New Year’s Eve is the first single from the forthcoming eleventh studio album by rapper Snoop Dogg. The album, Doggumentary Music, is scheduled to be released on March 8, 2011. The single features singer Marty James and was released as a digital single on November 5, 2010.
Woofers & Tweeters Ensemble – Beatle Barkers (1983)
A few days ago, I was browsing through old LPs at the nearby Goodwill and I spotted a few by R&B singer Teena Marie. Unfortunately, I passed them up in favor of several Linda Ronstadt albums that I knew would be good additions to the AAX gallery. My decision to buy the Ronstadt LPs can be compared to the way many music fans often overlook Teena Marie when they think about important female vocalists.
Like Ronstadt, Teena Marie had a long career in the music business. She recorded 13 studio albums, the most recent 2009’s Congo Square (above right). However, she never achieved the status deserved by an artist of her considerable talents.
Born Mary Christine Brockert, Teena Marie began her career as a protégée of the late Rick James. She is one of only a few white performers to achieve success in the R&B genre and the first white performer to be signed to Motown. She wrote, produced, sang and arranged her own music.
My favorite Teena Marie album cover is for her 1983 album, Robbery. The cover has a classic early ’80s look. I was not able to find credits for the cover design and photography. The album was reissued with three additional tracks in 2005. The cover below is for the reissued version.
It is safe to say that Merry Christmas by Bing Crosby is the grandfather of Christmas albums. Originally released in 1945, the album has been in release in various formats for 65 years. The album has sold over 15 million copies, and is the second best-selling Christmas album of all-time behind Elvis Presley’s 1957 holiday album Elvis’ Christmas Album.
The current version of the album is titled White Christmas. The title was changed in 1986 by Universal Music Group. However, the the contents of the album was not changed. A remastered mono version was released in 1992 and reissued in 1995. The 1995 version (above right) is the one that is currently in distribution.
Along with the title change, falling snowflakes were added to the classic album art. The cover below is the 1973 version that was released after merged their labels. It is an original scan of the album that was played in my home when I was a child. I believe we had an earlier Decca version that wore out after years of play.
Here’s an unusual déjà vu moment. It isn’t every day that you see someone walking an alligator on a leash. In 2006, Beyoncé appeared on the cover for her single Ring the Alarm holding two alligators on leashes. At the time, I thought it was one of the more bizarre covers I’ve seen.
This year, Swedish singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik used a similar image for the cover of her album Florida. Talvik’s cover features what appears to be an albino alligator. An unleashed gator can be seen popping out of the water.
The music video for the title single from Duran Duran’s new album All You Need Is Now was posted on YouTube yesterday. The single (right) was released as a free download on iTunes last week. The album is available in digital format only beginning today. A CD release is scheduled for early next year.
The album went straight to the top on the download charts in the UK, US, and Canada earlier today. The album is currently in the #2 spot on the U.S. iTunes album chart.
The artwork for the album cover carries through to the All You Need Is Now music video. Many are comparing the song to the band’s 1982 hit Rio.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a 1993 stop motion animation film co-written and produced by Tim Burton. The film is a unique blending of Halloween and Christmas theme, about a Halloween character named Jack Skellington who stumbles upon a portal to a world inhabited by Christmas characters.
Danny Elfman wrote the score for the film, including the lyrics and music for the musical numbers. Elfman was the singing voice of Jack and several other characters.
In 2006, the film was re-released in 3-D. To accompany the film, a special edition of the soundtrack (above right) was reissued, featuring a bonus disc containing covers of five of the film’s songs by Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple and She Wants Revenge. Six original demo tracks by Elfman were also included on the disc.
The artwork for the original soundtrack (below) is a square version of the movie poster. In spite of the cult-like popularity of the movie, a decent version of the album art has been somewhat difficult to locate. The cover for my own CD is very low quality printing and I have never been able to achieve the kind of quality image I think this album deserves.
