The 20 best album covers of 2014

Even in the digital realm, a record’s identity is often defined by its cover.

It’s hard to listen to FKA Twigs’ shimmering debut album without bringing to mind its defining visual style, and similarly there was a sinking feeling when we were introduced to the lackluster artwork for Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint.

The following 20 selections are our favorite pieces of album artwork this year, from the grandiose and artistic to the laugh-out-loud hilarious (BeatKing, we’re talking about you). We know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to at least notice.

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SWANS
TO BE KIND
(YOUNG GOD)

100S
IVRY
(FOOLS GOLD)

DRUTURE
UH-OH!
(GRIZZLY)

RUSTIE
GREEN LANGUAGE
(WARP)

FUTURE
MONSTER
(FREEBANDZ)

BLACK TO COMM
BLACK TO COMM
(TYPE)

THE SOFT PINK TRUTH
WHY DO THE HEATHEN RAGE?
(YOUNG GOD)

SUSANNA & JENNY HVAL
MESHES
(SUSANNASONATA)

GIANT CLAW
DARK WEB
(ORANGE MILK)

UNTOLD
BLACK LIGHT SPIRAL
(HEMLOCK)

MOODYMANN
MOODYMANN
(MAHOGANI MUSIC)

SCOTT WALKER & SUNN O)))
SOUSED
(4AD)

BEATKING
POLE SEX EP
(NO LABEL)

LAWRENCE ENGLISH
WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS
(ROOM40)

GAZELLE TWIN
UNFLESH
(ANTI-GHOST MOON RAY/LAST GANG)

PC MUSIC
DISOWN RADIO MIX
(NO LABEL)

SLUG CHRIST
GENOCIDE
(AWFUL RECORDS)

SD LAIKA
THAT’S HARAKIRI
(TRI ANGLE)

ROME FORTUNE
SMALL VVORLD
(NO LABEL)

FKA TWIGS
LP1
(YOUNG TURKS)