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.

Ryan Adams + Laura Marling, ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina’

This is from a season four episode of Live From Abbey Road. Ryan Adams is a frustratingly inconsistant artist, but “Oh My Sweet Carolina” is still one of his best songs from Heartbreaker, an album that will likely forever be the high watermark that — rightfully or not — he’ll have his new music compared to. Oh, and Laura Marling’s harmonies are pretty great too.