(Photo of me at a New Years Eve 2020 party)
Yeah, I know, another “best of” list, but hey, this year sucked so I feel like it’s particularly permissible to over do it on these. Anyways, 2020 really did see a ton of good music get released, and the album artwork has been far from disappointing. Here are five of my favorite album covers from 2020 in no particular order:
Vera Fauna - Dudas y Flores
Vera Fauna is an indie band from Seville, Spain and their debut full-length album Dudas y Flores was released January 17th. Translating to “Doubts and Flowers” in English, this album was full of dreamy guitars and beautiful Spanish lyricism, perfect for every Hoops fan. This artwork is an appropriately filled grid of flowers and crying eyes whose grainy illustrations make it reminiscent of 1970’s soviet cartoons. At first the eyes seem to be randomly organized but actually show different phases of a single eye as it slowly blinks and begins to lose its tears. Is that person crying at the beauty of the flowers, or because of whats on their mind as they see nature in full bloom?
Jass - At the Close of a Decade
Okay, so, I try to be impartial about musicians in Kansas City (where I live) when writing for Tonitruale, but I'm going to give this local a shout out. Jass' debut full-length album is a raving success and deserves all the love. At the Close of a Decade is gentle and warm, delicate and intentional. I would describe this album as orange, which makes it the perfect color choice for it's cover art. We also see an image of the artist herself nestled into concentric circles, her face is covered in croton leaves, a plant that needs a ton of sunlight to thrive, much like how I imagine Jass is herself.
King Krule - Man Alive!
The King himself (no, not Elvis) made this list, obviously. London musician King Krule is the one of the epitomes of modern British music. His deep voice and loose vocals are moody and perfectly suit his understated music, which is filled with ambient sound effects and strong rhythms. This cover, an abstract painting of a person relaxing on an empty blue and gray background really fit the sounds on this album. It's angsty and serious, but also just a lot of fun. The disjointed and incomplete body are really quite jarring, much like some of the sounds in Man Alive! but the simplicity and the surrounding colors soothe itself, just like the music.
Video Age - Pleasure Line
Living rooms are intimate and personal, which makes this a great choice for this album's cover art. Two of the band's members got married this year, just weeks apart, and that is certainly reflected in this light synth-pop album. Reminiscent of a Maria Luque painting, its loose brushstrokes and the slightly off sense of perception make it carefree and fun while the bright colors make it hard to be upset, much like Pleasure Line. Video Age always does really well with their album art decisions, and this is no exception. Their third album is a departure from the clean lines and tight illustrations used in their previous ones, which make it an interesting choice, but still just as fitting.
Big Dog Bite - At the Park
This one is technically an EP but I liked it so much I decided to include it anyway. Big Dog Bite is honestly one of the best named groups I've heard of lately. Despite the tough and sharp sounds you would expect to hear, they're actually very hazy and soft. The dusty green, the broken font, and woven photo all perfectly express what to actually expect from them. Just like the weaving, Big Dog Bite has a way of interrupting themselves in the most creative ways, and the highlighter lines hint their natural brightness.