Saturday, December 4, 2010

Best Art Vinyl

Recently I stumbled across an article about the "Best Art Vinyl of 2008", and I found it interesting that on MTV UK's list of fifty albums with the coolest covers, first and third place went to bands with album art that referenced classic paintings.

The folk band Fleet Foxes took first place for the front of their self titled record which features a detail of the 1559 painting Netherlandish Proverbs by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Netherlandish Proverbs (also called The Blue Cloak or The Topsy Turvy World) depicts a land populated with literal renditions of Flemish proverbs of the day. Like most of the painter's work, it contains themes of the absurdity, wickedness and foolishness of mankind...definitely in intriguing choice of album art. In an intervies, vocalist/guitarist Robin Pecknold notes:

"There's all this really weird stuff going on. I liked that the first impression is that it's just pretty, but then you realize that the scene is this weird chaos. I like that you can't really take it for what it is, that your first impression of it is wrong...I liked that it had a really intriguing meaning, like there's a story to each little scene. Which I just felt fitting for that record- dense but unified, not a collage or anything."

Netherlandish Proverbs
Fleet Foxes' Album Cover

Third place was given to the English alternative rock band Coldplay for the Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends cover. There were three covers for the album. The front cover for the standard edition (the award winner) is a painting by Eugène Delacroix, entitled Liberty Leading the People, which was slightly altered for the cover by using a white paint brush to draw "VIVA LA VIDA". The painting commemorates the July Revolution (in France) of 1830, which toppled Charles X-a symbol of the end of Age of Enlightenment, the end of the French Revolution, and the start of the romantic era. This theme resonates throughout the lyrics of the album with references of life, death and war. Also, the Spanish phrase "Viva La Vida" translates in English as "long live life".
Liberty Leading the People
 Coldplay's Album Cover



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