Left: Beck’s cover for Le Grand Meaulnes. Right: Ryan Adams’s Dracula.Courtesy of Penguin UK.
For their My Penguin promotion, in which readers are encouraged to design their own book covers on blank-faced copies of Penguin Classics, the British branch of Penguin Books has asked seven musicians to design their own covers for books they love. Beck, who already tried a similar stunt with the DIY cover for his latest album, The Information, chose a semi-obscure French novel, Le Grand Meaulnes by Henri Alain-Fournier. Needless to say, his cover is impeccably designed, as befits the art-and-design-obsessed son of a Fluxus artist. We would expect nothing less.
The real surprise is Ryan Adams’s cover for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A dark and brooding oil painting, it seems to depict a Transylvanian wood with a full moon overhead and something burning in the distance. Blood red and orange seep through the brown. It’s quite disturbing and, actually, not bad at all. We’d be willing to bet that Adams spent more time on this painting than he does on a lot of his songs.
My Penguin: The Bands [Penguin.co.uk]Beck and Ryan Adams Design Books, Don’t Embarrass Themselves