Creating a viable album cover is so effortless that it’s now a running gag. Just add an explicit content sticker with a black & white filter and you’re good to go. Most album covers just have the artist with a tasteful background or outfit, which is fine but not a lot of thought has to be put into that. The best album covers often eschew the obvious self-branding opportunity of plastering your face on the screen every time someone hits play on Spotify in favor of something more subtle and complex. Some album covers here can be examined up close for tucked-away details and some just succinctly set the stage for what music awaits. Some utilize just the right font and color choices to entice the eyes. Some are just a little off the beaten path. Most of all, these 15 album covers defend a dying artform that once felt necessary to reach a teen in a ’80s record shop.


black midi – Cavalcade 


Conway the Machine – La Maquina 

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Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra – Promises 


Half Waif – Mythopoetics 


Hand Habits – Fun House 


Lost Girls – Menneskekollektivet 

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Mariah the Scientist – RY RY WORLD 

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Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime 

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Nala Sinephro – Space 1.8 


Nubiyan Twist – Freedom Fables 

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Pom Pom Squad – Death of a Cheerleader 


Skee Mask – Pool 

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Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon 

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Weezer – OK Human 

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Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana