Music Article

They Got The Look

Album covers that rock -- EW spotlights cover art by new releases from Gwen Stefani and A Perfect Circle

Album covers that rock

Album covers just ain't been the same since vinyl's big ole canvas went the way of the eight-track. Still, not all major-label acts default to boring glamour shots (yes, Usher, we're talkin' to you). Here are some recent eye-catching covers trying to push the artsy envelope.

GWEN STEFANI
Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
(Interscope)
To complete the trippy Alice in Wonderland vibe, Stefani requested Japanese Harajuku girls. Says photographer Nick Knight, ''Two [of them] melted into the psychedelic squirrel in the middle.'' Dude, we love psychedelic squirrels. A

A PERFECT CIRCLE
eMOTIVe
(Virgin)
Using an apocalyptic concept from APC's Maynard James Keenan and miniatures built by a movie-biz friend, designer Steven R Gilmore digitally composed a four-panel foldout of a dark cityscape. ''As it folds out,'' he says, ''there are reinterpreted WWII billboards that say things like, 'Everything's going to be all right.''' B+

HANDSOME BOY MODELING SCHOOL
White People
(Atlantic)
''We were ripping off Stanley Kubrick's Killer's Kiss,'' explains photographer Terry Richardson of his portrait of Prince Paul and Dan the Automator. ''Some mannequins have sexually provocative poses, but I don't think you can see them.'' B+

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
Want Two
(DreamWorks/Geffen)
For the companion to 2003's Want One, the piano man cast himself as a yarn-spinning maiden and even drew the ornate border. ''When I knew there would be a second [album], I realized: I'm 30 years old — if I'm gonna do drag, it's gotta be now,'' says Wainwright. A-

Originally posted Dec 13, 2004 Published in issue #797 Dec 17, 2004 Order article reprints