Favorite Album Art Of 2011

I spend a lot of time listening to music throughout the year, making my lists of favorite records, the best songs and so on and on. But in the process I cannot help but look at and think about the album artwork and how that accompanies this music. Increasingly, in this digital age, album art is relegated often to postage stamp-sized icons on our screens and iPhones, already downsizing from the pretty small size of CDs. Maybe people do not think about album covers as much, yet I still love to stare over them like I did as a kid. And I still tend to buy albums in LP format because I like seeing that cover nice and big.

In lieu of a best albums of the year list, I decided to curate this list of my favorite album covers of the year. Below is but a sampling of some of the excellent artwork from 2011, some of which point to a few of the thematic trends in imagery, typography, illustration and intricacy.

Bon Iver, ‘Beth/Rest’

Bon Iver recently put out the ‘deluxe’ edition of this year’s very fine album Bon Iver. One of the bonuses is a DVD with videos of every song on the record, including the somewhat divisive last track “Beth/Rest.” To me this song was a lovely melody, pink cellophane wrapped in overwrought production that seemed straight out of a tender love scene in a cheesy romantic cop action drama in from the late ’80s or early ’90s. Turns out I wasn’t that far off.

This is practically how I pictured this song in my head, only in my version there’s more making out. Next to a fire place. On top of a leopard skin rug. On a mountain. While Michael Brecker plays sax. On a motorcycle. In heaven. In 1992.

Still, joking aside, I think there is a great song buried within all this sheen.