Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Year In Review 2017- Best Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2017 with a favorite feature in the Best of... area, Album Art. Like in years past we will be choosing our Best Albums of the Year, a few we were underwhelmed with and our favorite show. Today we are starting out by judging books (records) by their covers (vinyl sleeves, jackets, digital pics, etc). We are going to support the creative minds behind the Best Album Art Work of 2017.
The biggest gripe RtBE has with digital music is not the quality (that has been massively improved) nor the disposal nature of it (still a problem, but whatever), it is the lack of amazing album covers and art work.

Sure there may be great artists out there but seeing it on a screen, in iTunes or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP cover or even a CD booklet with pages of lyrics, pictures etc. Thankfully the rise of vinyl is helping this dilemma but it is still not enough. The hours we spent staring, actually holding, examining tons of covers while listening to music can not be adequately recorded, it added new dimensions to the sounds. You were connected to album in a more physical way, things were deeper, more evocative...Anyways...

2017 was a shitty year on a few fronts and album art seems to be one of them, not a lot to choose from this year (Don't believe us? Just check out Fuse's underwhelming list) but let's get right to it. We will talk about a few we like, link to the review of the release (if there is one) and then celebrate a winner who wins absolutely nothing but internet praise.

Honorable Mentions (In no particular order):

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard- Polygondwanaland

Leave it to the freak out Australian rockers to create an odd Prog-Rock inspired album cover that speaks directly to weirdness contained in the music. When it gets its vinyl release we can see people in an altered state staring at it for hours.

Logic- Everybody

To be honest RtBE never reviewed this album because we thought it was not worth reviewing, however we knew it would end up here as the unique hip-hop album cover was an eye opener. Based on Paolo Veronese's The Wedding at Cana, Logic tossed everything onto the cover as it was painted by Sam Spratt. Sometimes the art on the front outshines the music beneath.

Lee Ranaldo- Electric Trim
This is a weird one and proves that things don't always have to be over the top or connected to Renaissance paintings. This is an odd photo with lines, nature, chaos and the zigzagging of man/machine. It really connects with the music on the album making for an excellent artistic pairing.

Spoon- Hot Thoughts
While these honorable mentions are in no particular order, this choice just missed out on the top spot. We debated putting Spoon in the winning slot because this cover is artsy, intriguing and speaks to the title of the disk/music contained within. RtBE just liked another one a bit more...


Chicano Batman- Freedom Is Free
In an US vs. them year 2017 had a lot of divisiveness happening. Chicano Batman's gorgeous album tried to combat that through positive tracks and a spiritual cover. Not only does it connect with the music on the album it connects with something higher and more critical in 2017, giving it the nod as RtBE's choice for Best Album Art in 2017. 

Agree? Disagree? Did we miss an obvious choice? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

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