Best and Worst iTunes Album Art

Our Favorite (and least favorite) Album Art So here we are again with another music post, but this time semi-design related. We’ve been mixing up our music a little bit, and in doing so expose ourselves to quite a bit of album art. Bryan and Molly have some CDs kicking around, Katy rocks her iPod, […]

Subject Matter
Graphic Design Music


December 18, 2007

Facebook Tweet

Our Favorite (and least favorite) Album Art

So here we are again with another music post, but this time semi-design related. We’ve been mixing up our music a little bit, and in doing so expose ourselves to quite a bit of album art. Bryan and Molly have some CDs kicking around, Katy rocks her iPod, and Chip, Tyler, and Casey all brought in a bunch of vinyl… but these (for the most part) came out of our iTunes collections, as that is what we’re flipping through all day. So here we go – our favorite (and least favorite) album art…

Casey’s Top Three (in no particular order)

Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis


The cover perfectly conveys the general mood of this album.

The Hour of Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy

His head! It’s in a box! There are lots of things to look at! And it subtly suggests that one Da Vinci.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Body Workout, Arnold Schwarzenegger sketch!


Did you know this existed?. The cover rocks because Arnold is a perfectly sculpted man-god.

Casey’s Worst

Remain in Light, Talking Heads

In general I find masks unsettling. But this Commodore 64-resolution red in a style reminiscent of al jolson is more than I can take. I like Talking Heads, but I HATE this album cover.

Tyler’s Top Three:
(that talking heads album cover rocks hard, casey… and i love that “workout” is underlined on Arnold’s album)

Here’s what I’ve got:
– Explosions In The Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place


Text only, and it is hottt. Black/white/red usually don’t do anything for me, but I see this album and I want to hear every second of it.

#2 – Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun


Epic album aside, this is just a beautiful (simple, again) image. And it is a nice matte fold out album, not a glossy mess. Bonus!and

#1 – Grüvis Malt – Maximum Unicorn


You have to do a little reading to learn that a “maximum unicorn” is one with two horns and wings. And the fact that it is split in half with blood coming out makes you question the album title a little bit. And it looks like it is drawn on the old canvas-y covered three-ring-binders that I used to have in middle school. Exaggerated mysticism + irony + nostalgia = rad. * in looking back over my #2 and #1 winners it seems like you could draw anything by hand, give it wings, center it up, and there you go. I’m lame.

And Tyler’s Worst:


I mean, can you even read that it says “Bright Eyes” on that thing? Does it matter? The flowers remind me of nursing home wallpaper, or some old swanky chair upholstery. Honestly, this makes me a little sick to my stomach. But it sounds nice.

Katy’s Top Three:
Counting Crow – Films About Ghosts, The Best of…


As a nature girl, I am in love with the tree theme, and especially this simple design. Plus the album is great collection of Best of, including some songs not on previous albums. “If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts”

#2 The Shins – Oh, Inverted World


Something about this album cover, the colors and the again the simple nod to the plant world. It complements the soothing, explorative sounds of The Shins.

#3 Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams


Ok, so I like trees, and I like the imagery in this album and how it uses the trees. If you want more of a feel for the landscape Jack uses in his music & videos (Hawaii!), check out the Music Video for Taylor, from On and On (it’s funny).

Katy’s Worst Album
Don Henley – Actual Miles, Henley’s Greatest Hits

I realize he is trying to look like a skeezy used car salesman in this album cover, but it doesn’t work for me, the cigar, the bad hair, the yellow sunburst. Terrible. This is the beginning of the End of the Innocence.

Chip’s Top Three …

Okay, first of all, we are such designers. We love the pretty covers and we hate the 80’s covers. The 80’s may come back around kids, but for now I will continue the trend. I also have to say that it was really hard to pick a top three! I had at least eight top TOP choices. Many sacrifices were made and I leave you with:

#1 – “The Essential Ibrahim Ferrer”

Ibrahim Ferrer
A classic portrait cover. This man is so sweet. Look close… his face says so much. If you don’t know about Ibrahim and the story behind these recordings I would highly recommend checking out the Buena Vista Social Club documentary with Ry Cooder. Check out the movie poster for more great artwork.

#2 – “Coolin’ Off”, Galactic

Coolin Off

Hot. Right? The music on this album is HOTT… like a steamy hot summer bar in New Orleans. After listening you’ll be longing for the fan on the cover. This happened to me, and now this is one of my favorite all time covers.

#3 – “Second Skin” single, Widespread Panic

Second Skin

Ooooo, so pretty. I love this cover because it is so simple yet says so much. It’s a cover for WSP’s awesome single “second skin”. Oh, I love that font!

and (…ahem…) the #4 best of all time iTunes cover art:

c beats vol. 2

Hey, have you heard those c beats? This album cover is HOTT, but I’m totally biased.

OK, now for the worst cover of all time:

~ TIE! ~

#1 WORST – “We are the ’80s”, Loverboy


Oh dear God. This is just SO bad. Where to begin? Look closely into the eyes of each of the lover-men. NO, don’t! You might puke.

#2 WORST – “Man at Work”, Colin Hay

Colin Hay

I hate this cover in a different way than Loverboy. This cover just sucks. I just hate it, and it was the worst cover in my iTunes library.

Bryan’s Top Three … old school
XTC – Go 2

XTC - Go 2

Their least interesting album, but awesome cover.
Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model

Elvis Costello - This Year's Model

Classic. Tru dat.

Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Come on!

Beatles - Sergeant Pepper
Bryan’s Worst … old school
Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love

Robert Palmer - Addicted to Love
Nuff said.

Bryan’s Top Three … new school
Decembrists – The Perfect Crime EP


Taking the Decembrists to the house.

Apples in Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder

Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder


Menomena – Friend and Foe

Menomena - Friend and Foe

Spoon in outer space.

Molly’s Top 3

1. Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot


Clean. Rock and roll. And yeah, it’s a great album, too.

2. Radiohead OK Computer


Yea, yea, everyone likes this one. The art is etched in my memory forever. I used to think the art was totally random (i was obsessed with beauty in chaos). But now I know it’s pretty political and I’m OK with that, too. I’m not just OK with it, but OK Computer with it. Hot.

3. Orbital – In Sides


This album was my introduction to techno music. The cover art is so trippy and grotesque that I used to stare at it for hours before I ever knew what drugs were. Look at it. It’s gross, and garish, and gaudy, but… it’s pretty cool. Got me interested in abstract art, too.

Molly’s Worst Cover Art

Celine Dion Miracle


This thing makes me want to puke. It’s bad enough when cool musicians have kids and all their lyrics are about the miracle of birth and the love they never knew before. But this is just over the freakin’ top.