Nicki Minaj caused quite a stir when she released the art for her new single "Anaconda." The art for the song showed Minaj crouching with her back turned to the camera, derriere in full view with nothin' but a G-string on. Some applauded Minaj's bold move, some thought it was too racy and others were just all-around confused by it. Whatever you thought about the image, it sure did its job and caught your attention.
As you can see, the cover art for an album is extremely important, even in today's era of digital downloads and barely buying whole albums. Oftentimes, it's the first thing people are going to see when an artist puts out new music, and it's how listeners will mentally distinguish the different songs, albums and periods in an artist's career. The album cover sets the tone for the entire work, so you better make it count.
Minaj's "Anaconda" art may have puzzled some people, although it sure doesn't leave much to the imagination, but that is not a rarity in popular music. Countless artists have used odd, creative and captivating images for the covers of their albums through the decades, but it's not always easy to tell where the inspiration for the art came from. Luckily, we have the Tumblr Art of Album Covers to clue us in.
This truly awesome Tumblr compiles album covers with unconventional art and scours the Internet for the original photograph, artwork or landmark that inspired the image. The creator of the Tumblr puts them side-by-side so you can see how the image came to be and let all of the details of the piece sink in. And of course, there's a nifty description to tell you exactly what you're looking at so you can make those "A ha!" moments happen. There's also a link to a sample song from the album on YouTube that allows you to easily compare how well the visual communicates the sound of the album.
So if you decide to go to this Tumblr, what will you see? The giant robot from Queen's 1977 "News of the World" album comes from the October 1953 cover of the magazine "Astounding Science Fiction," which featured an unidentifiable wounded man instead of the members of Queen. The Clash's 1979 album "London Calling" features an iconic photo of the band's bassist Paul Simonon smashing his guitar on stage at the Palladium in New York on Sept. 21, 1979. The 2010 Vampire Weekend album "Contra" shows a polaroid of Ann Kirsten Kennis at a casting call for a commercial in 1983.
And there's so much more. You could literally have oodles of fun with this Tumblr, and I for one intend to.
The posts for August 2014 seem a bit sparse, so here's hoping more albums will be added in the near future. When Minaj finally releases her new album, "The Pink Print," in full, perhaps we'll see it on Art of Album Covers. Whatever the cover art turns out to be, there's got to be some interesting inspiration behind it, that's for sure.