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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Best of 2009: Top 5 Album Covers

To many people, the album cover is non-essential.  It's simply another barrier between the music and the listener.  For me, however, it's a necessary part of the experience.  That's a large reason why I still buy into physical formats.  Having art in your hands makes your $15 purchase seem a lot more worth it, than paying $10 for a digital copy of some music and a JPEG.  With that in mind, here are 5 album covers that really helped me do my part in saving physical media in 2009.

#5. Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca - When I first held Bitte Orca in my hands and looked at the album cover, I was intrigued. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Here you have two women and colored splotches of paint. Okay. I didn't get it. Hell, I still don't get it. But I stayed there and looked at it for a few minutes. Occasionally I still open the image up in iTunes just to look at a larger version of it. It's nothing fancy, and it's nothing special, but I like it. I can't explain it any differently.

#4. St. Vincent: Actor - Annie Clark's album cover for Marry Me was kind of funny, whether that was intentional or not. She totally ugged it up for that image, and I loved it. Then Actor comes along and rather than get a timid mess of a mental hospital patient, we get a lovely young woman, seemingly wide-eyed and innocent. "Hopeful" is probably the best way to describe her gaze. It's a nice image, with interesting color choices.

#3. Muse: The Resistance - Okay….so there's a dude on a Billie Jean floor in outer space, surrounded by a hexagonal rainbow vortex that leads to earth? I'm sold! Seriously though, say want you want about Muse's latest album, you have to admit that when stacked against their most recent two covers, this one is pretty sweet. For one, there's not a picture of random humans sitting at a table in the desert. Secondly, the colors! Oooh….pretty!

#2. Wallpaper: Doodoo Face - If you had doubts about whether or not Wallpaper. was more of a light-hearted side project than an album from an artist that takes his work too seriously, this image should put them to rest. Doodoo Face has one of the best album covers of the year because it pretty much sums up exactly what to expect when you press play. What you expect is "that guy" doing all sorts of musical nonsense. And that's pretty much what you get.

#1. The Flaming Lips: Embryonic - I first saw this image long before Embryonic came out, or leaked, and my thought then is exactly what it is now: what the hell am I looking at?!?!? Okay, it's a face that's being pulled out of an upside down ripped open face….or is it being pushed in? Why is her tongue behind her teeth like that? Have you tried that? It's not a natural thing to do with your tongue. Random scribbles? Huh? People, I don't have an answer to any of these questions. What I do know is that this is one of the coolest things I've seen in my life. If they had a full-size art print of it, I'd frame it and hang it up. Maybe they do have one…I'm going to check on that.

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