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Neko Case is an American singer songwriter famed for her contributions to the alt-country genre and her work with band The New Pornographers. Middle Cyclone is her 5th studio album and, belying her low profile, it entered the Billboard charts at #3 on release.

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The cover art has attracted a lot of attention and its obvious why – it’s not everyday you see a striking redhead on top of a muscle car with a hardcore sword in her hand. The first thing I thought was that one of the pin up girls from a WWII fighter jet had come to life and decided to join the combat.

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The car featured on the cover is a 1968 Mercury Cougar, a design and motoring icon of its era. By way of tribute to the recently departed Farrah Fawcett, here’s a 1975 TV advertisement for the Cougar featuring the foxy golden girl.

Is it just me, or did they really know how to advertise cars back then? Cars and sexy women have always been inextricably linked, in that most men invest in the former to get the latter. It’s hard to believe that when Case formed the concept for this cover art she didn’t have in mind Tawny Kitaen’s sensational work in Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again video.

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Of course, 80’s model Kitaen would go on to battle drug addiction and in 2002 she was charged with committing domestic violence against her then-husband, baseball player Chuck Finley. She beat him with a stiletto heel.

Case wields a sword instead and the stony determination on her face would surely instill fear in the most formidable of opponents. It’s a strong, memorable image that could date rather quickly due to the annoying indie typography. However, the unbeatable trinity of a muscle car, medieval weaponry and a redhead will probably ensure that most male viewers don’t even notice.