Album Art Flashback: Barenaked Ladies NYE

This Album Art Flashback is a look back to an album recorded last New Years Eve. Barenaked Ladies performed live in Detroit and did a rather unique version of Auld Lang Syne. I’ve posted the video and the album art. Happy New Year! I’ll be taking tomorrow off from blogging. Have fun and be safe.

Posted by: zeefritz


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Adam Lambert album cover photo shoot video

alambe-foryou_03.jpgI stumbled on this video of the photo shoot for Adam Lambert’s album cover today. It shows Lambert camping it up for the camera and trying out different looks. It is an interesting behind-the-scenes of how an album cover is photographed.

The cover of For Your Entertainment caused quite a stir when it was revealed in October. Tha album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and is currently at #29.

Like many others, I was disappointed with the album cover. It really can’t be taken seriously. Yet, it isn’t over-the-top enough to be considered camp.

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Album Art Flashback: Cyndi Lauper

lauper_people.jpgYesterday, I posted an article about a remake of Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 hit Girls Just Want To Have Fun by a new artist. Shortly after I published the article, I received some nasty comments in response to my opinion of the new song, Girl I’m Tryin by J Brazil.

This sparked a series of comments between a few AAX blog regulars and one commenter who suggested that I quit blogging. This made me consider exactly what made me dislike the remake of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, besides the Autotune vocals.

Cyndi Lauper is one of the most amazing vocal performers ever. When her debut album She’s So Unusual came out, she became an overnight sensation. She appeared on the cover of magazines (right) and her music videos were played in heavy rotation on MTV. Not only was Cyndi Lauper unusual, she had obvious talent.

Originally written and recorded by Robert Hazard from a male point of view, Lauper’s version of Girls Just Want To Have Fun was more than a pop song, it became a feminist anthem. It has been covered by over 30 artists over the years, most of whom have given Lauper the respect she deserves.

The J Brazil version of the song returns to the male point of view. It takes a song that has been adopted by women as an anthem of empowerment and changes it to a male chauvanist rant. To make matters worse, the new song has an immature, mocking tone that just doesn’t work for me. There is no doubt that thee are young men who will identify with this new version of the song. However, there is no question which version is superior.

I have recreated the cover of the single for Girls Just Want To Have Fun using several examples found online. There are quite a few different covers for this single. The composite includes most of the common graphic elements.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Album Art Flashback: Eurythmics

euryth-reveng.jpgMy favorite song by British pop duo Eurythmics is Thorn In My Side. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart released the single in August 1986. It is the second track on the album Revenge (right). The single reached number five on the U.K. charts and made it to 68 in the U.S.

The cover of Revenge has always bothered me because Annie Lennox’s eyes were made to look like those of a cat. Lennox has absolutely beautiful eyes and I think it was almost a crime to have altered them. They also made them them blue, when they are in reality the most amazing shade of pale green.

The cover for the single features an artistic double exposure portrait of Lennox. I have recreated it by making a composite of several examples found online.

Posted by: zeefritz
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At the Movies: Precious

1132.jpgThe motion picture Precious is one of the most critically acclaimed of the year. It also has an amazing soundtrack featuring Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, the legendary Mahalia Jackson, and nine other notable artists.

The cover art for the soundtrack is a square version of the movie poster. It features a photograph of the title character with the wings of a butterfly superimposed on her back. It differs significantly from the original movie poster that I recall seeing when the film was being promoted prior to release (right).

The original art is a very strong graphic that resembles the work of the great Saul Bass. I do not know why they changed it to the cliché image with butterfly wings that is currently being used. The design of the previous poster was far superior and I think it would have made a better album cover as well.

Butterflies are a very overused graphic element — especially on album covers. I wish that art directors would simply avoid them unless the project actually has something to do with butterflies. The crown floating over Precious’ head is just the icing on the cake. All this cover needs is a flaming skull and a soaring eagle. The lowercase typography for the title is also a tad bit weak.

Posted by: zeefritz
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The Beatles CD & t-shirt combos feature classic album art

I don’t know how I missed these CD/t-shirt combo packs that went on sale last month. They include a remastered album on CD and a t-shirt with The Beatles album art. It appears that several albums are being sold including Magical Mystery Tour, Help! and A Hard Days Night.

If you received gift certificates for Christmas, this could be a good way to spend them. Personally, I think the Magical Mystery Tour t-shirt is the best of the bunch. I would also like to see Sgt. Pepper’s added to the line up.

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New and Notable: J Brazil

claupe-shesso_05.jpgCyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual (right) was one of the biggest albums of 1984. It had five Top 40 singles and the album cover sparked a new fashion trend — the Cyndi Lauper look. Lauper won a Grammy for best new artist and she has since become a pop music icon. The album cover was photographed by Annie Leibovitz and won the Grammy for Best Album Package for art director Janet Perr.

Twenty-five years later, New York City singer and songwriter J Brazil has released a remake of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun called Girl I’m Tryin. The art direction for the cover of the single and the music video convey a fun, pop music feel that is vaguely reminiscent of the original. J Brazil makes a fashion statement of his own with brightly colored eyeglasses and a cute little bow tie. He is an attractive young man with the prerequisite over-gelled hair and a hip hop swagger.

Unfortunately, the song is a typical 2009 Autotune train wreck. Choosing to do a remake of a Cyndi Lauper song was probably a big mistake. Listening to the Autotune vocals, all I can do is think about Lauper’s amazing voice. I literally launched iTunes to listen to the original and wash the J Brazil version out of my ears. The lesson here is that a remake has to at least come close to the original and Cyndi Lauper is a very tough act to follow — even 25 years later.

Posted by: zeefritz
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