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Best Album Covers Of 2024: 10 Great Artworks Of The Year
List & Guides

Best Album Covers Of 2024: 10 Great Artworks Of The Year

From feats of graphic-design genius to inventively staged portraits, the best album covers of 2024 complete artistic statements of intent.

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There’s a reason Noel Gallagher described vinyl as “the poor man’s art collection”. Given the right visuals, a great album can be elevated to “legendary” status, its cover having as much cultural impact as the music within – think, Nirvana, Nevermind; Pink Floyd, The Dark Side Of The Moon; Sex Pistols, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols. While some album covers aim simply to grab attention, the standouts help complete a cohesive artistic statement – and there are plenty of those among the best album covers of 2024. Here are the finest artworks of the year so far…

Listen to our Chart playlist here, and check out the best album covers of 2023, below.

10: Declan McKenna: ‘What Happened To The Beach?’

One of the most anticipated releases of 2024, What Happened To The Beach? is Declan Mckenna’s thought-provoking third album. Achieving the seemingly impossible, it dabbles in the heavy themes of environmentalism and the mounting pressures of climate change while still providing moments of pure euphoria. The album’s striking artwork was photographed by the multitalented Henry Pearce, who also plays keyboard during McKenna’s live shows. An early contender among the best album covers of 2024, the image perfectly encapsulates the essence of the searching music within.

Photographer: Henry Pearce

Artwork Declan McKenna: ‘What Happened To The Beach?’

9: Ariana Grande: ‘eternal sunshine’

A dreamlike palette of washed-out pastel colours, dyed-blonde hair (all thanks to Wicked) and warm sunlight are the defining ingredients of a total of seven different artwork variants for Ariana Grande’s seventh record, eternal sunshine. On this record, Grande courageously takes on difficult topics of opening up and embracing love – sometimes at the cost of emotional pain – and the album’s seven covers each offer a distinct visual representation of the key themes Grande explores.

In one image, she smiles while vivid, red-gloved hands cover her eyes. Another pictures the back of Grande’s head, her iconic ponytail brushing against the shoulder of an unknown other. A third – a blurry portrait photographed by Katia Temkin – has a softness that aligns perfectly with the vulnerability of eternal sunshine’s 13 songs. Taken together, the images help create a fully rounded-out world for an album that is utterly addictive.

Photographer: Katia Temkin

Ariana Grande: ‘eternal sunshine’

8: Bleachers: ‘Bleachers’

Following in the wake of frontman Jack Antonoff’s growing fame, Bleachers’ self-titled fourth album signals a rebirth of sorts for the New Jersey six-piece. Brash and confident, its sound is a potent blend of pop and rock influences, and it boasts all the hallmarks of a perfect indie-rock album. Having recently loaned his golden production touch to Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and The 1975, Antonoff here gives his own group’s music a palpable warmth, the spirit of which is captured in Bleachers’ cover portrait, as photographed by Alex Lockett. Depicting Antonoff in a simple T-shirt tucked into slacks and leaning against a classic car, the shot conjures an image of all-American 50s cool, with underlying hints of anticipation that helps it earn a spot among the best album covers of 2024.

Photographer Alex Lockett

Artwork Bleachers: ‘Bleachers’

7: Liam Gallagher And John Squire: ‘Liam Gallagher John Squire’

Liam Gallagher John Squire is the first album the former Stone Roses guitarist has put his name to in two decades. Capturing what happened when two of the 90s’ biggest influences united in the studio, it is – unlike many supergroup-type projects – far more than the sum of its parts. To best represent a dynamic body of work with such historic lineage, the pop-art-inspired cover consists of a kaleidoscope of commonplace home products, creating art out of the everyday. There is no doubt that John Squire himself, who was behind the iconic Jackson Pollock-styled cover of The Stone Roses’ debut album, played a role in its conception, serving up a casual nostalgia that’s fitting for a record that any 90s enthusiast is sure to lap up.

