Album Tattoos

Halsey


Halsey got a tattoo of a butterfly on her right forearm from artist Jon Boy in May 2018. Butterflies have appeared in her artwork throughout the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom album cycle, including the “Bad At Love” single cover and final installment tour poster. Butterflies are the emblem of the House of Spera, one of the fictional rival families whose stories she tells on the album.

The exact butterfly design that Halsey tattooed on her arm was created as a logo for the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour, appearing on a variety of merchandise and on her meet and greet backdrop.

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LIGHTS Poxleitner


Before her album and accompanying comic book series Skin&Earth was even released to the public, LIGHTS has already gotten a tattoo on the back of her wrist matching the one on the character Enaia Jin (“En”), who she based on herself. But fans kept getting introduced to more new characters in the Skin& Earth universe with every subsequent issue.

LIGHTS added another tattoo featuring three different logos on her upper left arm after all six volumes had been released and the whole story was revealed. The design and the placement of this tattoo matches characters in the story, just as the tattoo on her wrist did. The mysterious goddess Mitsuki has these three symbols on her arm and she marks En with them as well. The meaning of the symbols is explained by Mitsuki in Issue #6:

“She marked my arm with three symbols: a moon, a soul, and a sun, to remind me of the true order of life. We are born, we live, then we die and give back, skin and earth once again as one.”

Although En is an embodiment of LIGHTS, she jokes that her own look is based on the character rather than the other way around and that she’s cosplaying every day.

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LIGHTS Poxleitner


LIGHTS and several members of her crew got matching tattoos on March 5,2018 during her We Were Here Tour. Artist Scott Sonner inked them at Divine Machine Tattoo in Buffalo, NY during a day off in the middle of the tour.

She has tattoos for many of her albums, but had never gotten a tattoo specifically for a tour until this one. However this tour was especially meaningful. Following the final show on April 8th she wrote: “That’s a wrap on #WeWereHereTour holy shit the best tour of my life, I love you all more than I can explain. I love my crew and band and am so proud of the last two and half months!”

The red gas can tattoos are inspired by the “We Were Here” music video and issue #4 of the Skin&Earth comic book, which both tell the same story. LIGHTS’ character Enaia Jin carries around a gas can from out of a gas station convenience store and eventually uses it to light a truck on fire. The gas can in their tattoo is embellished with the logo for LIGHTS’ Skin&Earth album. This exact design appears on the We Were Here tour t-shirts. Interestingly, the gas can in the video and comic has a different logo featuring a bird and an oil rig.

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    Iggy Azalea


    Iggy Azalea announced that her next album would be called Surviving the Summer (the name was later changed slightly to Survive the Summer) in November 2017 and in December she revealed a new tattoo of the album’s initials “STS” on her right knuckles in the same font as the album art.

    These “STS” tattoos are the third time that Iggy has put an album title on her hands.  The previous two, The New Classic and Digital Distortion, were on the sides of her fingers.  In each case she got the tattoo well before the album’s release date, and for Digital Distortion the album never ended up getting released.  In an interview with 103.5 KISS FM she joked about what she might do if Survive the Summer never saw the light of day:

    I have my knuckles tattooed….and they say “STS” which stands for “Survive the Summer” which is the title of my album that I’m going to put out in summer — fingers crossed, or this tattoo is going to have to get changed. It’s just going to be super awkward. Or I may have to get my other hand tattooed.

    She chose the title Survive the Summer because the songs represent all of the vibes and emotions of summertime.  She told Extra:

    It’s way heavier rap, a bit grimier. Aggressive, twerkable, very sexy. It’s summer! To me, if summer was personified I think that summer is hot and sexy and aggressive. And you go out with your friends and you have a good time and you have romances and crazy adventures.

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    Iggy Azalea


    Iggy Azalea’s right arm half-sleeve includes this classical bust statue.  The dark blurry lines on the left side serve the practical purpose of covering up her old “Trust Your Struggle” tattoo but it also symbolizes the concept of Digital Distortion.

    This is the second tattoo that she got representing her album Digital Distortion, which would have been her sophomore studio album but never ended up getting released. She also has the album title on her fingers.

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      Iggy Azalea


      Much like her “The New Classic” tattoos on her right hand fingers which spell out the name of her debut album, Iggy Azalea tattooed “Digital Distortion” on her left hand fingers in anticipation of her sophomore album, which was never released.  She got the tattoo from artist Rafael Valdez in March 2016.  Her then-fiance Nick Young tagged along and got an unrelated tattoo on his arm.

