Friday, November 15, 2013


The Cover Similarity Game – Round 1 (Paul Cusick X Saga)

This new series of article on Progshine will try to show to all of you readers some album covers that look oddly similar.

Sometimes is just because it’s a common idea, sometimes it’s a hommage, sometimes it’s just to make fun of a famous cover, but sometimes… it’s just because it was a great fucking idea and nobody (in this case the ‘designer’) thought that that anyone would notice the similarity between their art and that unknown band.

I’ll try to cover some weird territories here: Prog Rock album covers against other genres of music covers.
This series will appear always I find some similar album covers, so your help is much appreciated. Send me suggestions on, comment below or in our Facebook page or Twitter page.

Today’s article is about the ‘Manual Phoropter Experience’.

The Manual Phoropter Machine
The cover itself is not that clever in any way, it’s just a ‘normal’ picture really.
The machine it’s not that outstanding as well, it’s just a Manual Phoropter used by eyes doctor to see if everything’s alright with your sight.

The idea was used before many times, including magazines.

The first album cover I know that has ever used this was the UK Prog musician Paul Cusick in his album Focal Point (2009).

Click on the cover to enlarge it
Then, 3 years later, Canadian Neo Prog band Saga used basically the same artwork on their album 20:20 (2012), just that they used Albert Einstein as the person behind the ‘glasses’.

Click on the cover to enlarge it
There was some heated discussions on Paul’s Facebook page at the time of Saga’s album released. And even Saga’s designer was there.

I honestly cannot say that was a simple copy of the work, or even that Saga knew about Paul Cusick. But yes, exactly the same image was used for both covers.

We can go a bit further in this topic and find another one, in fact they’re two. Early this year the pop singer Justin Timberlake just released his new album called… The 20/20 Experience (2013) and the cover? Well, take a look and see by yourself:

Click on the cover to enlarge it
But Timberlake wasn’t really satisfied, so five months later he released The 20/20 Experience 2 (2013) and the cover…:

Click on the cover to enlarge it
As I mentioned before, a ‘normal’ idea. Paul Cusick’s artwork was done by Martin Roberts and Mark Nowicki, Saga’s by designer Alexander Mertsch and in the album’s booklet it says: “Front Cover Concept by Dean Meehan”. Really??? Justin Timberlake’s was done by Doug Lloyd and Jason Evans. Apparently nothing wrong or anything similar between all of them.

I tend to be on Paul’s side since beginning, but, as I said, it is a normal idea. Then, researching for this article I came across another ‘similarity in Saga’s covers.

Art In America was an American  band that released a Neo Prog/AOR album in the early 80's called Art In America (1983) and then disappeared.
The album’s artwork, as you can see below, is quite nice.

Click on the cover to enlarge it
Then eleven years later Saga decided to release a compilation album, so The Very Best Of… (1994) was released, and guess how’s the cover looks?

Click on the cover to enlarge it
‘Similar’ huh? I couldn't find any info about this two covers. Maybe it was the same artist huh? Who knows! If you have this albums please send me some scan or info.
Well, take your own conclusions and comment below!

See you on the next The Cover Similarity Game!

1 comment:

  1. I designed the Saga cover.. Nobody had ever heard of, or seen the Paul Cusick cover before I designed it. I still have no clue who the guy is. But I know Paul became famous & sold some CD's because of the Saga cover similarity! lol I'm pretty sure that Justin Timberlake had never heard of or seen the Saga CD or Paul's for that matter... Great minds think alike I suppose...... And Paul wasn't the first band to use the same idea..


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