It is the time of year when websites and blogs begin posting their annual “worst” and “best” lists. I will wait until 2010 is actually over and our final poll has concluded to publish the AAX Blog Best Album Covers of 2010 list.
Since I don’t ask readers to vote on the worst album covers every week, I think it is okay to let the world know what the worst ones are and why. Below are the ten worst album covers of 2010. They were chosen based on poor design, inept execution, questionable taste, or all three.
Release Date: January 12, 2010
The cover for Vampire Weekend’s Contra made headlines when the model who posed for the photograph filed suit on the grounds that she had not given permission for its use. Beyond the controversy, the album cover deserves to be one of the worst of 2010 simply because it is designed to look like an amateur Polaroid that someone pulled out of a shoebox. The result is imitation authenticity. It is the Milli Vanilli of album art.
#9 CocoRosie – Grey Oceans
Release Date: May 11, 2010
CocoRosie’s Grey Oceans was released with different covers for the CD and LP versions. Unfortunately, both featured the duo wearing what looks like what would happen if you covered yourself with glue and ran through a crafts store. At best, the costumes look like they spent a few bucks at their local Michaels.
#8 Christina Aguilera – Bionic
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Christina Aguilera’s Bionic is an example of what can happen when a very good photograph of a beautiful woman is given to a “outsider artist” along with a lame concept. Everything about this album cover is wrong, from the blood streaming typography to the Rocky Horror lips.
#7 Lordi – Babez for Breakfast
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Usually, covers for metal albums get a pass when it comes to being gross. The cover for Lordi’s Babez for Breakfast is an exception. Believe it or not, there is a line and this cover crosses it with the image of a demon infant drawing blood from a breast. Yuck.
#6 MGMT – Congratulations
Release Date: April 13, 2010
The cover for MGMT’s Congratulations is another example of outsider art that is supposed to be artistically significant in some way. I suppose I would be more forgiving of this particular cover if it had better execution. There are several flaws in the image that look as if they are the result of an unskilled hand rather than inspiration.
#5 Reba – All the Women I Am
Release Date: November 9, 2010
When I wrote about the cover for Reba McEntire’s All the Women I Am a few months ago, I actually got hate mail from enraged Reba fans. For them, the country legend can do no wrong. In my book, that makes her tacky album cover even more objectionable. The background is made out of aluminum foil! Kitchen wrap!
#4 Revolting Cocks – Got Cock?
Release Date: April 13, 2010
It is a joke. I get it. However, the cover for Got Cock? by Revolting Cocks is just too over-the-top. It is like a stand up comic who tries to hard and is just a bit too crude. The best thing about the cover is that the album title wasn’t actually tattooed on the model’s lips.
#3 Sheek Louch – Donnie G: Don Gorilla
Release Date: December 14, 2010
It is one thing to publish an album cover with a controversial, race-baiting concept. It is another to steal a controversial, race-baiting concept from another recording artist. The cover for rapper Sheek Louch’s Donnie G: Don Gorilla appears to meet both requirements that qualify it as one of the worst album covers of the year.
#2 A Plea for Purging – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Release Date: July 6, 2010
The cover art for The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by A Plea for Purging is bloody and mutilated head of a wolf. The animal has been decapitated and several extracted teeth appear in a puddle of blood beside a pair of pliers. AAAAAAAGH!
#1 General Eclectics – Soul Center
Release Date: September 14, 2010
I don’t think I have to explain why Soul Center by General Eclectics was chosen to be the Worst Album Cover of 2010. I really don’t want to know anything about the artist or why such a disgusting image was placed on the cover of their album. A close up of a stream of urine coming out of a horse. Really?
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Release Date: November 22, 2010
Prior to its release, Kanye West revealed through Twitter that the cover for his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy had been “banned” due to sexual content. The artwork by painter George Condo is supposed to be a representation of West being straddled by what he described as a phoenix. Of course, a phoenix is a mythical bird. The creature on the cover looks more like a griffin. In any case, the cover came close to making it to the top 10 worst of 2010.