Well… maybe not the best, but my favorite.
2020 will surely be looked upon as a seminal year for both our country and the rest of the world. Hopefully everyone’s material world and inner world will be mended in time, and life will get better. Much like the lackluster amount of fun to be had this year, I also think the world of music left something to be desired in 2020. There weren’t many great releases, but there were some that left lasting impressions. This week, I thought it would be fun to introduce some of my favorite album artworks of this year.
5. Adrianne Lenker – Songs
Done by Lenker’s grandmother, Diane Lee, this is a detail from a larger watercolor piece that composes the aesthetic theme of the album. My first thought was that this is highly reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe’s watercolor works such as Pink and Blue No. 2. This image depicts a loose and colorful depiction of flowers, mirroring the soft and sweet elements of Lenker’s voice and songwriting. If you’re looking for something soothing, solemn, calm and easy on the ears, give it a listen.
4. Run the Jewels – RTJ4
Run the Jewels have always been consistent in their imagery. All four of their albums are comprised of similar designs… always disembodied hands with one making finger guns at a fist on the right. Their first album is definitely their most consistent, however RTJ4 is no exception. The production on this work is as slick as the artwork, which shows the aforementioned design with a solid 3D rendering to look like rough gems. RTJ have always had an incredibly sleek, villainous and playfully cunning element to their visuals.
3. Soakie – Soakie
Somehow amidst the chaos of this year, I managed to find Soakie, a blistering 13 minute album that screams hardcore punk through the vocalist’s shrill and piercing singing. The album art is what grabbed me first though… there is something that is intangibly unique about it, and it certainly compliments the type of music Soakie makes. Somehow, the amalgamation of clowns, Steamboat Willie, 80’s punk and dog-suits
2. Soccer Mommy – Color Theory
Soccer Mommy has toured with some of my favorite bands. Her name is Sophia Allison and her work is mostly produced by her alone. Her album, Color Theory, is reminiscent of retro-style game packaging. It certainly has a distinctly 80’s aesthetic to it. If you enjoy soft, melodic stuff, this is your jam.
1. Chubby and the Gang – Speed Kills
I’m a sucker for lowbrow art, especially when you can see the influence of R. Crumb oozing out of every inch of this piece. Grimy, gritty, angry and loud would be four words to describe Speed Kills. The use of cartoonish violence and primary colors showcases a band who has not lost touch with their sense of devious childishness, while also offering satirical commentary to boot… very punk. Definitely one of the strongest albums of the year for me.