Album covers analysed: Curtis Mayfield, There’s No Place Like America Today

Published: 5th Jan, 2009

Soul Music gets seriously political

curtis-mayfield

1975 was a great year for mainstream US rock music – Bruce Springsteen released Born To Run, Aerosmith gave the world Toys In The Attic. It was also the year that David Bowie made his best record, Young Americans. In amongst all the greats, as well, is this cracker from probably the most overtly political soul star of the time, Curtis Mayfield. The cover is a challenging stab at the American Dream, as a happy family cheerfully take a Sunday afternoon countryside drive on the billboard at top half of the sleeve. Yet the bottom half shows a much bleaker, terrifying vision of the US, as inner city residents make up a dole queue – or Welfare if you want to get all American about it – trundling alongside the massive billboard, challenging its message, saying something along the lines of “Shucks, are you KIDDING me!”. The title itself is proof enough that our stateside buddies probably do understand irony after all. A startling image, and a terrific record. In amongst the hardline political songs is the below gem –  even during the tough times, people need to get laid, he’s saying.

We think.

Josh Burt
About the author:

Josh has been a writer and journalist for the best part of twenty years and has written for modern staples like FHM and Cosmopolitan and The Daily Telegraph and The Sun. He has also written a small handful of so-so books that you can still buy.

2 Responses to Album covers analysed: Curtis Mayfield, There’s No Place Like America Today

  1. Dan Edmunds says:

    It looks a bit like a Banksy.
    Some more analysis? The foreshortening of the buildings doesn’t use correct perspective. The artist could be saying the social landscape is skewed or perhaps that the byzantine style reflects the feudal treatment of people?
    One thing is for sure, that is one album-cover-pie filled to the brim with filling (meaning).

  2. fffffffff says:

    its from a old great depression pic

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