With digital downloads and streaming services, it’s easy for music listeners to forget about the incredible efforts that go into creating beautiful album art. Luckily, buying vinyl records is still a thing, and these artists have made sure to make their album’s first impression a good one.
Take a look at what we’ve deemed as the best album artwork from 2016.
Kaytranada – 99.9%
From Barcelona, Spain, Ricardo Cavolo is mainly influenced by “outsider art” and sticks to themes of “the B-side of life, nonstandard people, marginal stories.” (Artist: Ricardo Cavolo)
Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!
This mystifying album cover appeared on a vinyl record that was displayed in the season finale of Atlanta before the album was even released. The appearance of the vinyl was originally caught by a subreddit group. (Artist: Ibra Ake)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Ears
Smith’s cover art reflects what her album is — eclectic, vibrant, and full of new discoveries. (Artist: Salihah Kirby Moore)
Die Antwoord – Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid
This post-apocalyptic album art is enough alone to make you want to buy this album on vinyl.
PUP – The Dream is Over
PUP was able to successfully capture their personality in this album cover, thanks to carefully selecting a talented horror-themed artist. (Artist: Christopher McKenney)
Lil Uzi Vert – Lil Uzi Vert vs the World
The inspiration behind this mixtape cover is a comic book series and film called Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. The final track of the mixtape, “Scott And Ramona,” is actually named after this series. (Artist: Farris)
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Before the songs on 22, A Million were given titles, Brooklyn-based artist Eric Timothy Carlson assigned a symbol, or “rune,” to each one. Apparently Carlson sat in a room and sketched out the album cover while Bon Iver recorded the album in the room over. (Artist: Eric Timothy Carlson)
Tegan and Sara – Love You To Death
This album cover showcases Tegan and Sara’s total badass personas, as well as the uncanny resemblance between the identical twins. The makeup looks awesome and the cover takes on a kind of crumpled wall-poster look. (Artist: EE Storey)
The Boxer Rebellion – Ocean By Ocean
This dazzling ocean wave accompanied by warm sunset colours will make you wish you were lounging on a beach some place warm and tropical. (Artist: Trevor McCarthy)
Opeth – Sorceress
The heavy metal graphic artist that created this album cover managed to gracefully combine both beauty and darkness with an image of a demonic peacock perched atop a pile of skulls. (Artist: Travis Smith)
Anderson Paak – Malibu
Philadelphia-based artist and rapper Dewey Saunders looked to vinyl records from the 60s and 70s for inspiration for this cover. “[…] we wanted the cover to reflect the moods and the emotional depth of the record,” Saunders said in an interview with Revolt. (Artist: Dewey saunders)
Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
After Danny Brown teased a short clip of “Pneumonia” back in August, one reddit user became the first to discover the album’s artwork after Shazaming the song. (Artist: Brain Dead and Timothy Saccenti)
Mukqs – Walkthrough
“[…] the base template onto which I layered different textures was a screenshot from the Super Nintendo game Umihara Kawase,” explained Allison in regards to this pixelated album cover. (Artist: Max Allison)
Stay tuned to Indie88.com over the holidays for our entire Best of 2016 series.
Up next: Best Indie88 Sessions of 2016 (Tuesday, December 20)