Judging Albums By Their Covers

Massive Attack: Mezzanine

The mono album cover obsession/examination continues, this time looking at Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. I can’t say I’ve ever been a big fan of the whole ‘trip hop’ scene, but Massive Attack are a whole different animal, as ably demonstrated by the cover to Mezzanine. If listening to the album conjures anything immediately, it’s a creeping menace that builds as the music progresses. The heavy metal beetle on the cover certainly qualifies for the creepy bit, it’s also a brilliant way to express what you can expect from the music. It’s an amazing graphic representation of the juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness, calmness and anxiety, the brooding intensity of the songs. Both graphics and sounds are confrontational, perfectly complimenting each other.

The artwork is a collaboration between designer Tom Hingston, fashion/art photographer Nick Night and Massive Attack band member 3D. Tom Hingston had this to say about the collaboration.

“The band’s collective philosophy was born out of hip-hop and club culture. 3D, a former graffiti artist, was looking for a different way to work. He came up with themes and words applicable to the project, so that designer, photographer and band could push and pull each other in different directions until we were in a place we were all happy with.”

Happy seems an unusual choice of word for such dark and menacing imagery. Like the music though, there’s a lot to discover when looking deeper into the cover. It may not be immediately apparent that the ‘beetle’ is actually an intricate organic/metallic sculptural piece. I also have to mention that this beautiful overall mono colour concept is topped off inside with a plain vibrant orange CD disk. It juxtaposes nicely against the rest of the graphics, a concept I have stolen/borrowed on many occasions for my own work 🙂

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