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Top Song Covers by Famous Musicians

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

When we fall in love with a new song by a familiar singer, we remember everything about the original – the tune, the video, the lyrics. It sets like stone in our head and we can hardly imagine it being sung any other way. But, there are a few brave songsters who dare to re-imagine even the most celebrated songs in a totally new way. Although they stay loyal to the tune and the lyrics of the song, they add their own twists to infuse it with new meaning. Here are 5 top covers, performed by some of the most renowned musicians of our time.

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Demi Lovato – Give me Love

(Originally sung by Ed Sheeran)

This is a difficult song to sing because Ed Sheeran channelizes so much emotion in his vocals. Close your eyes and listen to this song and you’re sure to get goose bumps. It’s difficult to imagine anyone creating a better version of this song, but, Demi Lovato manages to do the impossible. Her version of this song is just as moving and she uses her powerful vocals to take the song to a whole new level. The crescendo, sung by the backups, is beautifully reimagined and is one of the high points of this cover version.

Ellie Goulding – Only Girl in the World

(Originally sung by Rihanna)

Ellie Goulding is known for taking a popular song and turning it on its head. She gives Rihanna’s 2010 album’s leading single the same treatment. From a dance pop track, she changes it into a soft and sweet number, perfect for late night listening.

Nick Jonas – Lay Me Down

(Originally sung by Sam Smith)

Sam Smith is famous for his stellar vocals and emotional punch. His songs tug at your heartstrings and make tears flood your eyes. It’s tough to imagine another singer pulling of a Sam Smith song to the same effect. But, Nick Jonas succeeds and succeeds brilliantly at it.

Adele – Make you Feel My Love

(Originally sung by Bob Dylan)

Bob Dylan’s raspy whisper makes this song sound wistful and wonderful. But, Adele’s powerful vocals add a whole different level of longing. There’s pain, there’s yearning, there’s suffering; Adele’s version makes the agony of one-sided love is tangible.

Lady Gaga – Imagine

(Originally sung by John Lennon)

This is one of the most iconic songs of John Lennon and trying to reimagine it is akin to sacrilege. Lady Gaga, however, does so bravely. The result is nothing short of genius. Clear, sonorous vocals lend depth to her version and her vocal prowess permits her to experiment with the chorus is ways never thought of before. Imagine that!

Album Cover Art: Top Painting/Art-inspired Album Covers

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

When Alex Steinweiss, the first art director of Colombia Records, introduced the concept of decorated album covers way back in the late 1930s, little did he know that this experiment of his would create an artistic revolution in the music industry. His colourful addition to the otherwise drab album package inspired such record-breaking sales that it quickly inspired other recording companies and musicians to follow suit. Today, album cover art is given as much importance as the album itself. In fact, most music production houses know that the cover image holds sway over sales. Hence, when it comes to hiring designers, photographers or artists to design these covers, no corners are cut. Great pains are taken to come up with a cover that represents the spirit of the album, to create a graphic that transforms into an image, all that has been layered on the tracks inside.

Coming up with creative illustrations time after time can prove to be quite a challenge and so, for inspiration, designers often sift through the work of other artists, and this includes paintings too. You’ll be surprised by the number of album covers that have imbibed elements from paintings. Whether it’s the style of the painting, the themes, the message or the actual image itself, one finds traces of famous paintings in the art of several album covers. Sometimes this is done because a painting depicts an idea a musician is trying to communicate, sometimes it’s done to pay homage and sometimes, well, sometimes it’s just a case of unethical appropriation.

Revolutionary Music

Coldplay Viva La Vida

Coldplay’s album Viva La Vida, which also means Death and His Friends, has one of the most famous paintings of the French Revolution ‘Liberty Leading the People’ by Eugène Delacroix on its cover. The songs in the album tackle themes of freedom and happiness and thus, this iconic painting was chosen to represent the spirit of the album.

Pop Inspirations

madonna celebrations

marilyn andy

The album cover of Madonna’s ‘Celebrations’ was designed by Mr. Brainwash, who combined two earlier popular photographs of Madonna, one from the cover of Bazaar Magazine (1990) and the other, her ‘Who’s that Girl Portrait’ (1987) However, the final touches of bright colour give it a striking resemblance to an Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe print. It isn’t surprising that the Queen of Pop would chose to pay homage to the King of Pop Art through her album, right?

Surrealistic Story lines

muse absolution

golconda

Although the cover of Muse’s album, ‘Absolution’ doesn’t use the actual image of a painting, it does draw inspiration from one of the most famous surrealist paintings of our times; Rene Magritte’s ‘Golconde.’ The countless human figures on the cover look like they are either coming down to earth, leaving this world, or suspended mid-air, just like the figures in the Magritte painting. To explore the themes of this painting, read our article The Dream-like Paintings of Rene Magritte

Starry Nights

cyndi lauper

van gogh

Cyndi Lauper made us swoon over her hits like Girls just Wanna have Fun’ and ‘Time after Time.’ Her album covers however were equally eye-catching. Among the many prints, there was also one that paid tribute to a famous painting by Van Gogh, ‘Starry Night.’ On the cover image of her album She’s So Unusual, you can see a similar print of the black , night sky on the back of her shoe.

Out of the Shell

Depeche mode

Salvador Dali

Depeche Mode’s album titled ‘New Life’ uses the man breaking out of an egg image, just like Salvador Dali did in his painting titled ‘Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man,’ to represent themes of newness and renewal.

If you liked this article, here’s something else you’ll really like. This talented artist combines magazine covers with classical paintings to create really interesting images of musicians. Mag+Art Project