Queens of the Superficial: The Work of Jasper Goodall

One of my favourite albums, ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ by Muse (2006), featured some stunning visuals to accompany its ludicrous science fiction concept and dramatic, electric soundscapes. Storm Thorgerson, renowned for his work with Pink Floyd as well as Biffy Clyro and Audioslave, dealt with the album cover featuring the space-age Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The single covers, however, were done by Jasper Goodall, a UK based illustrator who previously did work for ‘The Face’ magazine and currently tutors at the University of Brighton.

Here is the single cover for the album’s first electro rock hit Supermassive Black Hole. There is an Aubrey Beardsley influence at work here with this image, the glamourous eroticism is almost a modern take on the illustrations from Oscar Wilde’s ‘Salome’. It is very decorative and graphical at the same time. The heart symbols reflect the track’s lyrical content while the slick monotone colours and clean forms tie in with the processed sounds of Muse’s then-new club music direction.

Goodall’s style for the alternative single covers switched between the solid graphics above and the more ethereal look of this example, the cover for Knights of Cydonia. The horse makes for a good motif of the epic spaghetti western mood of the track and ties in with the galloping noises heard in the intro. The stars and swirling patterns of space cloud give the image a magical feel. The horse has been used by Goodall for other purposes outside of Muse; it has adorned fashion and is now being sold as a screen print from Goodall’s website. Goodall’s main intention is create pieces of art that reflect utopian dreams and fantasies; the impossible future.

I’ll leave you with my favourite song from ‘Black Holes..’ Map of the Problematique, which combines Depeche Mode synths, acid house piano and New Order basslines with Queen style harmonies and pounding drums. The Goodall designed single cover is a homage to the cover of Cream’s classic album ‘Disraeli Gears’, appropriate as Cream were considered one of the first ‘power trios’.