Memorable Album Covers of 2023

David Deal
3 min readJan 1, 2024

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The popularity of vinyl reminds us that analog and digital coexist comfortably amid ongoing hype over VR and the metaverse. Record album covers continue to endure as a cross-channel expression of a musician’s art, arguably even better than they did in analog age.

In the pre-digital days of yore, album covers flourished in record stores and perhaps on billboards and merchandise depending on how popular a musician was. But now, album cover art creates a visual touchstone that carries over on websites, social media, and everywhere else a fan and artist find each other. Artists can re-interpret themselves with multiple versions of the same cover as Olivia Rodrigo did with GUTS and Lana Del Rey with Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. and drop album cover art as its own event in advance of the actual album.

In 2023, the most memorable album covers were compelling expressions of the human condition. Kara Jackson pierces the viewer with her observant gaze, hinting at the heart-rending melancholia that suffuses the music inside her debut album Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?

Olivia Rodrigo’s coy expression speaks of the confident self-assurance of an artist coming into her own on her sophomore album.

The striking cover of Caroline Polachek’s Desire, I Want to Turn into You focuses on her powerful, ravenous gaze as she crawls on the floor of a subway.

At a time when the emergence of generative AI is reshaping the landscape of entertainment, 2023’s most memorable covers collectively assert that although AI can do many things, art is a distinct expression of the human soul. My presentation below contains more examples. Enjoy!

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