Cover art plays more of an important role than many may initially think. It is usually the first image you recall when thinking about a song, and the visual representation of what the album really means to the Artist.
Adele’s album 25 received the award for Album of the Year last night at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Adele during her speech gave praise to Beyoncé and her visual album Lemonade. Others in the category included Drake, Sturgill Simpson, and Justin Bieber.
Let’s take an inside look at the cover art for the Grammys Album of the Year Nominations to see who deserves the title of Best Album Cover of the Year.
A Sailor’s Guide to the Earth
This beautiful illustration done by Killian Eng of a boat venturing in violently stormy waters is a perfect representation of the album’s name. If you look closely, you can even see a haunting deep sea creature decorated with glowing bioluminescent patterns. The perfect cover image for an album classified in the genre of ‘Alternative County’.
The cover of Views features a dramatic image of Drake sitting on top of the CN Tower in Toronto shot by Caitlin Cronenberg. The perspective ‘view’ achieved by Cronenberg helped to tie in the album’s meaning to the cover image. Because of how small Drake appears, many seem to think that the cover image is a photoshopped stock photo, which quickly turned to the creation of endless memes.
This album art created by famed Los Angeles street artist Retna pictures a naked Bieber posed with his fingertips touching and his head slightly bowed down. A symbol is depicted in the background and on Bieber’s chest that resembles an asymmetrical cross with a circle attached. But what does this symbol? Because Retna specializes in ancient style calligraphy, maybe it is safe to say that the symbol has religious meaning. The album may be Bieber’s homage to his faith.
This cover image of Beyoncé with her head down and face hidden is actually a still from this visual album’s 1 hour HBO film. The use of a shot from the film created a direct link between the music and the film. The stunning imagery and cameo appearances from icons such as Serena Williams, Winnie Harlow, Leah Chase, and Ava Clark helped to bring Lemonade to life. The album can be viewed on Tidal, purchased through Beyoncé’s website, or Here.
Photographer Alasdair McLellan captured Adele in a stunning close-up with a sepia tone, showing us Adele’s iconic makeup look. The natural face, full lips, deep black liner, and defined lashes are giving everyone life. This exposed shot screams with beauty and confidence. This is Adele at age 25 and she is not holding back.
And the award for Best Cover Art of the Year goes to….
A Sailor’s Guide to the Earth
This stunning illustration takes the cake for me. The Kentucky-born country singer is also a U.S. Navy vet, which makes the album’s trial-at-sea imagery all the more relevant. I would also highly suggest giving this album a good listen. It may wash you away.
Let me know your thoughts on who had the best album cover of the year.
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