Prototyping | Animation | Craft
NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES ANNIVERSARY ALBUM
The band NERD, made up of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Hayley, create a genre bending album with an overtly political message. Williams writes, “This is a Trump-Era protest album.” Each track intersects politics, collaborative techniques, and multilayered production. The lyrics and sampling borrow memories from 20th-century politics, like the shooting of Treyvon Martin, the Baltimore Riots, and the potential erection of the infamous Mexican border wall. NERD pulled in other artists like Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna in collaboration to this album as a stand of solidarity calling for policy changes in the US. Finally, the production of the album features intentional layering of multiple genres, from punk & funk to hip hop & pop, drop listeners into a chaotic hellscape that parallels the complicated social and political realities of the US.
While re-designing the No_One Ever Really Dies album, I hoped to highlight the strict political tones of anger and dismay while balancing the somewhat fun, chaotic energy of the music itself.
ORIGINAL ALBUM ART
While I believe the original album is successful with tone and stark communication, I think the intentional choices and multi-dimensional aspects of the tracks are somewhat lost.
Create an overarching system for the album that highlights the politics, collaboration, and production present at its core.
The final outcome of the album cover features a fever dream hellscape. This hellscape depicts a dystopic future of the US, perhaps one that we’re not too far from. The detailed illustration parallels the detailed production of each track on the album. Each element of the illustration is inspired by visuals described in the lyrics of the album.
I began my illustration process with rough watercolor and marker sketches. I landed on a capitalist, power hungry monster (I'll let you decide who it resembles). These developed further with compositional sketches. The final composition was then developed into a digital sketch that I expanded and added color to.
For my conceptual Anniversary tour, I hoped to leverage the 4-year anniversary and the re-election tour of Donald Trump. I hoped to market the album tour as one of political friction-- a stand.
The poster to the left features the original album art while the right poster exhibits the power-hungry monster in its entirety.
A Spotify and Instagram campaign including collateral with monsters wrapping and chaos unfolding. The Spotify visualizer features a walking lemon ode to the first single of the album, Lemon.
©2021 by Aya Muse Kusumoto