Thursday, April 21, 2011

Disco:Very Dissects Album Covers - Part One

Artist: The Steve Miller Band
Album: Let Your Hair Down
This witty album cover depicts a well-dressed bald man with a rabbit on top of his head. In the background is a woman in a red gown. There is no connection as to why the bald man and the woman in the background are dressed in fancy evening wear. Perhaps they will be watching a special performance of the rabbit which perches on the man's head?

Directly underneath the sitting rabbit is a ladder, which was used by the rabbit, one assumes, to climb atop the bald man's head. This seemingly unconnected image becomes clear once the viewer reads the name of the album, Let Your Hair Down. The title references the action in the photo in that a rabbit is sometimes called a hare; thus, this man will be letting his hair (hare) down via the tiny ladder provided. The irony is intensified due to the man in the foreground being bald, meaning, he has no hair--and yet he does have a hare.

The conundrum bears the risk of exasperating the viewer until one explores what the album title means: letting your hair down is a common English-language phrase meant to suggest that one is too uptight and, therefore, needs to let loose or unwind somehow, usually accomplished by letting one's hair down--for instance, if the uptight person is a woman whose hair has been tied into a tight bun. This is a device used in many feature films and commercials wherein an uptight woman, say, a professional Librarian, will take off her glasses and unfasten her hair, thus making her more sexually available to the male (and in some cases, female) population. Many political pundits speculate that this is one of the main attributes which sustains the popularity of former Governor Sarah Palin. Most of her male followers are hoping that she will loosen her tightly-knotted hair-do and allow herself to become more available for sexual favors.

Because this is an album of blues-bases rock-and-roll, we must explore the context of the title as it relates to the genre of music it illustrates. One of the significant qualities of blues-based rock-and-roll is that it allows one to feel free and relaxed, usually with dancing or by imbibing alcoholic beverages during a rock concert. Thus, this album of blues-based rock-and-roll by former hit artist The Steve Miller Band will allow the listener to kick up their heels (though not literally) and let their hair down due to the music's pounding rhythms and sexually-suggestive lyrical content. The visual depiction of the rabbit on the man's head reinforces the notion that this album will encourage the listener to avoid the constraints of society which, presumably, corner the listener into taking on uptight or safe behavior. Thus the album cover sketches the theme of the album within the boundaries of a simple photograph.

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