Sunday, 22 November 2009

Bawley (Hearts) 2009: Top 5 album covers of the year

Album art just about managed to survive the shift from record to CD (from 12 inches of cover space down to 5) but the move to digital downloads and ever shrinking mp3 player screens are proving difficult for many of today’s artists.

Not all hope is lost. Here are five of the best examples of album cover art circa 2009.

5. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

Neko Case crouched on the bonnet of a muscle car, sword in hard ready to pounce...enjoy the album, just don’t get in her way.

4. The Xx – The Xx

The CD version of this album comes in a black cardboard sleeve with the ‘X’ cut out revealing the white inner booklet. A great idea that translates to a great image when shrunk down to 100x100 pixels.

3. Manic Street Preachers – Journal For Plague Lovers

The cover of Journal for Plague Lovers, an oil painting by Jenny Saville, was judged to be too offensive for public display.

Apparently the heavy red and brown brush strokes can be interpreted a blood on the boy’s face – of course, this is a subjective view.

Commenting on the controversy, singer James Bradfield said:
"You can have lovely shiny buttocks and guns everywhere in the supermarket on covers of magazines and CDs, but you show a piece of art and people just freak out ... We're not going to censor it or anything ... It is what it is."
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz

This action shot of a lady’s hand, chipped nail polish crushing an egg, perfectly captures the bands dangerous energy and, like many of the great album covers, it works no matter the size.

1. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Dark Night Of The Soul

The cover art for a blank CD-R. The release of the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse/David Lynch collaboration was scuppered by legal issues, but rather than bury the project the recordings were leaked to the internet and collaborators released a limited edition 100 page booklet with an accompanying blank CD-R. The packages sold out in near record time, proving that modern music fans will pay for quality album art.

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