In Our Lifetime was Marvin Gaye’s sixteenth and last Motown/Tamla album. It came at a low point for the artist commercially, personally, and artistically. It represented something of an artistic comeback. He was ready to leave his ex-brother-in-law Berry Gordy’s stable of artists and gave it his best effort on his way out in 1981.
The deeply weird cover was designed and executed by Neil Breeden with input from Gaye. Marvin frequently spoke of the two Marvins: one angelic, the other demonic. The cover is particularly creepy because Marvin was shot dead by his father in 1984; a mere three years later.
There’s an odd but interesting essay about the cover art at Reading Vessel. This image comes from that post:
I’m pretty sure Breeden and Gaye were not predicting events that took place in the 21st Century. As Athenae said the other day, the world has always been on fire.
In Our Lifetime is only available on YouTube in the playlist format. It’s worth a listen: