At the Movies: Cowboys & Aliens

The SciFi Western Cowboys & Aliens opened in U.S. theaters today. The film stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde and was directed by Jon Favreau. It is based on a 2006 graphic novel of the same name by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.

The score for the film was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams. The soundtrack album features 17 original tracks and is scheduled for release on August 9, 2011. The cover art for the soundtrack features a dramatic image of Craig and Ford, omitting Wilde. Wilde is included on the official box office poster for the film. I guess she doesn’t qualify as a cowboy for the soundtrack.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Feist reveals Metals album cover using paint-by-numbers

Canadian singer-songwriter Feist has revealed the cover for her forthcoming album Metals using a paint-by-numbers “canvas” that was posted on Facebook today.

This is the first time I have seen this concept used for an album cover reveal. It is very unique. I wonder how many fans will actually take the time to fill in the colors. The album is scheduled to be released on October 4, 2011.

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Album Art Flashback: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong by Elvis Presley

This Album Art Flashback is from 1959 and features one of the most successful compilation albums in music history. 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Gold Records – Volume 2 is Elvis Presley’s ninth album. It was released on RCA Victor Records in November 1959 and reached #31 on the Billboard album chart.

The title of the album and the artwork probably had Elvis fans scratching their heads when the record was released. The title is based on a 1927 Sophie Tucker hit called Fifty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong. The album cover features a photograph of Elvis wearing a gold gold lamé suit. The image is repeated 14 times in various sizes. The design is similar to the pop art style that emerged several years after its release.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Another interesting thing about this album cover is that it has inspired several imitations over the years. Whether they are parodies or simply paying homage to the King is debatable for each particular album cover. There are albums that use a variation of the title alone. There are others that feature multiple images and at least two that go all the way with gold lamé. 

Below are several examples from the AAX gallery. Included are covers from Bon Jovi, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart and three other artists.

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Banned in the USA: Nirvana’s Nevermind

According to an article on The Hollywood Reporter website, Facebook has removed the the cover art for the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s album Nevermind from the band’s Facebook page.

Posted by: lackofcreativity

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Twenty years later, Nirvana is still managing to cause controversy.

The band, whose Nevermind album made waves when it was released in 1991 because of its cover art which featured a naked baby boy floating in a pool, has run into censorship yet again, this time on its Facebook page.

After product shots of the album (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall) were uploaded to Nirvana’s Facebook page, the social networking company removed the photo citing a violation of its Terms of Use.

When the cover was originally released, many U.S. retailers refused to display it on their shelves. It was banned in Saudi Arabia and several other countries. So, it looks as if things have not changed in two decades — at least as far as Facebook is concerned.

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Editor’s Choice: July 25, 2011

Below are 10 noteworthy album covers that were posted to the AAX gallery last week. They were selected simply because I found them to be interesting or a valuable addition to the gallery. They are listed in no particular order.

Posted by: Lazlo Nibble

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Posted by: cjmal

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Posted by: Tim Barron

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Posted by: Mediocrates

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Posted by: zeefritz

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Posted by: Gulickson

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Posted by: Scott

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Posted by: amantel

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Posted by: Ozsteve

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Strange Connections: The 27 Club

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)

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Buy Now 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.

Janis Joplin – Pearl (1971)

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Buy Now 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.

The Doors – Waiting for the Sun (1968)

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Buy Now 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.

Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)

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Buy Now 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.
 

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Remembering Amy Winehouse

Here is a slideshow featuring the covers of the albums and singles Amy Winehouse released during her life, which was cut short tragically over the weekend at the age of 27. All of the images can be found in the AAX gallery.

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At the Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger

The Marvel superhero movie Captain America: The First Avenger was released to theaters today. The film was directed by Joe Johnston and stars Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci.

The soundtrack album includes the original score by Alan Silvestri, as well as the original song Star Spangled Man with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Zippel. The album was released on July 19 and is available as a digital download and on CD. The cover art for the album is a square version of the box office teaser poster, featuring a portrait of the film’s title character.

Posted by: zeefritz

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Search for the Worst: WTC 9/11 by Steve Reich

According to the NPR website, Nonesuch Records posted the cover art for a forthcoming album by Steve Reich yesterday that is creating an understandable controversy.

Posted by: zeefritz

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The photo, which appeared on the website Sequenza 21, and then on Nonesuch’s own site, is a graphically enhanced version of Masatomo Kuriya’s shot of the second plane approaching the World Trade Center’s twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The album, to be released Sept. 6, contains Reich’s new work WTC 9/11, performed by Kronos Quartet.

Few would say that the image isn’t provocative; others have already posted strong reactions. With the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 just around the corner, my Manhattan-based colleague Anastasia Tsioulcas and I thought a brief discussion might be appropriate.

Continue reading…

It has been several months since an album cover has been worthy of being featured in our ongoing Search for the Worst series. The last cover to be considered was Lil Kim’s violent beheading of Nicki Minaj on the cover her mixtape Black Friday.

The problem with using a photograph like this as album art is that no matter how well-intentioned, an album cover is a commercial marketing tool. It is designed to sell a product. Album covers can be inspirational. They can be works of art. However, the main objective is to sell music and make a profit.

In spite of the album being a work to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, this cover is probably destined to be listed as one of the worst of all time for many years to come.

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