2017: Favorite Cover Art Sowing future-primitive dreams in earthy pinks and smeared brushstrokes

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


Absurdity’s dead, and we, the citizens of the digital sphere, killed it. What good is Pynchon when our president’s penning a postmodern novel in real time, weaving all-caps interjections and sporadic entanglements with B- and C-list celebrities into his fragmented Twitter narrative? Does James Ferraro’s work still spark the imagination like it did in a world before real-time ridesharing startups founded their own cryptocurrencies in order to eliminate tipping in the service industry? Do vaporwave’s neo-classical busts feel that lifeless among the animated emojis we use as virtual masks? Even the most surreal, depraved nooks and crannies of the internet feel like home.

“Looks like I’m in the weird part of YouTube again,” reads a comment I’ve read a hundred times before. Maybe it felt that way to the user who posted that four years ago. I wish I could feel unnerved by hyperrealistic CGI or creepypasta lore. But how can I when I feel like I’ve been a voyeur all my life, peeking into the collective Id of the post-industrial world?

The album artwork that populated year-end lists past has proven prophetic: to fill 2017’s top 20 countdown with PC Music’s CGI-scapes and Babyfather’s pseudo-nationalist iconography would feel like a cruel joke, too reflective of our pessimistic times. Instead, I’ve sought out earthy pinks, blues, and greens — smeared by brushes or scrawled in pen — to sow future-primitive dreams of happier times. I hope you don’t mind some prescriptive color in lieu of the bleak descriptivism I originally planned on listing. We could all use it.


20

chivo carnada - choxxo /koyote

Artist: Agus Wussy

[Self-Released]



19

Los Campesinos! - Sick Scenes

Artist: R.N. Taylor

[Wichita]



18

Dillon Wendel - Pulse

Artist: Anne Tetzlaff

[The Trilogy Tapes]



17

Alex G - Rocket

Artist: Rachel Giannascoli

[Domino]



16

Lil Wop - Wopavelli 2

Artist: HOODxGHANDI

[Bases Loaded]



15

Swept - Cult Desire

Artist: Mason Lindroth

[Self-Released]



14

Communions - Blue

Artist: Tea Palmelund

[Fat Possum]



13

Jessica Says - Do With Me What U Will

Artist: Unknown

[Chapter Music]



12

Minogame - Lemongrass

Artist: Minogame

[The Worst]



11

Jean-Michel Blais & CFCF - Cascades

Artist: Dan Wilton

[Arts & Crafts]



10

Lina Tullgren - Won

Artist: Unknown

[Captured Tracks]



09

emamouse - holiday of tiny coffee shop

Artist: Jesus Belluci

[Belluci Enterprises]



08

clipping. - The Deep

Artist: clipping.

[Sub Pop]



07

Thundercat - Drunk

Artist: Zack Fox

[Brainfeeder]



06

i-fls - wasted

Artist: i-fls

[Self-Released]



05

Robert Soleto - Cusp

Artist: Daniel Sean Kelly

[Upset the Rhythm]



04

Planning For Burial - Below the House

Artist: Micah Sedmak

[The Flenser]



03

Various Artists - The Downward Spiral

Artist: gei

[The Worst]



02

Daniel Saylor - Spring Rain

Artist: John Zobele

[Bedlam Tapes]



01

Stuck in November - First Visit to Camp Telepathy

Artist: Stuck in November

[Self-Released]


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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