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by vivrant thang on favorite album covers

Yes, I’m still on vacation. There’s not hardly any of this going on:


I actually got it together enough to eke out one post for you while I am gone.

A lot of entertainment and music blogs feature an artist’s album cover ahead of the release date and readers offer their opinions – the good, bad and ugly.  Cover art can influence music purchases. Now this probably wouldn’t apply for an artist you stan for. There are some artists I would support even if the cover was blank. I’d just think they were trying to make a statement! However, if you’re a visual person like me and you’re in the store digging in the crates, appealing cover art may catch your eye and make you discover something new.

As you can see by some of the art I have hanging on my walls, I’m drawn to albums covers that are artistic in some way. I have huge coffee table books on the work of artists like Romare Bearden, Jonathan Green, Gordon Parks, and Mark Baptiste.

So I just thought I’d share some of my favorite album covers here.

I love Me’shell Ndegeocello and Seal’s covers because they are works of art. The colors on Me’shell’s album are stunning. Seal’s cover looks like something you would see hanging on a museum wall.

The cover of Rainbow Children was different for Prince, likely because the album itself marked a shift in his sound. Art like this that depicts musicians engaged in their work or people dancing with abandon will always catch my eye. I love all the art associated with the release of New Amerykah, but I enjoyed this album cover for the same reason I like Michael Jackson’s Dangerous. There are so many elements there that are open for interpretation. I could probably spend a whole day studying each of these covers and all the symbols represented. That’s the beauty of real art.

These album covers are the epitome of cool. Nuff said.

I like these covers because they each make strong political statements. In particular, The Roots album depicts a picture taken during the riots in the Civil Rights era. It was included in the book The Greatest Album Covers of All Time, which I need to get my hands on. I see that a couple of the covers I chose are included.

As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of Mark Baptiste and his artistic nude photography. He manages to bring out the beauty in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The Ohio Players were known for featuring nude women on their album covers, but it was never trashy. Like Prince’s Lovesexy cover, it was sensual and suggestive. Simply works of art. I want to get Leon Ware’s cover blown up. Musical Massage…sounds good to me! 

Now these are the group of artists whose albums I would buy if the covers were blank. However,these are my favorite covers from each of these artists. When I first saw Jill’s cover for The Real Thing, I was blown away. The sensual, come hither look on her face says it all. Perfect wrapping for the special surprises inside. Erykah’s expression, with that toothpick dangling for her lips somehow also fit the music inside. A lot of people didn’t like Mama’s Gun because it was much darker than her debut. To me, her expression sort of says, “I like this shit. You don’t? Deal with it.” What can I say about Mary ? All of her is there in the flesh. She’s not covering anything up here. No makeup, no flash. Just plain ole Mary. This album followed My Life and we all know what she was going through with that one. If you were like me, you used that album to get you through some things as well. Still do. On this album, she was still baring her soul while on the road to recovery and growth. This cover speaks to that. It’s simply beautiful. Another one I’d like to have blown up.

More works of art. I don’t own any Seal albums but I’d always heard people mention how intriguing his album covers were. I agree. I love the contrast of their darkened forms against the more vibrant backgrounds backgrounds.

I’m sure I’ll return to this subject again as I have many more to share. Share some of your favorite album covers in the comments. Has the cover of an album ever influenced your decision to purchase?