Now that you’ve seen some of the worst, let’s get to the best. I almost put David Crosby’s album Croz (above) on the worst list before I realized how badass it was, and that it transcends being terrible to be the visual equivalent of a leather jacket and aviators. So here’s the rest of the great covers from the year.
Dum Dum Girls – Too True
There is just an alluring look to this cover from the bold colours to the hypnotic stare. The whole thing just stands out really strongly, besides the text which is in questionable white without outline. As far as covers go, even if it’s nothing unbelievable it makes the album stand out and that’s the least it can do.
Broken Bells – After The Disco
This oil-based cover is mesmerizing at the very least. The way they pay homage to their last cover looks great and the mix of colours here is absolutely stunning. The artists work is so life-like if I couldn’t tell it was oil based I’d swear it was a photo.
Young The Giant – Mind Over Matter
The black and white, the mysterious shroud and the stark feel of this cover make it one of the more gripping of the year. While it may stand out less, it has a more powerful thought-provoking quality.
Warpaint – Warpaint
This is by far one of my favourite covers this year. The acid-tone of it, with the blue-purple-green wash, mixing each member of the band in layers. Each time I see it I start on a different person and it carries a kind of motion with this shrinking/growing look. The whole thing is capped off with the old-movie-poster-esque border and bold title giving it an 80’s noir feel that carries into the music greatly.
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
This album has a strange, sixties children’s book cover look to it. Both simple and psychedelic it is a very cerebral piece of art. The font works perfectly here, a strange note but I rarely feel so firm about how well font work. I’d love to see more coves in this style soon.
Temples – Sun Structures
There is something about this cover that seems both real and unreal. The shot looks like a real photo yet the trees are perfectly symmetrical. The house has a strange perspective shot look to it too. The cover really stands out amazingly despite its blander colour pallet. One of the more entrancing covers this year.
Jessica Hoop – Undress
It’s rare to feel such admiration for an homage but Hoop’s cover pays such great homage to the Beatles’ Revolver, while also being just different enough. It combines the Beatles cover with a film poster look for one of the best hand-drawn covers this year.
Phantogram – Voices
Whether it’s the black and white, use of lines and darkness or just bold look of this cover, it always seems to catchy my eye. I called Warpaint’s album noir, this is the noir cover of the year.
Wild Beasts – Present Tense
I never thought the shotgun approach to covers would work until I saw this cover. I always kind of loved it because I thought it was just so unique and would give the band the stand-out look a cover needs. Good experiment and this time it definitely worked.
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Simple yet bold, the new St. Vincent cover has Clarke sitting at the top of her art-rock throne with a very regal look to her. The usual dead white space replaced with a weird lattice of hexagons to give it a slightly off-putting feel.
Metronomy – Love Letters
While Metronomy’s latest record left a little to be desired, their album art didn’t. The old-school sixties look is delicious and reeks of psychedelic nostalgia. Definitely one that could hide in a collection of old records.
Band Of Skulls – Himalayan
This absolutely stunning cover comes from Band Of Skulls and while it wasn’t designed from their bassist again, it does seem to mimic a bit of the exploding inkblot look of their first album. The cover is one of the few to use gold and silver this year and stands out great because of it.
Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is
While I’m not a huge fan of Taking Back Sunday, I think their latest cover is one of the best I saw all year. This super old-school looking cover is a nice throwback and is one I’d consider buying for the art alone.
Todd Terje – It’s Album Time
This cover from Todd Terje is one of my favourites of the year. Every time I saw it I thought it was this modern iconic cover not realizing it came out this year. The angular look and cartoony nature makes it one I will never forget and may soon buy to hear the music (which I’ve only had a slight taste of) behind the cover.
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
This cover is the better version of Lana Del Reys’ black and white cover, there’s a good sense of balance and unbalance and feels much more alive. The way the titles work with Michaelson are nice subtle touch too.
Kelis – Food
The colour and super-bold of this cover from Kelis are perfect. I want this framed on my wall. The colours work perfectly together and the faint face in the background is a touch that gives the picture perfection.
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Perfect colours, a trippy spiral and a sense of hypnosis make this one of the band’s best covers. It stands out in every way and always catches my attention.
Kiesza – Sound Of A Woman
This cover is subtle, slightly terrifying and oddly colourful. One of the best artsy covers of the year, Kiesza’s cover could easily be on display in a modern art exhibit.
La Roux – Trouble In Paradise
I knew the second I saw this cover I’d be writing about it. The strange neon filter, the powerful colours, the placement of everything together and La Roux’s 100-mile-stare come together to make a cover I will never forget. It fits the tropical disco feel of her album perfectly and emulate the overdone style of her inspiration.
Primus – Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble
This album pretty much had me at Willy Wonka, but the use of colours and clay make this one of the best of the year. The cover looks like one of the Wonka Bars and emulates the source material beautifully.
Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End
This cover comes from a collection of old photos with monsters added in to make Weezer’s lates album and great return to form stand out all the more. It’s appropriately weird and a nice change from the coloured band photos the band over-killed. It’s also nice to see the band going back to paintings which they haven’t done since the amazing Pinkerton.
Kimbra – The Golden Echo
Kimbra’s lates album looks beautiful, the contrasting gold and blue, the mirror image of her and the subtle text make it one that will certainly catch the eye. It also emulates her new R&B feel well to help here ease into the genre better.
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
This cover is probably THE best hand drawn cover of the year. The abstract look of it and the seemingly exploding head make the whole thing seem like the cover to some macabre novel. It begs for closer inspection and even had me seeing a woman blowing her brains out when I first saw the album from afar. A great cover from a great album.
She & Him – Classics
This cover does its album justice. Emulating an old album cover look perfectly down to the use of old label logos to top it off. The use of colour and shapes is especially good here too. Once again making me need the latest She & Him on vinyl like they do every year.
Interpol – El Pintor
One of the other sweet and simple covers this year. The colours all work with each other perfectly, the whole thing is just looks really bold and it stands out because of it.
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Run The Jewels just updated their cover from their debut with a better red background to make one of my favourite covers of the year.