The 20 best album covers of 2016

11. Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

A serene scene by illustrator Meredith Wilson captures Frankie Cosmos’ magic

Illustrator Meredith Wilson crafted the cover for Frankie Cosmos’ album ‘Next Thing’, including the artist and album name in the environment itself. Showcasing Cosmos – but not making her the main focus – is a nod to Cosmos’ songwriting style and taking influence from her every day environment. The ‘Thank You’ and dog paw illustrations are also a tribute to Cosmos’ previous works. 

12. S U R V I V E – RR7349

‘Stranger Things’ scorers keep with an unsettling aesthetic on ‘RR7349’

Perhaps the best thing to come out of Netflix hit show ‘Stranger Things’ was the score, produced by Texan duo S U R V I V E. ‘RR7349’ was their second full length album, with Bryan Olson creating the otherworldly cover art. Experimenting with colour and collage, Olson takes his cues from the past to bring a nostalgic twist to his forward-thinking work.

13. Venetian Snares – Traditional Synthesizer Music

A traditional but eye-catching design adorns the latest release from Venetian Snares

Perhaps signifying how Venetian Snares is not one to follow the crowd, the cover art for ‘Traditional Synthesizer Music’ is traditional with a fresh and modern approach. As an LP comprised of songs created and performed live exclusively on a modular synthesizer with no overdubbing or editing, the simplicity of the artwork mimics the music’s established approach.

14. Wilco – Schmilco

Illustrator Joan Cornellà brings his trademark black comedy to the forefront

Illustrator Joan Cornellà is well-known among fans of satirical comment and illustration. Creating this album cover in collaboration with Stefania Lusini, it’s a perfect example of Cornellà’s black humour and ability to not take the world around him too seriously. Speaking of his work, Cornellà commented; “In my comics, characters are like plastic and always have a big smile even though horrible things happen to them constantly.”

15. Pinkshinyultrablast – Grandfeathered

A bold and futuristic delivery on Pinkshinyultrablast’s latest cover

The cover for Pinkshinyultrablast’s ‘Grandfeathered’ is a notable nod to the vapor wave trend that has taken over over the past year. Pastel colours and simple 3D shapes evoke a sense of intrigue, whilst water is used as a reflective component. The band’s already established logo is placed in the top, right-hand corner. 

16. Mutual Benefit – Skip a Sinking Stone

A graceful and intricate illustration depicts the themes throughout this Mutual Benefit album

With a metaphor title ingrained in hope and the determination to carry on even if life is getting you down, the artwork for Mutual Benefit’s ‘Skip a Sinking Stone’ is a literal translation of the music. Showcasing a stone being skipped across an ocean, the illustration also cleverly includes his name as well as the title of the album in the artwork.

17. Poliça – United Crushers

It’s hard to turn away from this striking and colourful piece from Poliça

This cover art features singer Channy Leaneagh covered in a tar-like lava, her pregnant belly round and protruding, her fingers cut from the hand. The framed, illustrated border allows the disquieting imagery to come into full focus, urging the viewer to consume it in its entirety. 

18. Rihanna – ANTI

Roy Nachum plays with the metaphor of opening our eyes

The cover for Rihana’s ‘ANTI’ was created by Israeli-born artist Roy Nachum as part of his ‘Blind’ series. Largely focusing on the concepts of inner and outer vision and the metaphor of “opening” viewers’ eyes, his work mostly includes subjects with obstructed eyesight and corresponding messages in Braille.

19. Ryley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

The sun, the moon and stars collide on this cover for songwriter Ryley Walker

Suggesting the passing of time – of the sun setting into darkness – the illustration for Ryley Walker’s ‘Golden Sings That Have Been Sung’ is a poignant and interesting piece that calls for a reaction from the viewer. Featuring the use of gorgeous shades of colour, it compliments Walker’s ability to bring shimmering warmth to his audience. 

20. GoGo Penguin – Man Made Object

The cover art for Jazz group GoGo Penguin takes its inspiration from the Bauhaus movement

Featuring three predominant colours, the cover for GoGo Penguin’s ‘Man Made Object’ could adhere to the three members of the Mancunian group. It’s also brilliantly influenced by the Bauhaus movement, suggesting more of an electronica inspiration on the record itself. 

Related articles: