Album art is a very important part of music these days, with so much new music being released its really what draws the listener in before they’ve heard any of the actual content. It’s the initial impression you get before you buy. Of course there have been some iconic pieces over the years such as the ones seen in the featured image. We have the naked swimming child on Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and of course The Beatles’ Abbey Road. In this post I’m just gonna focus on some of the more recent work that I thought was quite iconic or has some powerful imagery.
10. SZA – Ctrl
This album cover is so cool. I think the old PC monitors are visually pleasing and may have the hidden meaning of getting rid of the old and in with the new. I think everything is set perfectly from the background settings to the fashion. A great album cover and definitely one of the best over the past few years.
9. Lil Uzi Vert – Lil Uzi Vert vs the World
Lil Uzi told Farris he wanted to base the art on the film “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” as the title of the project may suggest. If you’ve seen the film and also seen the music video for “P’s & Q’s” you will immediately see the similarities. He would base Scott and Ramona (from the film) as himself and Brittany. The people at the bottom are meant to represent Brittany’s past relationships. This features on the list as Scott Pilgrim vs The World is one of my favourite films and Uzi fully represents this in his project.
8. M.I.A. – /\/\ /\ Y /\
Photography & Art: Maya Arulpragasam, Aaron Parsons.
This album cover was released in 2010, it features on the list because I think M.I.A. was one of the first to create this sort of Internet culture and make it her own. I think it was honestly a turning point as artists started to begin to understand how important image on the internet was.
7. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die.
Photography & Art: Nicole Nodland, David Bowden, Lana Del Rey.
Lana Del Ray I think is the closest thing to time travel we have in music. Not just in her tracks and music videos but even her album artwork. This piece is so simple yet you still get hints of what sort of era of music you could be listening to.
6. Chance – Coloring Book.
Designer: Brandon Breaux
Brandon Breaux also designed the covers for 10 Day and Acid Rap and you can almost see the transitions between these 3 projects. 10 Day starts with Chance looking up into the sky, Acid Rap has Chance staring directly ahead, and Coloring Book shows Chance looking down. Almost to signify his journey to the top.
5. Dizzee Rascal – Boy in Da Corner
Photographer: Dean Chalkey
Possibly the most iconic picture in Grime’s history this had to feature on the list. This whole album represents a lot of UK culture and people say this song is a grime bible. The whole picture from the full black tracksuit to the black Nike’s this is Urban Britain.
4. Skepta – Konnichiwa
Konnichiwa was probably Grime’s most highly anticipated album since Boy in Da Corner, so I think the artwork had to be good. The work cleverly shows the Japanese flag, (with the white background and red dot), whilst still keeping it 100% British. We have the First Class stamp with Skepta’s face on and the first class London stamp.
3. Beyonce – Lemonade
Lemonade features so highly on this because this is more than an album cover, it’s essentially a movie. I believe the actually shot is a still image from the hour-long clip released with Lemonade. So the whole project was unbelievable and I like the way they even incorporated the album cover into it so well.
2. Young Thug – Jeffery
Photographer: Garfield Larmond
According to Larmond, him and Thugger were looking through some runway looks and came across a designer by the name of Alessandro Trincone. Young Thug instantly wanted it featured on the cover.
Since then Larmond has also been a part of Young Thug’s most recent project ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’.
- Lil Yachty – Teenage Emotions
Designer: Mihailo Andic
This is Yachty’s most recent piece of work and the most recent on this list, the album as a whole from the artwork to the actual content caused a lot of debate but this ranks as number 1 for me. The artwork represents all types of people you may meet through your time as a teenager which you can relate to. The cover features a gay couple, a female with vitiligo and teenagers of other ethnicities and also some of his friends in the back. I think the it simply promotes to believe in yourself and to be who you really are which is why it features at the number 1 spot.