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Memorable Album Covers of 2020

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The resurgence of vinyl has cast a spotlight on album cover art. Album sleeve design plays an important role in expressing the musician’s vision and creating a visual impression. Album sleeves sometimes make the artist more culturally relevant. The memorable covers of 2020 expressed the times we live in. The album sleeve for Taylor Swift’s "Folklore" captured the essence of social distancing and a newfound longing for nature that led to skyrocketing visits to national parks during the pandemic. SAULT’s "Untitled (Black Is)," with its simple upraised fist, symbolized Black empowerment during a time of social upheaval. But there was plenty of room for artistic expression on its own terms. The goofy design of Fiona Apple’s "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" reflected a bit of whimsy, mystery, and arch sense of humor that has defined her work for years. For more memorable album covers of 2020, check out my presentation. I hope you like it.

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Memorable Album Covers of 2020

  1. 1. Memorable Album Covers of 2020 David J. Deal http://superhypeblog.com December 2020
  2. 2. Brandy, B7
  3. 3. DaBaby, Blame It on Baby
  4. 4. Burna Boy, Twice As Tall
  5. 5. City Girls, City on Lock
  6. 6. Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  7. 7. Anjimile, Giver Taker
  8. 8. Lucinda Williams, Good Souls Better Angels
  9. 9. Moses Sumney, græ
  10. 10. U.S. Girls, Heavy Light
  11. 11. Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Agüita
  12. 12. Duval Timothy, Help
  13. 13. Flo Milli, Ho, Why Is You Here?
  14. 14. Poppy, I Disagree
  15. 15. Victoria Monét, Jaguar
  16. 16. Jadakiss, Ignatius
  17. 17. Juice WRLD, Legends Never Die
  18. 18. Margo Price, That’s How Rumors Get Started
  19. 19. Lido Pimienta, Miss Colombia
  20. 20. Taylor Swift, Folklore
  21. 21. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion
  22. 22. Lil Baby, My Turn
  23. 23. Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher
  24. 24. Buscabulla, Regresa
  25. 25. Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud
  26. 26. SAULT, Untitled (Black Is)
  27. 27. Rina Sawayama, SAWAYAMA
  28. 28. The Mavericks, en Español
  29. 29. Shamir, Shamir
  30. 30. Madeline Kenney, Sucker’s Lunch
  31. 31. Swamp Dogg, Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  32. 32. Hinds, The Prettiest Curse
  33. 33. Thundercat, It Is What It Is
  34. 34. Jehnny Beth, To Love Is to Live
  35. 35. Chloe x Halle, Ungodly Hour
  36. 36. Thank You David Deal davidjdeal@gmail.com

Editor's Notes

  • Record albums refuse to die even though sales are no longer what they used to be. Musicians continue to rely on long-form collections of songs to tell personal stories, and the album cover art remains a crucial aspect of the storytelling. In 2018, as I’ve done for many years, I explored music released during the year to identify the most memorable album cover art. Memorable album covers in 2018 did what effective album cover art has always done:

    Capture your attention.
     
    Express the essence of the artist.
     
    Say something about the musical content of the album itself.

    This year, I was struck by the number of album covers that expressed what it means for an artist to be the Other, especially to be LGBTQ. The year witnessed a bumper crop of works created by LGBTQ musicians, perhaps most notably by Janelle Monáe, whose Grammy-nominated Dirty Computer created a public forum for Monáe to announce her pansexuality. The album cover art of LGBTQ artists was as intensely personal as their music. This SlideShare contains some notable examples.
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  • What are your favorite album covers of the year, and why? Drop me a line at davidjdeal@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.
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