10 Great Album Covers, Chosen by Ivanna Borin of UnderWonder Content

Rojuu, Lady Gaga, Young Fathers and more

I never leave the house without headphones. Music is the soundtrack to my life. I remember back in Ukraine, in high school and university I would be in a class and secretly have one headphone in my ear. Growing up in Kyiv, I didn't have the luxury of going to record stores, but I had almost every version of the iPod filled to the last megabyte. In fact, I still have them and sometimes take them on my trips and listen to them on the airplane. Each is such a time capsule.

iPods made album covers special to me. While scrolling through your library, you didn't even need to look for a song name. You could just recognize the song by the album cover. There was so much magic in that.

As a director and artist, I love everything surreal and hyperstylized. I love reality being exaggerated or twisted. I love colors and unexpected or eye-popping color combinations. The majority of the album covers I've chosen here are based on that sensibility and created by artists I love. Maybe one day I will be able to create an album cover for somebody myself. That would be pretty cool. :)


Michael Jackson
Dangerous (1991)

Mark Ryden is an absolute genius. He is my favorite artist and a huge influence on my artistic work. In fact, I started oil painting because of him. This album cover is just ICONIC. I love the surreal world that Mark created and all of its minute details. Your eyes can wander forever. Michael Jackson and Mark Ryden—two legends combined together, what can be better?


Rojuu
Kor Kor Lake (2022)

I actually haven't listened to this album, but this cover by Filip Custic is mind-blowing. I want to live in this surreal, heavenly world. Also, if you zoom in, you can find a lot of cool little things.


Gunna
Ds4ever (2022)

Daniel Arsham is another one of my favorite artists. I'm fascinated by Daniel's ideas of playing with time, objects of past and present changing over periods of time, and how we would see these objects in the future. And I love his general clean and sophisticated aesthetic. I find it very inspiring. This album cover looks like a piece of art to me.


Lady Gaga
Chromatica (2020)

So bold, and so high fashion! Classic Lady Gaga. I love how dark this album cover is, yet the colors still pop so beautifully. It couldn't be more perfect. This cover was shot by German photographer Norbert Schoerner with fashion direction by Nicola Formichetti and stylist Marta Del Rio. The sci-fi/Mad Max aesthetic is brilliant. My favorite part is the knife-heel boot.


Travis Scott
Astroworld (2018)

I know a lot of people included this cover on their lists, but it is truly so great. David LaChapelle never disappoints. He is one of the biggest inspirations for me. His mind is like a Pandora's box of ideas that are all so unique. This album cover is so memorable and also sort of nostalgic. It invites you on a journey and makes you curious.


Young Fathers
Cocoa Sugar (2018)

This cover is so simple but so intriguing. Perfect silhouette and colors. Just so bold and cool. It was photographed by Julia Noni and designed by Tom Hingston. I would definitely have this one on my wall.


Rosalia
El Mal Querer (2018)

Rosalia is one of the few female artists who doesn't play it safe with her imagery. She always gives us something fresh, something we've never seen or heard before. I really love that about her. I discovered Rosalia as an artist from this album, and I've been a big fan since. This is another cover by Filip Custic. I find it so ethereal and unique.


Harry Styles
Fine Line (2019)

I have all of Tim Walker's photography books. His work is very close to me and things I like. Tim always creates magical worlds that don't exist and does it like nobody else. I love how playful and joyful this cover is. It makes me feel like there are no problems in life and everything is going to be OK. I also really love baby pink and blue as a color combination. I'm always drawn to anything that melds these two colors together.

I recently executive produced the new Harry Styles video "As It Was" through my company UnderWonder Content with our director Tanu Muino. Harry is such a kind and happy person. I wish we all as humans could be our authentic selves so effortlessly like him. Not only does Harry always carry confidence and creativity in a unique and magical way, but I feel like he plays a very important role in the society today. Harry gives permission for people to be themselves. Be weird, be normal, be feminine, be masculine, wear pants, wear skirts, be sexy, be shy, be extroverted or not. I mean anything, really. It's not even about letting people be themselves, but about EXPLORING and FINDING who you truly are. No rules, no judgment. It is very empowering. And that's exactly what this cover gives me—all the feelings above. Love this album so much, and lucky enough to have this record signed.


Cardi B
Invasion of Privacy (2018)

Cardi B is the funniest, sweetest woman we've worked with. When she comes in the frame, everybody's jaw drops. I'm sure even a one-take video of her performing would be fantastic. She is so captivating.

When this album came out, I remember myself going, "Wooow." This cover shot by talented photographer and director Jora Frantzis was stuck in my head for a long time. It is so bold and has so much character. Very powerful. The pop of yellow on the contrast with cooler tones is so pretty. Cardi's look here is iconic. I'm sure many girls recreated it for Halloween that year.


Balmorhea
Stranger (2012)

Balmorhea takes a special place in my heart. I saw them playing live for the first time in 2013 in Kyiv, Ukraine, in a small old opera house. If you ever have a chance to see them play, please do. It's the most beautiful experience ever! That concert left me speechless. When I say speechless, I mean I was left in such awe that I literally couldn't speak for half an hour after the show. Many years later I saw them in L.A. in the Moroccan Lounge. After the show I came up to them to sign the record and told them about that Kyiv show. They were very surprised to see somebody all the way from such a distant part of the world now in the venue in L.A. I always loved this album cover. I don't know why but it gives me a sense of peace and home. I'm definitely Balmorhea's biggest fan forever.

Art of the Album is a regular feature looking at the craft of album-cover design. If you'd like to write for the series, or learn more about our Clio Music program, please get in touch.

Ivanna Borin
Ivanna Borin is owners/EP and a director at Underwonder Content. Ivanna's career began in the world of advertising, where she was a brand manager for Dannon. While in Kiev, Ukraine, she began to direct commercials, but soon jumped the pond and immediately found herself directing three music videos for one of America's most iconic artists, Bon Jovi. These videos caught the eye of the music video industry and catapulted Ivanna into shooting back-to-back videos for such artists as Lil Nas X, Nicki Minaj, 5 Seconds of Summer, Zayn, Tyga, Good Charlotte and others.

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