Follow TV Tropes


Musical Squares

Go To

The cover of an album has various squares, each with a band members' face in them. Most commonly done with four squares, one in each corner, though variations with more or less are still fairly common. Similar shapes (rectangles, parallelograms, etc.) still count, and the squares may be slightly offset. Commonly used on singles, EPs, and Greatest Hits Albums.

The four-square variation is frequently a Stock Shout-Out to either The Beatles' album Let It Be or Andy Warhol's Shot Marilyns, five portraits of Marilyn Monroe painted in a riot of different colors, usually displayed in a grid of four.note 

A Sub-Trope of Face on the Cover.

Examples with four squares:

  • Animal Crossing: The cover art for "K.K. Fusion" features K.K. Slider, Peewee, Cherry, and Lopez playing guitar, bongo, keyboards, and drums, respectively. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the cover is modified to depict Peewee playing bass instead. The squares are slanted slightly, but it still counts.
  • The Beatles:
    • The American version of A Hard Day's Night uses an edited version of the UK cover that only shows the Beatles' foreheads. Unlike the UK release, which features 20 different portraits, the US cover only sports four.
    • The packaging of the 50th anniversary super deluxe edition of The White Album rearranges the Beatles' photos (which are placed in a row in the standard edition) in a similar manner to the Let It Be ones.
    • Let It Be, as mentioned above.
  • The Best Of by Blur, their Greatest Hits Album, depicts drawn portraits of the band members. Damon Albarn in his pre-Gorillaz days takes the bottom left square.
  • The self-titled debut EP by electronic duo Galantis features four squares with variants of the band's Seafox mascot.
  • Gorillaz:
    • Demon Days (Album), as a homage to Let It Be.
    • The digital cover of Humanz features art of the band members in similar fashion to Demon Days, with an Art Shift to 3D model versions of them.
  • Let it Be by Green Jellÿ is a parody of the Beatles' album above, replacing the Beatles' faces with Green Jelly members and a bedsheet.
  • The Fourth World by Maroon 5's predecessor Kara's Flowers features rounded squares that don't occupy the four corners.
  • Pet Shop Boys' 1990 album Behaviour is this, with two occupied by headshots of each member (one of them in rear view), one by a picture of the duo holding flowers, and the last one by that of an empty set with the flowers on the ground.
  • Undermind by Phish, which adds a purple tint and a grainy effect to the pictures. The cover was an intentional call-back to Let It Be because it was intended as Phish's last album, but the band wound up reuniting five years later.
  • Hot Space by Queen has the band's translucent heads on a solid, Warhol-esque background.
  • Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones features thermal images of the band members, albeit in a more uneven rectangular format.
  • t.A.T.u.'s Russian debut, 200 по встречной, features four mugshots of the two members as its cover.
  • Talking Heads:
    • Remain in Light adds a red digitally-added mask over each of the band members.
    • Speaking in Tongues features a variation; the general release's cover features four monochrome photos, each in a different color, of a lounge chair positioned at different angles.
  • Pop by U2 has the band members' faces rendered in a colorful, high-contrast Pop Art style.

Examples with some other number of squares:

  • Animal Crossing: "Space K.K." depicts a grid of nine different headshots of K.K. Slider; most of them are identical save for the one in the bottom-left, which depicts him with his eyes closed.
  • Donkey Rhubarb by Aphex Twin technically counts, as its cover is a 5x5 tile of close-ups of his signature grin.
  • The original UK version of A Hard Day's Night has 20 squares filled with pictures of The Beatles.
  • Ben Folds Five's sophomore album Whatever and Ever Amen has three orange tinted photos of the members.
  • The liner art for Tomorrow's Harvest by Boards of Canada certainly qualifies (even though some rectangles are mixed in).
  • Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage by Jars of Clay has the cover divided into 16 squares. Some of them are photos of the band members, and some are random scenery shots.
  • Marshmello's remix EP for his single "Alone" spoofs the Brady Bunch opening titles with a set of nine squares including himself, similarly-styled versions of each remixer, and the Monstercat mascot.
  • With only one member in the form of Andre Allen Anjos, RAC's EGO foregoes including photos of the band in favor of an abstract sculpture, but achieves a similar effect by being split into a set of individual squares.
  • All Killer No Filler by Sum 41 features a 4x4 grid of unfortunate-looking still-frames of the band members with Flapping Cheeks.
  • The cover for Ha! Ha! Ha! by Ultravox! feature five repeated rows of headshot portraits of the five members.
  • The initial release of Technodelic by Yellow Magic Orchestra features three neatly-arranged Polaroids of the band members in kabuki makeup.
  • The front, and back, of Fight Songs: The Music Of Team Fortress 2 shows head shots of each of the nine classes in a three by three grid. The front has them nice and tidy, while the back has them bruised and battered.

Examples from other media:

  • During the opening theme song of The Brady Bunch, the screen is divided into 9 squares, with the faces of the 8 family members in the outer ones and that of the housekeeper, Alice who's like family to them, showing up lastly in the center.
  • On The Masked Singer, the stage turns into this during the Parrot's performance of "What's My Scene?", with shifting, primary-coloured squares of his face.