"The album is dead, long live the album" seems to be culture pundits' general stance on the music industry in 2013. Despite this, album artwork has somehow managed to soldier on as a talking point and signifier of larger themes and topics. I mean, people sure do have opinions about the new Drake cover that was revealed earlier this week. Over time, the really good ones (so probably not Drake's) become synonymous with a specific time and place—Abbey Road, Hotel California, The Joshua Tree, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, to rattle off a few. New York City certainly has been represented in its fair share of iconic cover art, but it's been a while since the go-to album list was updated to include some new names. So then...
For a band whose name references vampires, on an album whose title referencing vampires, where lyrics revolve around the passing of time and are riddled with references of NYC (The Times, Henry Hudson, Jewish delis), an old-worldly cityscape with fog rolling in captures the mood pretty perfectly.
Though the intersection of Rivington and Ludlow was eventually turned into a Three Monkeys falafel shop (and then burned down), it still exists in Brooklyn, if only in our minds, forever.
Though less famous than Paul's Boutique's Lower East Side cover shot, the decision to feature the Twin Towers so prominently in what appears to be an architectural rendering of Lower Manhattan's skyline carries self-explanatory significance, even more so when it plasters an album amped on criticizing Bush's presidency.
Just an innocent young man, sitting on the steps of 142 Mercer Street, waiting for his Uptown girl to visit from her white-bread world. (Granted, the cover of Joel's fourth album, Turnstiles, could easily work here too, but An Innocent Man just straight-up has better songs.)
Window. Big City. Christmas. Sadness. Done, done, done and done.
Here the Pixy Stix Pratt grads make it very clear that they love Brooklyn, going as far as naming their debut album after main drag Grand Street and giving it a graffitied look, because, you know, DIY.
We're sensing a theme.
Photographer Joel Bernstein, just 18 at the time, was reportedly "shocked" when Young chose this shot to adorn the cover of his third proper album. In hurrying to get the woman in the frame while Young walked near Washington Square Park, the focus got all out of whack.
A surreal twist on the city's skyline, taking on the likeness of a Scott Mutter photo montage... like how at first listen Cut Copy's synth-pop is blatantly dancey but gradually reveals itself to be secretly sad? Just like that.
The liner notes of Basinski's monster four-disc collection features photos he took from his rooftop throughout the course of a fateful September day in 2001. Like the music it contains, the packaging speaks to both hope and defeat.
But will the upcoming CBGB movie recall the Ramones getting their picture taken outside the club's back door as part of its composite of Cool Moments?! The outlook looks good.
"Exciting new sounds in the folk tradition" while waiting for the F train at 53rd & 5th.
For what Sonic Youth albums lack in iconic city imagery, Ranaldo makes up here, his ninth studio album and solo debut for Matador. In interviews, he's talked about using this photo as ammunition to finish the record. It features Maya Barkai's street art project in Ranaldo's Lower Manhattan neighborhood, in which the "walking man" symbol is interpreted as it is in 99 cities around the globe.
One of the quintessential New NYC bands in a quintessential New NYC apartment.