The massive success of Adele's 25 has prompted the music industry to speculate that maybe the record album as an art form isn't dead after all. are back. Well, they aren't -- Adele is back. Meantime, the album remains stuck in a long, sad period of decline. But the demise of the album hasn't stopped artists from continuing to grace us with memorable album, and 2015 was no exception, as my new SlideShare presentation illustrates vividly.
The year was notable for the appearance of some over-the-top, in-your-face covers from mainstream artists, with some classically elegant and visual mind benders tossed in. It's as if musicians everywhere got together and decided, "Screw it -- if albums are going away, let's make the last gasp a memorable one."
But not all covers needed to be outrageous to be memorable. The album cover art for Fetty Wap's self-titled album was honest and real, and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly was socially provocative and thoughtful. Meantime, Colleen Green's smart-alecky smirk on the cover of I Want to Grow Up was what rock and roll attitude is all about, while Leon Bridges's Coming Home and Adele's 25 were throwbacks with their classic designs.
Albums may never return to their glory days of the 1970, but album cover art never went away and will remain an important way for musicians to connect with fans and represent their art for years to come. As I've mentioned before, their function has changed -- from gracing the cover of a single work to acting as a visual totem published across many touch points, ranging from an artist's Facebook page to their merchandise.
Albums as we know them are dying. Long live record album art.
Memorable Album Covers of 2015
Memorable Album Covers
David J. Deal