One thing music geeks love to do is make lists. Just look around at all the music blogs on the internet, it’s a virtual orgy of lists. So with that said I present to you another fricken’ list!
Now, I am a big fan of album artwork. It is one of the reasons I love vinyl so much….those great big covers full of wonderful artwork, not to mention gatefolds and novelty covers (such as Sticky Fingers). CDs were not too bad either….nowhere near as nice as vinyl, but decent, and I especially enjoy when artists put something on the CD itself. Itunes however, with it’s 3 inch display of what would otherwise be quality cover art, just doesn’t do much for me. I remember the major reason I purchased a Zune media player a few years ago was for the fact that it had a large display screen that was dominated by the cover art. It drives me crazy when something doesn’t have it’s cover art on the zune too. Anyway, I guess I’m saying all that to get to my point here….I love album art. So without further delay here are my top 10 album covers of the year, followed by some I think are duds. This has nothing to do with the music, strictly from an album art appreciators standpoint.
1. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – s/t
I don’t really know what this is…some kind of tree? Regardless it’s my favorite album art of the year. [Edit: My sources on twitter
tell me this album art was painted by 400 Unit guitarist Browan Lollar (view more of his artwork here
). I think that makes it even cooler]
2. Slaid Cleaves – Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away
Love this painting on the cover. The guy is laying at a couple graves with a handkerchief with the title “Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away” underneath. My favorite part is the weeping willows.
3. Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle – Let’s Just Stay Here
Another cool painting, Carolyn Mark with a creepy expression because she likely chopped the heads off all the members of NQ Arbuckle
4. Drive By Truckers – The Fine Print
I love pretty much every album cover Wes Freed has done, especially the ones he’s done for DBT. This one is no exception.
5. Bettysoo – Heat Sin, Water Skin
A cool stylized image of BettySoo herself. Really like the colors of this and the aura that’s around her head (yeah, I’m not an art critic as you can tell)
6. Gretchen Peters with Tom Russell – One To The Heart, One To The Head
I am assuming this is a painting Tom Russell did. Just a cool cover, I almost put Tom’s Blood and Candlesmoke but I like this cover a lot more.
7. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
This one was on the worst list originally, but the more I look at it the more I find it endearing. Also, it’s certainly memorable. Party Camel for life!
8. Joe Henry – Blood From Stars
I like this one because it reminds me of something O. Winston Link
would have done.
9. Tim Easton – Porcupine
Cool painting by Tim Easton. I think I read he hand painted a limited number of vinyl releases of this album. Would love to see some pics of those
10. Kieran Kane – Somewhere Beyond The Roses
I’m not really sure what’s going on here, some kind of collage or something but I like it.
Honorable Mentions to:
Cory Branan & Jon Snodgrass – s/t
This one is so bad it’s good. I mean, it’s a wolf….and a cobra. Also pyramids and snow mountains.
Prison Book Club – Required Reading
I just like this cover and didn’t want to leave it out.
Now for the worst ones:
The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
I just think this one is creepy and weird. Also it reminds me of a Jethro Tull album cover.
Dave Rawlings Machine – Friend of A Friend
Speaking of creepy and weird, what’s up with the look on his face? Did the camera man walk up on him doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing?
Jimbo Mathus – Jimmy The Kid
Scott Miller – For Crying Out Loud
I’m a huge Scott Miller fan, but not a fan of this cover…at all.
Gurf Morlix – Last Exit To Happyland
Again, I’m a huge Gurf Morlix fan but this cover is almost disturbing. Maybe it’s an homage to Bela Lugosi or something.
Heartless Bastards – The Mountain
This one is just aweful, reminds me of a collage I would have done in high school art class at the last minute cause I was too busy sneaking off and getting high during class.
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
What the hell is this? Why is she on the hood of some car? And what kind of car is that anyway?