Album covers have always been a really important facet of music for me. There is nothing better than finding great artwork on the front of a record, only to find out the music lives up to its cover. I always appreciate it when the color palette of the cover also coincides with the color the song gives off as well. Some of the most iconic album covers have been cornerstones of our modern zeitgeist, which further drives home the importance of the art of the album.
This is one of the most artistically interesting album covers to me because it perfectly matches the music in terms of its West Coast energy and eclectic style of Anderson .Paak during 2016! The artwork pretty much dictates how much .Paak has going on with his music and how beautiful and chaotic his 2016 album is.
Leon Bridges x Khruangbin
Texas Sun (2020)
I love the simplicity of this cover art because it also feels so close to home. That EP is perfect for a road trip and was one of the only projects I was playing while I was on tour. Driving through Amarillo with Texas Sun blasting in the background just made sense, similar to this album cover.
Toro y Moi
Boo Boo (2017)
I love how this cover art almost creates space similar to the vibe scape his music produces for some of this album. Toro y Moi always produces very creative album covers that seem to always match exactly what he has going on in the project, and I admire that about him as an artist.
As you can probably tell by now, I am a fan of simplicity in artwork and Kauai has this beautiful feeling to it despite the simple art of a sun rising on an ocean. The music from this album gives off a summer vibe, and I love how his album art gives off that same simplicity that one can attach their own feeling and emotion to.
Chance the Rapper
Acid Rap (2013)
I think this album art was instantly iconic. You show most people that artwork and they would know exactly who it was and where it came from. It fits the album perfectly. Some real Acid Rap heads will even claim there are secret images in the artwork, but I don't know about all that.
'Awaken, My Love!' (2016)
This is also one of those iconic album covers to me. The second I saw it, I knew the album was going to be a classic. There's psychedelic energy that is perfectly emulated through the artwork for this album. I also like how the cover has no text and stands alone with the eye-catching image.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
I had to include another very iconic album photo. This one has always been an eye-catching cover for me, and it is made even more interesting because of it being in the center of a fortune-telling conspiracy. I think the funniest thing about this cover is the sign that says K. West above Bowie, which sparked a whole community of people to claim Bowie somehow predicted Kanye. Why would Kanye be predicted through Bowie? Who knows. It's a cool cover regardless.
Electric Ladyland (1968)
Something about this photo makes it one of my favorite Hendrix album covers. It's by far his simplest album cover but still very impactful to me. The cover is a large departure from the flower-power psychedelia that usually represented Hendrix's albums, but makes sense because this album in particular feels like a more mature composition for Hendrix, fully supported by the simple but iconic album art.
This may be a single cover, but it is so catching to me. I love how the artwork seems retro and almost emblematic of an early '80s post-disco album, which it almost feels like musically. There's a level of cleanness that is only matched by the catchy bass synth throughout the track.
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.