The artwork of an album is at times a visual interpretation or representation of what the album is and about. At times the artwork can have no relation to the album what so ever, it can just be striking, thought provoking and damn right random. The one thing that can be agreed though is that without album artwork, nothing really sets albums apart until you start listening to them.
And album artwork is exactly what it says in the name…ART. If you walk into your local HMV and just browse the albums, you could trick yourself into thinking you’re walking round an art gallery with lots of little pieces of art in clear cases.
If you’ve read my vinyl blog post I did recently, then you’ll know I have a selection of my favourite album covers hanging on my wall, just like someone would with their favourite pieces of art, i.e paintings.
For today’s blog post I thought I’d go through 5 of my favourite album covers and give you a little explanation as to why. I done this blog post a few years back on my old blog and I really enjoyed writing it and looking through tons of albums artwork I love and whittling it down to just 5.
Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor
The artwork for Panic!’s most recent album is one that doesn’t fail to catches the eye. Nicole Guice, a phenomenal sketch artist had lead singer and only remaining band member ask to do Illograph for the artwork. Illograph is where you draw over a picture, something I think fits perfectly with the style of the album and makes the album artwork really striking. The scene depicted in the artwork is Brendon Urie laying on the top of his home studio in his back garden. A view he had every day whilst making the album Death Of A Bachelor. The car that was drawn in by Guice was the car from the ‘Miss Jackson’ music video. Once you understand the context behind the album artwork it actually becomes much more personal and I think the artwork perfectly depicts the death of the bachelor life of Brendon Urie. I love album artwork that has some sort of depth to it and this is why I couldn’t help but add this one in to my 5.
Neck Deep – Life’s Not Out To Get You
It’s safe to say Neck Deep’s latest album artwork offering is unique and far from the norm. But that’s exactly why I like it. It’s different, colourful, vibrant and tells you a story. Lead singer of the band Ben Barlow, had said he wanted something more “hand drawn and slightly more abstract”. UK based artist Ricardo Cavolo brought the bands vision to life with just the name of the album to work from. The artwork depicts ‘Jude’ who makes his way through a wasteland where he encounters many horrible creatures and faces death. I think the artwork perfectly visually what the album is all about and how life isn’t out to get you no matter what you have to go through. The cartoon and more abstract style of the album artwork, links well with the culture of Pop Punk music and also adds a slightly fun aspect. The band and artist also collaborated again and went on to create a comic book telling the story of Jude which adds so much more context to the album cover and is a nice added extra for the fans. I have it myself and it will sure become a collectors item I’m sure, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and admiring the fantastic art.
Twin Atlantic – Free
The artwork for Twin Atlantic’s first full album is one that I will always admire and be on some sort of list relating to artwork. Not to mention ‘Free’ is my favourite Twin Atlantic album so maybe I’m a bit bias. A simple concept is behind the artwork but I think it is done so well and when you see this artwork on the shelves of a music store, you can’t help but be drawn in by it. Each object within the artwork represents a song on the album, the petrol can for example represents the title song ‘Free’. It’s effective in representing what lies within the album once you understand, it also prompts you to explore why each symbol has been used for that particular song which has you looking deeper into the meaning of the song. A better understanding of the album I think is developed through the artwork. Even the lead singer of the band Sam McTrusty has the artwork tattooed on the inside of his arm.
Biffy Clyro – Opposites
The album artwork for Biffy Clyro’s 2013 double album is again striking and without doubt my favourite Biffy artwork to date…hence why I’ve got it tattooed on my ribs. The artwork is a picture of a tree bent over to one side and is based on one of the worlds oldest trees, located in Chile. The album’s artwork is the last to be designed by Storm Thorgerson, a renowned English graphic designer, who died 3 months after the album’s release. The meaning behind the bent over tree artwork relates to bands strong roots and strength of staying together through anything which in turn translates well into the oldest tree in the world. Strong roots have kept that tree standing no matter what how strong the winds are or how brutal the rain can be. The same goes for life, a whole host of things can be thrown at you but if you have strong roots you can stay standing and live another day. This is probably one of the most deepest album artwork I’ll feature in this blog post but I love how much meaning a bent over tree can have and how unique it really looks against so many other albums.
Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
The last album in my 5 is none other than Bring Me The Horizon most commercially successful album, That’s The Spirit. I’ll admit there’s not much to this particular album artwork but bear with me on this one. The umbrella for me works perfectly as a symbol of sadness, tortured feelings and also protection from negativity which songs on the album deals with heavily, particularly ‘Doomed’ with features lyrics “so come rain on my parade”. Lead singer Oli Sykes has also mentioned about the albums title being a celebration of depression, and a way of making light of it and using a phrase such as That’s The Spirit symbolises a situation where there’s no positive outcome normally. That’s The Spirit is a perfect example of how something so simple as basic outline drawing of a household object can be so striking and hold so much meaning. I had to include this artwork in my 5 purely based on the marketing surrounding the album and how this little umbrella came out and how it now is the symbol fans link with the band. The band started the album campaign for That’s The Spirit by simply releasing the image of the umbrella onto their social media accounts without any explanation and managed to build the hype around something the fans knew nothing about. I even saw some fans getting the umbrella tattooed before they even knew what it was. For me that shows the true power of not only music but the artwork that accompanies the albums.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, it’s probably the longest I’ve written in a while but when you start writing especially about music, you just can’t stop.
Did you agree with any of my album artwork choices or have you got a list of your top 5 in your head. Let me know, I’d love to discover new artwork and know your thoughts.
Until next time,
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