I don’t know about you, but we miss going to Tower Records and flipping through row after row of CDs, perusing the labyrinth of genres the iconic store had to offer. While the new online-based music streaming industry is obviously more convenient for those who simply want to pick a song and pop in their headphones, the experience lacks the visual artistry our CD cases used to provide us. Today we celebrate the forgotten art of the album cover by giving you the Top 5 of this year’s releases. Here’s the list:
1. Everybody by Logic
Recognize the painting? Visual artist Sam Spratt parodies 16th-century painter Paolo Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana for American rapper Logic’s third studio album.
2. ISON by Sevdaliza
Sculptor Sarah Sitkin masterfully crafts a surrealism that is at times beautiful in its blending of textures and colors, and at other times positively grotesque. On her work for the Iranian-Dutch artist Sevdaliza, Sitkin writes: “The idea is based around Sevdaliza being the mother to herself and her past lives. It carries her vulnerability stoically. Her features distorted, some omitted, some emphasized. A new form is repeated through her 16 children [the album’s songs] surrounding her.”
3. Heartworms by The Shins
The artwork for The Shins’ fifth studio album comes to us from designer Jacob Escobedo, VP of creative design at Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Photos of algae formations on glass served as the creative impetus for the work, which evolved into a concept inspired by 19th-century Japanese art depicting yokai, the spirits, monsters, and demons of Japanese folklore.
4. Tears in the Club by Kingdom
In an interview with Artslant, Sam Rolfes (whose instagram is a must-see) describes the unabashedly raw and transfixing, 3D textural style we see in his cover art for Kingdom’s album: “if you’ve ever been to an intense music show and had the shit beaten out of you and felt like your insides were torn to shreds (figuratively), and come out the other end born again, it’s a deeply affecting thing that I’m trying to approximate. The obsession with skin and organic forms partially stemmed from my background as a portrait painter that used a wide range of oil media, solvents, and other liquids to approximate the depth and ruddy complex beauty of the substance wrapped around us.”
5. Messes by Stef Chura
If you’ve spent enough time scrolling through artsy instagram accounts, you’ve probably stumbled across the name Molly Soda before. The famed internet personality and webcam performance artist (whose website is more of a labyrinth than her cover art above) combines a vibrant, yet crude array of paint smears and images that exude feminism and internet culture. A fitting creation for an album entitled Messes, don’t you think?
Bonus: It’s Good to Be Differ-ent by Differ-Ent
It’s always hard to choose our favorites for a “Top __” article, and this album art was too intriguing to not include on our list. This hypnotizing work comes from the hand of Optigram, the London-based design studio of Manuel Sepulveda. From his website: “His work explores an ‘optical grammar’ of abstraction, camouflage, geometry and science fiction.”