The top 30 album covers of 2021

Brace for a year's worth of visual endeavors sculpted carefully by bright minds.

Artwork by Visual Amnesia

THY ART IS HEAVY.


Cover artwork creation is a wondrous phenomena that brings together an array of minds and lived experiences in an intersectional manner that finds common ground to serve a purpose. For some, that purpose is economic through a focus on marketability. For others, it's an extension of the life created within a record's musical and lyrical capabilities. Regardless of what the driving factors are, the process becomes a byproduct of the physical and psychological investment placed by all involved, resulting in alluring spectacles to immerse yourself in. That's why we're here today.


The illustration you see before you is but one of the three pieces forming Thy Art Is Heavy, a conceptual triptych crafted by our dear friend Reuben Bhattacharya (Visual Amnesia) exclusively for the Heaviest of Art year-end features. The triptych, which we'll outline in a future column, serves a particular purpose here: to introduce the best of this year's cover illustrations. Artists are stones, carved meticulously by their schools of thought, the surrounding world, and their lived experiences, all of which diverge into one creative being. The works shown today are a reflection of the world of possibilities that are these artists, artists enlisted by musicians for all-encompassing audiovisuals that have enriched our lives for the course of this unstable past year. As editors that kept a running list of notable selections throughout the year, it became hard to reach a list-based consensus, especially art being subjective and there being a high volume of illustrations coming across our desks on a weekly basis. After much consideration, we're thrilled to present you a collection of what made 2021 such a memorable one for music illustration. You know the drill: scroll through at a slow pace and let the mind roam free.


Here are the top 30 album covers of 2021:

30. Reggie Becton - California (Alina) | Listen

reggie becton
Cover Artwork by Alina

29. Noltem - Illusions In The Wake (Anthony Hurd) | Listen

noltem