli Ali, kindly went topless for us (just in case a sleeve might get in the way, God bless her!) so we could see the pair of tigers tattooed on her left arm. Now that’s dedication! Tigermouth, so named for her “unique canine dentition” (that’s special cat-like teeth), was Ali’s debut solo album.
Next we have American hard rock band Poison’s sixth studio album, Hollyweird, sporting the obligatory motorcycle with flames and skull, a nude woman in boots, and a snake, albeit tattooed. There’s also four terrifying monster heads in the background and a “Bret Michael looking” cowboy hat present, just in case you still weren’t entirely sure what sort of album you might be getting yourself into.
Another American rock band, Buckcherry, for their eponymous debut album, decided to use an illustration of a hot, luscious, decorated, painted, red-haired beauty (OMG, it’s Joss Stone!). Such decorative and patterned “full” body tattoos were common throughout Polynesia and other parts of the world, and accentuating weapons, sorry, features such as the breasts is nothing new that isn’t being done today without ink or paint.
Bullets and Octane In the Mouth of the Young (2006)
Bang Tango From the Hip (2006)
And lastly, we have two very contrasting covers, both from 2006. One, quite tattooed and in areas that could easily be bare or visible in public, the other small and lonely, discrete and intimate. I have covered punk/hard rock/thrash metal band Bullets and Octane’s cover in an earlier Déjà Vu entry. Suffice to say, that baby will probably grow up to be a hulking WWE star with arms thicker than his head (see what I did there?!).
The cover for American funk-infused hard rock and glam metal band Bang Tango’s fifth and last studio album, From the Hip, also “features” a tattoo, on a hip. It’s a Chinese dragon. While “features” may be a slightly strong word to use here, the album title and model’s tattoo are indelibly inked … err … linked, and the first thing my eyes looked at was her hip, honest!
Abbe May is my kind of gal, a hot rockin’ chick with a guitar. Her debut album was released on July 8th. The young Australian is “set to destroy the entire rock world”, according to PopMatters.com, who continue:
“Her new solo album Design Desire is bursting with the most righteous and gnarly blues-laced guitar sound this side of the White Stripes and the Pack a.d., drifting majestically beneath honest, take-no-prisoners vocals dripping with tasteful effects.”
I don’t entirely agree with Pop Matters, but I do like the track You Could Be Mine. Besides, I’m loving the cover. It’s
wacky! It reminds me of Roxy Music’s Country Life, and Sweet Apple’s
Love & Desperation. Fritz has covered those here in an earlier Déjà Vu entry. And of course, there’s nothing ever wrong with a bit of flesh, sexy lingerie and a large cattle skull!
Well, since “Happy Feet” is in the global news at the moment, it’s time we checked out some penguins on album covers. And yes, Noah had a penguin stall on his ark, right next to his tux and the goldfish tank.
No! Not that Happy Feet! That’s a movie. I’m talking about “Happy Feet”, the nickname of an emperor penguin who came ashore on New Zealand’s North Island some five days ago. That’s a long, long way from home. In fact, its only ever the second time one has been sighted in NZ (the other one was in 1967 in the South Island). And being confused, Happy ate a pile of sand thinking it was snow, got very sick and has now had a number of operations. Happy is getting better and will most likely fly back to Antarctica when daylight resumes down there in several months time. You can read more about Happy here.
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra Music from the Penguin Cafe (1976)
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra Signs of Life (1987)
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was a collective of performing musicians created by classically trained British guitarist, composer and arranger Simon Jeffes. PCO recorded and performed for 24 years until Jeffes died of a brain tumour in 1997. Almost all their album covers feature penguins or people wearing penguin heads, or both.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which opened in US theaters June 17th, is a family comedy family starring Jim Carrey (as Mr. Popper) and is based on the 1938 children’s book of the same name, by Richard and Florence Atwater. I’ve never read the book, but I’m guessing the penguin top right with the brighter orange beak might be “Captain Cook”.
Supergrass – Lenny (1995)
Status Quo – Whatever You Want (1979)
Fleetwood Mac Penguin (1973)
Shelly Manne & His Men Shelly Manne & His Friends Vol. 1 (1995)
English alternative rock band Supergrass
obviously decided that Lenny should be Lord Mayor of the penguins for the fourth single from their album I Should Coco. Lenny reached #10 in the UK singles chart. Another British rock band, Status Quo, used penguins on a few covers, including the first single and track of the same name from their 99th studio album. Sorry! Make that the 12th studio album – they only produced 29. The track was later re-recorded for their 2003 album Riffs. Fleetwood Mac, a British-American rock group (gee those Brits get around), couldn’t decide on the artwork for their seventh studio album, Penguin. They eventually decided on a penguin, the band mascot most favored by John McVie. And the 1995 compilation release of some Shelly Manne 1950′s recordings, depicts three penguins. Trust me, they’re penguins. And that’s all folks … I’m all penguin-ed out!
How would you feel if Justin Beiber wasn’t real? (I’d be happy but I’m sure millions wouldn’t). How about Selena Gomez? (I could take it or leave it). Annie Lennox or Tori Amos? (I’d be devastated! It’d be catastrophic! Zut alors!)
Well, we’ve had virtual bands before. Come on, how many of you knew Gorillaz is comprised of only two people, not four? Alvin and the Chipmunks did the same thing back in 1959 when Ross Bagdasarian used accelerated recordings of his own voice to provide the ‘chipmunk voices’. But there was no trickery involved here. You were not deliberately deceived.
So how you would feel, if you discovered that one of your music idols
didn’t exist, and that’s after she had appeared in TV commercials,
and you were “told” she was real by her music label and sponsors, and
that she had an official profile with a history, birthplace, age and so on. Well, meet Aimi Eguchi…
She’s the newest member of a band called AKB48, an all-female Japanese theater/idol group comprised of some 58 members, split into four teams. Aimi Eguchi is actually a CGI (computer-generated imagery) composite of six other band members. She’s not real.
Now, I don’t profess to understand Japanese culture, or their fixation of anime (let alone manga) and big-eyed baby-faced girls. And while I can “understand” their obsession with nubile-bordering-on-underage school girls with flawless looks, it’s all a bit gross, especially when fans have to know their blood type, bust sizes and other creepy stuff. However, the fact remains that, in this case, AKB48 has a large, dedicated fan base (it is not uncommon for new releases to sell over a million copies), and that these fans were deceived and lied to.
The deception and lying aside, I can see this becoming more common in the future, especially as the techonolgy required advances. Imagine the “perfect” idol (targeted at a specific demographic) who doesn’t eat up all your profits, throw tantrums, say silly things to the media, flash their knickers, shave their heads, commit suicide via drug overdose, or perform drunk (you heard me Amy Winehouse). The insurance savings alone must be staggering. So get used to it people.
The original article I came across here goes into more detail, and provides a few clips.