Category Archives: …An Album By Its Cover

…An Album By Its Cover: Superconductor


Andy Allo‘s album, Superconductor, will be released on November 20th and so, in the meantime, here is my analysis of the album cover. The triangle either within or interlocking with a circle symbol is a common image in alchemy and many religions. The symbol has numerous meanings including spiritual sight, higher knowledge, the unity of the trinity of God, the divine union of the body, mind and spirit, masculine and feminine, or universe, the symbol for protection and power, and the totality of wisdom. Some modern images that are based on it are the dollar bill with the cornerstone of the pyramid inside the circle of the sun, the Paramount logo of the mount within the circle of stars, and Alcoholics Anonymous logo.

The image inside the triangle is often an eye (ex. Eye of Horus) or the sun. However, in Allo’s cover, the middle image is that of a two-pronged object resembling either a tuning fork or an electric plug, fitting for a musician. Erykah Badu , one of Allo’s inspirations, is known for having tuning forks on her album covers and in her performances. Badu’s use of the forks represent tuning or plugging oneself to the universal spirit, frequencies, vibrations or higher consciousness, linking back to the meanings of the symbol. Additionally, the title of Allo’s album is not only musical, but also a type of conductor in quantum physics that prevents the loss of energy due to resistance in an electrical system, which she mentions in this interview.

Continue reading …An Album By Its Cover: Superconductor

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…An Album By Its Cover: Fear of a Black Planet


As we near yet another doomsday date in December and with yet another revelation of the fears of seeing Black people talk to each other via the release of Obama’s speech at Hampton University right before the debates, here is a post about the album cover for Public Enemy’s 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet. The original album artwork was designed by NASA illustrator, B.E. Johnson, who is still known today for his space art. While the album is a commentary on dangerous results of white supremacy, both the tracks and the apocalyptic cover are a reminder of how fragile our world and all the things in it, including our steadfast beliefs, are. At any moment it can all end; something unexpected can crash into it, destroying everything. Also, the cover reminds me of the Nibiru/Planet X “prophecies”, which are often linked to the 2012 doomsday prophecy. Although official scientists have declared it to not be true, it does make for great science fiction!

…An Album By Its Cover: The Roots’ Rising Down


<br />Fear of Negro rule was still evident in 1900. Cartoon by Norman E. Jennette published in the Raleigh News And Observer.<br />Rising Down, the eighth studio album of The Roots wasreleased on April 29, 2008. Above is the original drawing used the for the cover “The Vampire that Hovers Over North Carolina,” cartoon by Norman E. Jennette.  Published in the Raleigh News And Observer, 27th September 1898 during the North Carolina Election of 1898, it is apparent that there was still fear of a Negro rule. <br />Questlove from The Roots explains the cover, “it’s about The Reconstruction period in American History. This drawing entitled “Negro Rule,” and it pretty much sums up the feeling of the Confederate Union towards the newly freed slaves and the idea that if given power they would reek havoc and chaos on the country.”<br />Source<br />

Via Lostinurbanism and Karnado

Fear of Negro rule was still evident in 1900.

Rising Down, the eighth studio album of The Roots was released on April 29, 2008. Above is the original drawing used the for the cover, “The Vampire that Hovers Over North Carolina,” a cartoon by Norman E. Jennette, which was published in the Raleigh News And Observer on the 27th of September 1898 during the North Carolina election. It is apparent that there was still fear of a Negro rule.

Questlove from The Roots explains the cover: “it’s about The Reconstruction period in American History. This drawing is entitled “Negro Rule,” and it pretty much sums up the feeling of the Confederate Union towards the newly freed slaves, and the idea that if given power they would reek havoc and chaos on the country.”

Sadly, this kind of thinking is still true today. Black people are thought of as the vampires of the country, sucking it dry (ex. welfare queens), but it is actually the other way around.

…An Album By Its Cover: Herbie Hancock


Herbie Hancock is an innovative jazz musicians, but he also knows how to pick great album covers. Also, here is an article placing Hancock in a futurist context.

Thrust (1974), Cover by Robert Springett

Magic Windows (1981), Cover by David Ross

Head Hunters (1973), Cover by Victor Moscoso

The Solid Steel Interview (2002)

Future Shock (1983),  Cover by David Em

Flood (1975), Cover by Nobuyuki Nakanishi

Man-Child (1975), Cover by Dario Campanile

Dis Is Da Drum (1994), Cover by Sanjay Kotari

Crossings (1972), Cover by Robert Springett

Sextant (1972), Cover by Robert Springett

… An Album by Its Cover: Erykah Badu


“Honey”

Erykah Badu is known for her distinct album covers and her video for her song “Honey” (one of my favorite songs) highlights her affinity for album covers. Go to Soul Bounce to see the list of all the albums she referenced. Her recent album covers for New Amerykah and New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh have a very psychadelic, afrofuturistic look that I love. The artist, Emek, uses of the ankh, the scarab (dung beetle), the eye of heru, maat wings and other Egyptian symbols, and puts them a new context, especially with the images of the black power fists and modern technologies.

As an extra treat, here is Badu’s video for “Next Lifetime,” which showcases her previous journeys into afrofuturistic text:

…An Album By Its Cover


This is another segment on my blog covering album artwork and their allusions and meanings. Today’s post is about the controversial rapper Lil B‘s latest album cover for “I’m Gay (I’m Happy).”

The artist, Uncle Grumpy, based his artwork for the album off of Marvin Gaye’s 1970 album, “I Want You.”

Called the “Sugar Shack” painting, this was by the artist Ernie Barnes, who did the paintings for the 1970s TV sitcom, “Good Times.”