Sarah Mary Chadwick Reworks Iconic Album Covers

14 September 2023 | 2:09 pm | Sarah Mary Chadwick

To celebrate the release of Sarah Mary Chadwick's new album, Messages To God, the New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist has reworked some iconic album covers for The Music.

Sarah Mary Chadwick

Sarah Mary Chadwick (Credit: Sian Stacey)

More Sarah Mary Chadwick More Sarah Mary Chadwick


This was the second Cat Power album I heard in the year 2000 - my friend had bought the first covers record on vinyl, and then I backtracked to all her previous albums. I have probably listened to this album nine thousand times. It really opened my mind up to what music could be, especially for a woman. It showed me that music could be powerful, punk and singular without being loud or screamed.

It seems strange now because Chan Marshall has been so copied and influential, but it really seemed like nothing I had ever heard at the time. Everything about it moved me profoundly. The cover is so referential and iconic. This record was my soundtrack to running around Wellington in the middle of the night, young, alone, drunk and alive, feeling like I could die. Everything was so overwhelmingly terrifying and beautiful.

I remember vividly watching the sun come up, sitting shivering, looking at the sea from the waterfront, clutching my Discman and listening to this, and it was like every second of my life was happening at the same time.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Sarah Mary Chadwick


Figure 8 was the first Elliott Smith record I heard, which is why I chose it over Either/Or or any of the others, even though if I were forced at gunpoint to choose one to take to the afterlife, it probably wouldn't be this one. My love for Elliott Smith is capital B big.

His songwriting, his musicianship and his story have loomed very large in my life since I encountered his music at 18 through a sweet, troubled chef I worked with at one of my first jobs, a cafe bar in Wellington where me and my best friends worked from 6 pm til 4 am for eight New Zealand dollars an hour. You could smoke inside on your break, and when the boss wasn’t playing techno because he thought it made us work faster, we would listen to Sebadoh, Cat Power, Nick Drake, Folk Implosion, Sonic Youth and Elliott Smith.

Elliott Smith made me want to try to do what he does. This cover is obviously so iconic, and I am one of the trillions of people who have stood in front of the mural in LA and had my picture taken. I felt very moved to have stood somewhere he stood.

Sarah Mary Chadwick


This soundtrack was huge and for a huge movie. Soundtracks were so pivotal when I was young - I guess cause also, pre-internet, it was one of the main ways you could discover new music. This movie, the actors, and the soundtrack are so inseparable in my mind - and I love the cover. In this movie, the teenage lives depicted were so different to my own rural, then suburban New Zealand adolescence, and listening to the soundtrack made me feel a little less...homely, haha.

Sarah Mary Chadwick


I tried to reimagine this one a little more because, as iconic as it is, I feel like it’s not a super satisfying image to look at.

This was the first CD I ever owned! I'm 100% time-stamping myself even more now, but goddamn, I loved this. In the car with my mum, I would have to leap over the seats from the back and turn the radio down and up again on the swear word in Local God the Everclear song, otherwise, it would've been banned in our house.

I was an insane Radiohead fan til I was about 16, so I DIED over Talk Show Host. All in all, it is a flawless masterpiece expertly crafted to appeal to the thirsty teenage mind. And before anyone says anything, I DO like Baz Lurhmann, I loved Moulin Rouge, I liked The Great Gatsby, we don't need to talk about Elvis, and no, I haven’t seen Australia.

Sarah Mary Chadwick

Sarah Mary Chadwick’s latest album, Messages To God, is out tomorrow (15 September) via Kill Rock Stars. You can pre-order the album here.