Ten Favorite Album Covers of 2007

So this is a little late (okay, a lot late), but here are my ten favorite album covers from last year, in alphabetical order by artist:

Architecture In Helsinki
Places Like This
(Polyvinyl Record Co.)

Places Like This

Credit: Will Sweeney (Illustrations)

Notes: This sort of reminded me of Bedtime for Democracy by the Dead Kennedys, but without the anarchy and debauchery. You can see more of British freelance illustrator Will Sweeney’s work at Alakazam and BigActive.

Battles
Mirrored
(Warp Records)

Mirrored

Credits: Dave Konopka (Art Direction and Design), Timothy Saccenti (Photography)

Notes: In addition to his bass/effects duties in Battles, Dave Konopka also handled art direction and design for the album. Saccenti also directed the video for “Atlas”, which also uses the glass cube seen in this cover. There’s something about John Stanier’s custom yellow paint job drum kit that makes this album cover pop.

Cowboy Junkies
At the End of Paths Taken
(Zoe Records/Latent Recordings)

At the End of Paths Taken

Credit: David Houghton & Alice Phieu (Cover Art Concept); David Houghton/Open Circle (Art Direction)

Notes: The cover concept speaks directly to the themes of the album, which according to guitarist/vocalist Michael Timmins, started to be an album about family but eventually added a sense of finality and inevitability, of running out of choices. The end of your rope.

Dizzee Rascal
Maths + English
(XL Recordings)

Maths + English

Credit: Ben Drury (Cover Design, Typography)

Notes: A leetspeak-meets-high design winner from Ben Drury, who was formerly the art director for Mo’Wax Records (artwork for DJ Shadow, UNKLE and Money Mark, etc.). With an album title of “Maths + English”, the combination of numbers and letters is spot on.

Hard-Fi
Once Upon A Time In The West
(Warner Music)

Once Upon A Time In The West

Credit: Hard-Fi

Notes: This album cover was mostly panned by critics, but Peter Saville (designer of many Joy Division and New Order album covers) describes it as a “White Album for the digital culture”. Even though this is a list celebrating cover art, I applaud this anti-cover art cover art.

KT Tunstall
Drastic Fantastic
(Virgin Records/Relentless Records)

Drastic Fantastic

Credit: Robin Footitt (Artwork, Paintings)

Notes: Love the mirrorball treatment on the Gibson Thunderbird bass, love her rock star pose, don’t love the font, but this album cover was definitely one of my instant favorites. Robin Footitt’s commission also included drawings, paintings and other artwork in conjunction with the album release.

Nacho Vegas & Christina Rosenvinge
Verano Fatal
(Limbo Starr)

Verano Fatal

Cover Art: Uncredited

Notes: Clever heart-shaped image #2. (Couldn’t find any information in English about the cover art but I know what I like.) Cool shades, good rock record from this Marvel Team-Up by Spanish rockers Nacho Vegas and Christina Rosenvinge.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
100 Days 100 Nights
(Daptone Records)

100 Days, 100 Nights

Credit: David Serre (Art Direction)

Notes: The execution is simple and straightforward, and the song titles on the front are a nice throwback. My favorite retro album cover of 2007, with the U.S. release of The Pipettes’ We Are The Pipettes a close second.

VHS or Beta
Bring on the Comets
(Astralwerks)

Bring on the Comets

Credit: Greg Foley (Designer)

For a band called “VHS or Beta”, an image of the old unscrambled “squiggle-channel” for an album cover is like, totally gnarly. The cover was designed by Best Recording Package Grammy-nominee Greg Foley (for the Pet Shop Boys; 2002 album, Release).

White Rabbits
Fort Nightly
(Say Hey Records)

Fort Nightly

Credit: Ethan D’Ercole (Cover Art)

This pen-and-ink style album cover is the work of Ethan D’Ercole, graphic artist, screenprinter, and Watchers/Mannequin Men guitarist. A close second for me was the cover for Colleen’s Les Ondes Silencieuses by Iker Spozio.

Wilco
Sky Blue Sky
(Nonesuch Records)

Sky Blue Sky

Credits: Manuel Presti (Cover Photo); Lawrence Azzerad (Graphic Design)

The cover art is based on a 2005 photo called “Sky Chase” by award-winning wildlife photographer Manuel Presti. The imagery of the lone peregrine falcon attacking a flock of starlings fits Wilco’s status as the singular American band in music today.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

The Pipettes, We Are the Pipettes
Colleen, Les Ondes Silencieuses
Gui Boratto, Chromophobia
Air, Pocket Symphony
3HM, Three Headed Monster

Final Thought:

The 2007 Grammy for Best Recording Package went to Zachary Nipper, art director for Bright Eyes’ Cassadaga album. Much like the rest of the Grammy Awards, I give it a “enh” and a shrug.

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6 Responses to “Ten Favorite Album Covers of 2007”


  1. 1 Lexy June 18, 2008 at 6:32 am

    A nice list – and it’s never too late for it. I usually find it takes at least six months to play catch up with all the great stuff that’s released. I have to say, the Colleen cover is absolutely gorgeous, it prompted me to buy it without having even listened to the record, though I was familiar with her previous stuff. I would also throw Burial’s ‘Untrue’ in there as well.

  2. 2 Mexican Food Council June 18, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Success, Writhanial! Success!

  3. 3 Mexican Food Council June 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    check out the album cover for Josh Groban’s Awake

    fantabulous.

  4. 4 Earle June 19, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Now do a 10 Worst Album cover piece!

  5. 5 alice July 15, 2008 at 8:25 am

    i don’t know who you are. but you’re AWESOME for including my artwork in your Top 10.
    thank you 🙂

  6. 6 tishon December 12, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    that battles cover does it to me every time. loves it!


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