Songs including Young Americans, Alison, Life During Wartime, Bizarre Love Triangle and She’s Lost Control have been artistically reimagined as literal versions of the releases.
Each pulp fiction magazine creates an original narrative from elements of the iconic songs in all of their mid-century paperback glory.
David Bowie himself said his 1975 release of Young Americans didn’t come with an established plot but more of an overall representation of restless youth.
Speaking to NME in a 1975 interview about the piece he shared:
“No story. Just young Americans. It’s about a newly-wed couple who don’t know if they really like each other. Well, they do, but they don’t know if they do or don’t.”
Contrasting the metaphorical approach taken by Bowie, the conventional pulp novel paints a new picture with its ostentatious cover. Teeming with his evocative lyrics, the pairing of the conventions creates a seamless narrative that anyone would love to dive in to.
The same can be said for graphic representation of Elvis Costello’s 1977 release Alison which reflects Alcott’s sublime ability to take lyrics out of their context and apply them to his period-based creations.
Alcott has encompassed the colourful language and enticing period fonts so well that they could have come right out the provocative illustrators in the ’50s. No wonder, he’s been at his craft for a while.
Speaking to Open Culture, he shared the following:
“I decided that I wanted the text to look like the text I’d seen in an ad for a John Lennon album, so I copied that font style. I didn’t know that the font style had a name, but I knew that my instincts for how to draw those letters didn’t match how the letters ended up looking.”
Alcott also highlights the detail and inseparability of plotline and artistry within the original Pulp magazines, an element he has detailed in his own contemporary recreations of the songs.
“I’d never understood pulp design until I started this project. As I started looking at it, I realised that the aesthetic of pulp is so deeply attached to its product that it’s impossible to separate the two. And that’s what great design is, a graphic representation of ideas.”
Alcott describes his ability to capture the essence of the pieces so well as a result of his unadulterated admiration of the artists who originally released them.
“I know I could find more popular contemporary artists to make tributes for, but these are the artists I love, I connect to their work on a deep level, and I try to make things that they would see and think “Yeah, this guy gets me.”
My favourite thing is when people think the pieces are real. That’s the highest compliment I can receive.”
All images can be purchased from Todd Alcott’s Etsy store.
Via Open Culture.