2016: Favorite Cover Art

Anonymous, 2016, Turing Test, digital oil on canvas, 1020 × 770 px

We celebrate the end of the year the only way we know how: through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music that helped define the year. More from this series


2016 was fucking grim. A series of catastrophic reversals punctuated by obituaries and scandal. The illuminati aren’t just at the gates, they’re on your timeline, messing with your preferences and compromising your history. Any minute now, they could autoplay into song, and music — final form of fashion in an age of noise, icon generator, always more than music — becomes another means of normalization, hard-limiting subjectivity, and sidechaining choice.

The cover artist’s response: sometimes static, sometimes fluid. A little ironic, but not as much as you’d think. An incision into life. A mute commentary that sniggers with echo. A confused ecstasy that comes from living in worlds beyond the reach of our icons and our experts, our snowflakes and our followed. Something so absurd it makes sense of our failure, glorifying it without dignity, framing it within elegant, anxious networks of ambiguity and falsehood. Something alien, distant, opulent, and inconsolate.

A matter of texture and transcription. A matter of laughter in the face of hope. A matter of woke excess. A matter for this list to organize, in fact.


20

Cherushii - Manic

Artist: Sabrina May

[Self-Released]



19

Jonny Trunk - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Artist: Liam Sparkes & John Morgan

[Trunk]



18

Golden Living Room - Post-Internet

Artist: Michael Green

[Phinery]



17

The Caretaker - Everywhere at the end of time

Artist: Ivan Seal

[History Always Favours The Winners]



16

Drake - Summer Sixteen

Artist: Filip Pagowski

[OVO Sound]



15

Blood Stereo / Hair & Treasure - Split LP

Artist: Karen Constance

[Discrepant]



14

DJWWWW - Arigato

Artist: Keith Rankin

[Orange Milk]



13

James Ferraro - Human Story 3

Artist: James Ferraro

[Self-Released]



12

Josephine Foster - No More Lamps In The Morning

Artist: Jove

[Fire]



11

NV - Binasu

Artist: Keith Rankin

[Orange Milk]



10

Jake Tobin - Sorta Upset!

Artist: Jake Tobin, Kevin Mahoney, and Ben Mendelewicz

[Haord]



09

DJ Khaled - Major Key

Artist: Jonathan Mannion

[Epic]



08

Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid

Artist: Alex Pardee

[Rhymesayers]



07

Form A Log / Moth Cock - Split LP

Artist: Samuel Nigrosh

[Hausu Mountain]



06

James Horner - Aliens OST

Artist: Curtis Godino

[Mondo]



05

Mr DougDoug - These Magical Numbers

Artist: Doug Kaplan

[Self-Released]



04

eMMplekz - Lath for Lath’s Sake / Not Actual Game Footage

Artist: Jaye Ho

[Mordant Music]



03

Babyfather - BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow

Artist: Optigram (design) / Dean Blunt (concept)

[Hyperdub]



02

James Blake - The Colour In Anything

Artist: Sir Quentin Blake

[Polydor]



01

Father - I’m A Piece Of Shit

Artist: Unknown

[Awful]


We celebrate the end of the year the only way we know how: through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music that helped define the year. More from this series


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