The Best Album Art of 2016

Santigold’s 99¢ album cover takes a firm stance on the perceived value of contemporary music, showing her shrink-wrapped with other items and a low price tag. Choosing items from around her house, Santigold made the cover much more personal than it looks, and makes a bold statement about today’s music landscape.

With artwork by disturbing comic genius Joan Cornella, Wilco's Schmilco cover sees a man letting electricity surge from his body as he uses himself as a connector between a plug and a record player, for his daughter to dance to.  Believe it or not, this is actually quite a tame interpretation of Cornella's work, as his strips usually remind of the comic Nancy, but filled with most depraved, violent and darkly hilarious ideas possible. 


Childish Gambino's mystifying album cover for Awaken, My Love appeared on a vinyl record that was displayed in the season finale of Atlanta before the album was even released. The appearance of the vinyl was originally caught by a subreddit group, and the artist is Ibra Ake.

Photographer Deana Lawson worked with Blood Orange to create this intimate portrait for the cover of Freetown Sound. Lawson described the idea behind her photograph “Binky & Tony Forever” as the synthesis of young love and the need to embrace “intimacy and support, physically, between young people, particularly young black people.”

Barcelona-based artist Ricardo Cavolo is mainly influenced by “outsider art” and sticks to themes of “the B-side of life, nonstandard people, and marginal stories.” His illustrated portrait of Kaytranda for his album 99.9%, is characteristic of Cavolo's bright and symbolic work. 

Before the songs on Bon Iver's 22, A Million were given titles, Brooklyn-based artist Eric Timothy Carlson assigned a symbol, to each one. Apparently Carlson sat in a room and sketched out the album cover while Bon Iver recorded the album in the room over.

best-albums-2016-vince staples - prima donna.jpg

The cover of Vince Staples' polarizing new album Prima Donna is a quite literal visual interpretation of its title, but from the looks of Staples’ low-lidded stare and enlarged head we understand that Staples is only stoking is own psyche to see what kind of heart-stopping art can come from it.

Parquet Courts lead singer Andrew Savage designed the cover of Human Performance, simultaneously with the album. what started out as a painting that had nothing to do with Parequet Courts became a proper visualization for the sounds and journey of the album.

"Nearly everything I do for Parquet Courts is done by hand – whether it’s a painting or drawing, or handwriting all of the lyrics and liner notes, which I always do. So it all starts out as work on paper or canvas and then is photographed, then I format in Illustrator. It took about a month and a half to put everything together, which includes the jacket obviously, but also the inside, the booklet included, the labels.”

Solange's artwork for A Seat at the Table, is bold and knowing. Her look is one of a person who’s seen her share of inequities and been conditioned into silence. Conceived with Barcelona-based photographer Carlota Guerrero, Solange sits confidently with her shoulders uncovered and a bare face, with her only adornments being the many clips in her hair, representing the ongoing cultural stigmas faced by black women.

After dropping a VHS-style video for his new single “When It Rain,” Danny Brown went on to announce a new LP, Atrocity Exhibition.  The cover art which was designed in collaboration with cult LA-based label, Brain Dead, was sniffed out early by an eager and investigative Reddit fan, who ran a brief clip of "When It Rain" through Shazam, and found the image.