Monday, 4 April 2011

Arctic moneys‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not' album art analysis

Arctic Monkeys: ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not'- controversial album art
The new cover is set in a style worlds-apart from the cover of the Arctic monkeys debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. THAT album cover stirred up plenty of controversy for depicting a man smoking a cigarette, so as a result, heath organizations condemned the album cover. Fortunately these days, controversy equals popularity, so it only helped propel Alex Turner and the lads into superstardom.
Because of the success of the first album (and the cover), I initially found it difficult to like the new album cover for ‘Favorite Worst Nightmare’. The entire ‘vibe’, in my opinion, is all wrong. Yeah, the imagery is fitting with the album tile “Favorite Worst Nightmare” – but the overall album cover art is NOT fitting with the Arctic Monkeys music and sound. The new album sleeve DOES display a sense of continuity with the first album by the use of [near] black & white photography, but this cover doesn’t convey a post-punk revival music style – rather it reminds me of the track “Thriller” by michael Jackson! In addition to this, the graphical-composition has gone awry, because the logo and title ‘touch’ the roof arial on the houses. I feel that the arial should have been removed (by photoshop) from the image to leave total grey sky around the green logo.
However, despite these oversights, the Arctic monkeys new cover ‘works’. Why? Because the Arctic Monkeys are now an ‘established band’, meaning their music is known World-wide. This means a larger percentage of their music sales is a direct result of their music, not the album art, to be blunt. But do consumers buy a CD because of its album art? Yeah, that’s right – CD Covers can have a huge impact on sales. For instance, I’m not really a David Bowie fan, but when the album ‘Hours‘ was released in 1999 I bought it solely because it had a fantastic hologram on the Sleeve! So even though the Arctics CD cover design won’t harm sales, its not going to be selling to people interested in terrace housing!
So, what about this new Arctic Monkeys logo? The graphic-style of the new logo identity reminds me of the now-famous Movie Poster for ‘The Man With The Golden Arm’ (image 1) by legendary Designer, Saul Bass (the man who designed the AT&T logo). This poster, designed back in 1955, depicts a drug-addicts art in a sort of ‘paper cut-out’ style in theme with the rest of the poster. I think there is striking similarities between the graphic-style of this poster and the ‘cut-out’ looking letters that make up the name ‘Arctic monkeys’. It just goes to show that great design can have influences far into the future.

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