From the surreal to the humorous, album cover art in 2016 was full of designs which told a story. Below are sixteen of the most evocative (in no specific order).
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Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions: Until the Hunter
I like the way this image is sort of a “world within a world”, kind of like maybe we’re all just on a planet that’s really part of some giant organism.
Black Marble: It’s Immaterial
This one is striking in it’s oddness. It feels like it has a paranormal element, as if she’s conducting some ritual with her hand positions, the clothes she’s wearing, and her intense, serious gaze. Yet, it’s on somebody’s front lawn on a sunny day…definitely a scene that seems plucked from a larger story.
Various: New Dimensions in Fingerstyle Volume 1
Eye-catching bright colors, has a 60’s vibe combined with a modernity that’s just out of reach.
Asking Alexandria: The Black
This may be a still from a movie, I’m not sure. Either way, it’s an arresting image, once again seeming part of a larger story. It’s either a portrayal of defiance, via the girl – a “meeting your demons head on” kind of thing, or maybe the monster isn’t really a “bad” monster at all. It’s open to so many interpretations.
The Wilderness: Explosions in the Sky
Like stained glass, reminds me of Paul Klee’s Highways and Byways. A feast for the eye.
Jonah Tolchin: Thousand Mile Night
Every picture tells a story, so the saying goes. Well, this one tells a few stories…only, I’m not quite sure what they are. Sure look interesting though. And any cover with a cactus gets points in my book.
M. Craft: Blood Moon
Great composition and lighting in this photo. Is he waiting for a visitation from extraterrestrials? And why is that one large boulder seemingly painted yellow?
Light Fantastic: Out of View
Wow, psychedelic, man! Has that early 70’s surf-movie feel…also reminds me of an orange or a grapefruit overlayed across a sunrise. Citrus-edelic!
Jake Owen: American Love
Speaking of surfing – the ultimate surf-mobile. You can’t go wrong with a cover shot of a mint-condition VW Campervan. Perfect shade of aqua-blue, too. I like the retro design of the cover, too – the record company log in the top right, the “stereo” proclamation on the bottom…
Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Just looks like an album from an artist named “Sturgill”. Lovely graphic art, conveying tension and beauty, and the drama of the roiling sea and the terrors that may lie beneath. The cover admirably does it’s job of making the music inside seem intriguing.
Like those great prog covers of yesteryear. I don’t know what’s going on here, but it’s a well-done design with harmonious use of color, intricate frame around the main image, and text which echoes the plant stem and grass.
Aloha: Little Windows Cut Right Through
Kind of a cool idea for a cover, also a play on the title with mirrors being windows of a sort. And the sunset in the mirror is kind of cutting through the main image (which may not at all be what the photographer is trying to convey, but that’s how I see it.)
Aaron Lee Tasjan: Silver Tears
Where can one get a suit like that? I like how he’s sort of clothed in “silver tears”, like the title. Nice use of color too, with the stormy sky and lush green grass offsetting the sun-sparkling silver.
Nedelle Torisi: Advice from Paradise
Vintage 1980’s? Or contemporary? Hard to tell, but she holds the camera’s gaze, looking every bit the young, cool version of Ann Landers or Dear Abby. At the same time, the picture – seemingly taken in a generic hotel room – has a humorous irony when paired with the title.