Designers: Jamie Hutchinson, John Squire

Liam Gallagher And John Squire: ‘Liam Gallagher John Squire’

6: Little Simz: ‘Drop 7’

Introspective and vulnerable, Little Simz’s latest release, Drop 7, is simply remarkable. Presenting the British rapper in profile as part-human, part-cyborg, the album’s black-and-white artwork both reflects the era of technological possibility we exist in and honours Simz’s own expedition into the unknown on a raw, thought-provoking journey of self-reflection. A powerful representation of the album’s themes, it more than earns itself a spot among the best album covers of 2024.

Designers: Jeremy Cole, Marco Grey

Artwork Little Simz: ‘Drop 7’

5: Dua Lipa: ‘Radical Optimism’

The wait is over. Dua Lipa has finally entered her Radical Optimism era. As she has explained it, the album’s title comes from “the idea of going through chaos gracefully and feeling like you can weather any storm”. True to that concept, the artwork pictures Lipa in the open sea, calm and powerfully postured as she eyes an approaching shark. With lead single Houdini being named after a death-defying escape artist, it’s clear Radical Optimism is going to be stuffed with empowering anthems.

Photographer: Unknown

artwork  Dua Lipa: ‘Radical Optimism’

4: Royel Otis: ‘PRATTS & PAIN’

If you’ve been on TikTok recently, you’ve no doubt heard Royel Otis’ addictively indie cover of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Murder On the Dancefloor. PRATTS & PAIN, the duo’s debut album, is a deeply captivating listening experience, fusing rock and soul with breezy vocals in order to create a sound that meanders seamlessly between the tranquil and the gritty. At first glance, the album cover pictures the Australin duo of Royel Maddell and Otis Pavlovic dangling from a wall, in mortal peril. Upon closer inspection, they both have their feet firmly planted on the ground. One of the best album covers of 2024, it’s an astute image for a record that’s suffused with a natural warmth and humour yet which nods to the life struggles which inspired the music.

Photographer: Unknown

Artwork Royel Otis: ‘PRATTS & PAIN’

3. Jacob Collier: ‘Djesse Vol.4’

Breathtaking sonic masterpieces are now par for the course with Jacob Collier, and Djesse Vol.4 is yet another a genre-defying entry in an impressive résumé of releases characterised by their creator’s captivating vocals and multi-instrumental talents. Matching the expansive, mind-blowing sounds within, the album’s cover is a vibrant explosion of tiny images that – revealing more of themselves the closer you look – assumes a vaguely head-shaped image. It’s the perfect accompaniment for Collier’s ever-changing, always exciting music.

Designer: Unknown

Artwork Jacob Collier: ‘Djesse Vol.4’

2: The Last Dinner Party: ‘Prelude To Ecstasy’

Perhaps the most talked-about band of the year, The Last Dinner Party built a loyal yet sizable following even before releasing any music. Bringing baroque-pop back to the fore, Prelude To Ecstasy is an addictive blend of intricate arrangements, stacked melodies and dramatic vocals that it has taken a special type of artwork match. Staying loyal to their roots, the five-piece staged the cover shoot in East London’s The George Tavern, where they first performed together as a band. Framed – quite literally – as a portrait hung above a mantlepiece strewn with flowers, candles and other accoutrements of mourning, the image is one of the most elegant among the best album covers of 2024, its intimation of faded glamour giving an alluring indication of the nostalgic world The Last Dinner Party inhabit.

Photographer: Cal McIntyre

Artwork The Last Dinner Party: ‘Prelude To Ecstasy’

1: Iron And Wine: ‘Light Verse’

From collages to embroidery and paintings, Sam Beam – aka Iron And Wine – usually creates each of his album covers in a different medium, and the artwork for his seventh record, Light Verse, is no different. Appearing like a collaged screenprint in cobalt ink, the image depicts sky, butterflies and a figure in freefall – guitar in hand, of course. It’s right up there with previous Iron And Wine classics, among them the sleeves for The Shepherd’s Dog and Our Endless Numbered Days, and makes for an ethereal beauty among the best album covers of 2024.

Designer: Sam Beam

Artwork Iron And Wine: ‘Light Verse’

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