Danish band Lukas Graham has a smash hit on its hands with "7 Years," and now their U.S. debut album has arrived in stores. Not only is the track listing different from their overseas debut, but the artwork is different too -- because apparently, an image of a topless woman just wasn't going to fly in America.
The album cover depicts a kid in a museum looking at a 1992 painting by Danish artist Lars Helweg called The Lady with the Bottles. The painting is based on a nude picture of the Swedish movie star Anita Ekberg that appeared in Playboy magazine in the fifties.
"The original album art is just that painting, but because there are naked breasts on it, that will not be a possibility in America," says Lukas Graham Forchammer, the band's frontman and main songwriter. "So we came up with this very cute [idea] of hanging the naked painting in a museum, and then having a kid that presumably is me, between seven or 11, being surprised at looking at this naked woman."
On the U.S. album, the kid has his back to the camera as he stares at the painting: his arm is bent at just the right angle to cover up the woman's bare boobs and the rest of her nude body.
Why did the band choose that painting in the first place? Nostalgia.
Lukas tells ABC that "it's not even in a museum," adding, "It's in a tiny little cafe close to where I was born, and it was the most fancy restaurant I remember from my childhood. That's where we would go and get a steak dinner."
In addition to "7 Years," the rest of the album features some poignant and very personal songs, inspired by the death of Lukas' Irish father, Eugene, in 2012. But there are also upbeat and funny songs, such as "Drunk in the Morning" and "Strip No More." Lukas says it's all about combining those two emotions.
"We try to balance the sad and the happy because that is what life is." he tells ABC Radio. "You can't be all happy and all elated. It's too much at the end of the day. And I also find it very depressing, sometimes, showing up at concerts and then it's all sad love songs. It's like, 'Get a grip! I'm dying [here]!'"
The band just kicked off their North American headlining tour this week -- they'll play Houston, TX tonight.
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