Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Year In Review 2023 - Favorite Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2023 with the first feature in the Best of... wrap up: Album Art

Just like in years past, we will be choosing our favorite albums of the year, a few that were underwhelming, our favorite live shows, and highlight some fantastic archive releases, all of which will be posted over the next few days. 

Today we are starting out by judging books (records) by their covers (vinyl sleeves, jackets, digital pics, etc) with the Best Album Art Work of 2023.

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 album art out there but seeing it on a screen, on Spotify or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP 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't be adequately recorded, it added new dimensions to the sounds. You are connected to album in a more physical way; things were deeper, more evocative...Anyways...

Here comes RtBE's Favorite Album Art of 2023. 

This is just a cool cover, cool like Ernie Vincent. 

The Grateful Dead - Dave's Picks 45 & 46

While not always the case, the recent Dave's Picks from The Grateful Dead have had some amazing artwork, both of these covers fit the shows, the times, and the band wonderfully. 

From the review: The real crux of Dick Stusso this go around lies in his lo-fi, dirtbag mashup of Father John Misty and Stereopathetic Soulmanure era Beck. This cover art seems to convey that I think. 

I guess we think skulls and lots of colors are top notch this year (every year actually).  Well, Dr. John is, and always will be, top notch. 

A perfect throwback metal cover, from a very good throwback metal band who RtBE is happy to have found out about for the first time in 2023. 

The freakiest (and best) metal cover of the year is Cattle Decapitation's Terrasite. Boy does this band hate humanity, calling it the most invasive species ever, and the album art fits that perfectly. 

The album cover art matches the title of the album, and the frantic music as well. Interlinking album art like this is always a great move to RtBE.

Speaking of interlocking album art, title, and music...here comes Woods Perennial which does the same thing winningly. 

Selcouth Quartet -S/T

What might look like a pretty basic and cold cover for this groups debut, is a perfect summation of the nature sounds and icy playing contained on the album. An interesting Jazz offering, that feels a touch cold, like the album cover.  

Same can also be said for Desire Marea's On The Romance of Being. There is a lot going on with this painted cover, are they breathing fire, eating the sun, or biting an orange? Can look at this album art and find something new each time. The art also matches the album, which is overloaded with ideas, sounds, love, and thoughts.

Favorite Album Art of 2023:

A big year for Price with the release of Strays (and more), we will talk more about music in a future year end post, but RtBE loved this cover shot. Fits the mood of the album and Price, who is having a femininity renaissance and reconnecting with nature. All of that is conveyed here perfectly with a simple picture. The cover of Strays looks like a living, breathing Georgia O'Keefe painting. Great cover.  

1 comment:

  1. No SZA in her Blues jersey? Hands-down my fave album cover of the year.