Tuesday, March 9, 2010

M.Y.'s Perfect 10: The 10 Most Artistic Album Covers

In an age where music fans can get a 10-track album simply by pressing download via their computer, it is clear to see that albums are no longer viewed as items but more so viewed as computer files.

Though I happen to be an iPod lover thanks to me not having to literally flip through CD’s searching for the album I want to listen to at that moment, album art has always been the one thing that I’m always interested in seeing once an artist announces their album release date.

The art on an album cover can either make or break an album. It plays a big part in deciding if one wants to buy or walk right past an album.

Some artists make the mistake of giving the same old, same old when it comes to their albums often times going for the full-frontal face shot or just hitting a really corny pose.

But with the boring, there are the artists that take the album art process to another level. Their artistic expressions oozes on to their covers, producing aesthetically appealing album art never seen before and that has the ability to make you stop in your tracks to do a double take.

Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

The album cover is a direct reflection of the album’s title. With the image of her face etched into a wooden school desk, the album art chosen for the album was simply genius.

Nas’ Illmatic (1994)

Not too many Hip-Hop albums have creative covers. We either get a rapper posing with the backdrop of a city, the projects, a mansion, a pricy car, or with his shirt off or her boobs propped up. So it was definitely refreshing to get an album cover like Nas’ Illmatic that played on the familiar, but added a twist to it.

Kanye West’s Graduation (2007)

Much like Kanye West and his eccentric attitude, the album covers that present his albums are just as eccentric. What I like about Kanye is that he works with a theme and he sticks with it. For this album cover he decided to go cartoon combining his teddy bear mascot with the graduation theme of the album.

Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah (2008)

When the album art for the cover of Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah was released I was satisfied because I knew that anything that has Badu’s name on it wouldn’t be anything I’ve seen before. Her afro on the cover tells a story of violence, love, peace, justice, progression, and much more. If you haven’t really looked at the cover, look at it now; the title of the album will make a lot more sense.

Eminem’s Relapse (2009)

Though I feel Eminem got the idea for the cover after seeing his face constructed using M&M candy, the idea was very creative. The whole concept of Relapse was focused on a medical standpoint. The rapper’s face is created using pills with the prescription being prescribed by producer Dr.Dre, so creative.

Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere (2006)

This album cover really says it all. It’s the aftermath of a Gnarls Barkley atomic bomb.

Prince’s Lotus Flow3r (2009)

Prince has always been a fan favorite thanks to his niche to think outside of the box and this album cover is no exception.

Grace Jones’ Slave to Rhythm (1985)

Weird, I know; but it still is creative and outlandish, two things that best describe Grace Jones. Grace was never concerned with what was sexy or appealing. She always leaned toward the taboo and strange and this cover shows exactly how she thinks. Do you notice the theme with the album's title and her using music scales?

Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (1970)

The Jazz musician was known as a revolutionary when it came to the genre of Jazz because he was able to see trends long before others did and wasn’t afraid to take risks. The cover of his 1970 album was a reflection of his mind and his career. I still don’t get the cover, but something about it draws me in and screams originality.

Amerie’s In Love & War (2009)

Amerie, in my opinion, isn’t really an original artist. There really isn’t anything that stands out about her besides her striking beauty and her voice; however, the cover for her album In Love & War blew me away. It’s creative and it’s sexy. Unfortunately, even a hot cover didn’t do the trick of moving units even though the album housed some of her best work. The cover is a testament to growing in her career.

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