      Iggy’s tattoo covers up two of her old “Live Love A$AP” finger tattoos which she had removed.  “Digital” is on her ring finger and “Distortion” is on her middle finger.  “I covered up my old finger tattoos since they were light enough from the laser removal. Still working on the pinky though,” she tweeted.

      The album title “Digital Distortion” represents how facts become warped in the age of social media and clickbait journalism.  Iggy has often ranted about news stories she sees about herself which are either untrue or aren’t newsworthy.  Even though the album was never released, the term “Digital Distortion” still means a lot to her.  In response to a fan who asked if she planned to remove the tattoo, she tweeted:

      Digital distortion is an ongoing fact of life in the internet. Unless the internet starts being honest it’s relevant as fuck to me.

      Digital Distortion‘s release was pushed back multiple times for different reasons.  After her breakup with Nick Young, she scrapped a whole album because she felt that the songs she’d previously written no longer reflected what she wanted to say.  Her label was underwhelmed by the chart performance of the singles that were released.  Eventually the whole project was shelved.  Iggy switched to a new record label and a new management team and announced that her next album would be called Survive the Summer instead.

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      Katy Perry


      Katy Perry continued her tradition of getting tattoos for each of her albums by getting this Prism tattoo in March 2015. In each case she has turned a motif from the album into a cutesy cartoon face complete with eyelashes.  She has a strawberry for One of the Boys, a peppermint candy for Teenage Dream, and now a rainbow-colored triangular prism for Prism. The adorable design was created by tattoo artist Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy.

      “I always bring Bang Bang in for my most special tattoos—the ones my touring team and I get at the end of a tour to commemorate another successful journey together. Each time, he’s created the definitive symbol of that era of my life.”

      She pays Bang Bang to join her on tour for weeks at time so that he can tattoo her whole crew and entourage. It’s important to her that everyone involved with the planning and production of the tour has the opportunity to get inked because the tattoos are a bond that they share. She told The Project:

      “It comes towards the end of the tour because it’s kind of the payoff. We’re all like ‘we’ve done 100-plus shows, let’s shed some blood together’ we do it as like a family thing.  It’s to commemorate.”

      The Prismatic World Tour lasted for well over a year with 149 shows in six continents from May 2014 to October 2015.  Although the tattoo marks the successful completion of the Prism album cycle, the tour wasn’t over when she got inked at the end of the European leg in March 2015. After a few weeks at home, she went back on the road for her final shows in Asia and Latin America.

      Katy is planning on getting another tattoo with her crew for Witness, but hasn’t gotten inked yet since Witness: The Tour is still going on.  She suggested some sort of eye design since eyes have been the most prominent symbol for this era. The Witness album cover features Katy with an eye in her mouth and eye motifs have also been used for her stage backdrops and costumes.

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      Florence Welch


      Florence Welch added the words “Always Lonely” above the eye on the back of her left arm in May 2018.  The phrase seems to be a lyric from her upcoming album High as Hope as she has been selling “Always Lonely” t-shirts in one of the album pre-order packages. Her feelings of loneliness are one of the central themes of the album though it’s not all negative. She wrote in a press release:

      There’s a lot of love in this record, loneliness too, but a lot of love.”

      Regarding lead single “Hunger,” she says:

      “This song is about the ways we look for love in things that are perhaps not love, and how attempts to feel less alone can sometimes isolate us more. I guess I made myself more vulnerable in this song to encourage connection, because perhaps a lot more of us feel this way than we are able to admit. Sometimes when you can’t say it, you can sing it.”

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      Hayley Williams


      This zig-zag line on Hayley Williams’ left wrist resembles two teeth with a gap in the middle. She got the tattoo in May 2017 to celebrate the release of Paramore’s album After Laughter.

      Hayley’s gap-toothed smile became a symbol of the band during the After Laughter album cycle because their single “Fake Happy” features the lines “If I smile with my teeth / Bet you believe me /If I smile with my teeth / I think I believe me.” The song is about Hayley trying to appear happy despite her inner turmoil.

      She took a particular liking to one fan’s cartoon-style drawing of the band where she appears to be faking a smile. She started spamming her instagram profile in March 2017 with various croppings of the drawing showing just her face and just her teeth. It was her way of teasing about the song, which hadn’t been released yet. Fans went went wild with the “Awkward Hayley” drawing, turning it into a meme. The band even put the two-toothed smile on their stage trunk during Tour One.

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