Check out J-Generation′s best J-Pop and J-Rock album/single jackets of 2014, chosen by contributors David Cirone and Jen Wang.
Dir en Grey – Sustain the Untruth
Dave: Demonic-male-sexy as only DIR EN GREY can pull it off. This is the kind of album jacket that makes me buy something right off the shelf without hearing a note.
Aldious – Other World
Jen: The gorgeous ladies of Aldious look like Disney princesses… ready to rock!
URBANGARDE – Utsukushii Kuni
Dave: URBANGARDE’s Utsukushii Kuni features artwork by renowned Japanese painter Aida Makoto, a contemporary Japanese artist known for his provocative works of manga, painting, and sculpture. Paired with URBANGARDE’s always counter-culture lyrics, the painting takes on new life as a critique of a schoolgirl-obsessed society.
Man With a Mission – Tale of Purefly
Jen: The fantastical artwork is reminiscent of The Dark Crystal and Lord of the Rings.
Onmyouza – Fujin Kaiko & Raijin Sosei (double release)
Dave: EPIC is the word for the awesome double-concept-album artwork served up for Onmyouza’s mythology-themed releases of Fujin Kaiko & Raijin Sosei. This is a band that swings for the fences with their visual imagery, and their fan following worldwide continues to rise.
Rie a.k.a. Suzaku – Sonic City
Jen: With her brightly-colored hair and goggles, Rie a.k.a. Suzaku looks like a post apocalyptic anime heroine ready to protect the world from aliens and bad music.
THE KIDDIE – DYSTOPIA
Dave: The Kiddie’s Matrix-like cybernetic moment of capture strikes just the odd balance between horror, androgyny, and straight-on casual cool, tip of the hat included.
Blu BiLLioN – Sincerely Yours
Jen: There’s nothing more sincere than the heart, and the one of an artist is multifaceted and full of life. The eye in it seems to penetrate the soul.
Sheena Ringo – Gyakuyunyu Kowankyoku
Dave: Once again flawless and fearless, Sheena Ringo takes charge of her own Ports and Harbors Bureau to “re-import” herself on this album of self-covers for songs written for PUFFY, Chiaki Kuriyama, and SMAP among others.
VAMPS – Bloodsuckers
Dave: The jacket for VAMPS Bloodsuckers puts you in a dangerous position — save yourself or give in to the tattooed vixen who’s ready to bring your life to a sweet but sudden end.
Perfume – Cling Cling
David: The ornate doll-like beauty of Perfume is captured perfectly in the artwork for the limited edition release of Cling Cling.
moumoon – Love before we Die
Jen: The shot has all the making of a typical romantic image even the lens flare, but the cut on her mouth completely subverts it.
Brand New Idol Society (BIS) – STUPIG
David: Anime/mecha versions of the group’s members reveal BIS to be every fan boy’s dream — poseable, shiny, and ready for takeoff!
Charan-Po-Rantan – Wasurekaketeta Monogatari
Jen: This cover perfectly captures the band’s whimsical nature. It would interesting to join the sisters for tea.
Mamoru Miyano – New Order
David: Mamoru Miyano’s tie-in single for the Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life: Awakening Arc anime is ultra-cyber-future-sexy. He’s ready to move fast into some luck girl’s heart.
Tokyo Girls’ Style – Jujika
David: Tokyo Girls’ Style’s single release for the horror film Gakkou no Kaidan puts you in the perfect frame of mind for schoolgirl ghost stories.
Fudanjuku – BE HERO
Jen: Rather than another picture of the group, the limited edition album features anime versions of the boys, courtesy of manga artist Naoki Urasawa. Like all good heroes, they are ready for adventure.
Sumire Uesaka – Kakumei Teki Broadway Shugisha Doumei
David: Voice actress Sumire Uesaka delivers an oddly disturbing combination of combat and kawaii in the military version of her single Kakumei Teki Broadway Shugisha Doumei.
Nami Tamaki – NT Gundam Cover
Jen: Nami here is an otaku’s dream girl with lounging around in her cute PJs, surrounded by Gundam models.
Akina Nakamori – All Time Best
David: The artwork for Akina Nakamori’s first (hard-to-believe that!) greatest hits album places her square back in the 80s where she debuted.