Check out J-Generation′s best J-Pop and J-Rock album/single jackets of 2020, chosen by David Cirone, Marc Bowie, and Nhu Nguyen.
Kenshi Yonezu – Stray Sheep
David: Kenshi Yonezu put his magnificent Stray Sheep illustration to work in a worldwide campaign that hit the streets of New York City and gaming screens worldwide in a mind-bending Fortnite collaboration. The unmistakable silhouette gives the pop album a darker and disturbing edge.
MIYAVI – Holy Nights
Marc: MIYAVI might be a guitar-slapping dervish on stage but the cover of Holy Nights finds him in a contemplative pose surrounded by heaps of mysterious industrial cabling and electronic gear.
SCANDAL – Kiss from the darkness
Nhu: Of all 4 versions of Scandal’s Kiss from the darkness album, this limited edition’s cover art was the most stunning. Each cover has a base art of a child on a bicycle with a heart coming out of the head and at least one flower attached to the organ. In this cover, a whole colorful bouquet of flowers blooms from it!
Yousei Teikoku – The Age of Villains
David: Empress Yui’s majesty and malevolence are displayed without apology in the blistering metal album’s key imagery. This is a movie poster that would stay on my wall forever.
Aimer – Haru wa Yuku / Marie
Nhu: I’m weak for lovely sakura imagery. In this cover, a female sits under a Sakura tree in the dark looking up towards a light source with a hand meekly reaching out to it, giving a pensive and hopeful feel.
LAMP IN TERREN – FRAGILE
Marc: LAMP IN TERREN’s FRAGILE picks up where 2018’s The Naked Blues left off with another batch of melodic tunes that zig and zag with unusual yet appealing chord changes, sensitive playing, and powerful vocals. The cartoon character on the cover looks to be somewhat overwhelmed by the modern condition with thought bubbles that veer from “happy” to “greed” to “sleep”.
Reol – Kinjito
Nhu: A female saint-look but done Reol-style!
Kamijo – Persona Grata
David: Kamijo’s lavish 18th-century style portrait is full of lush detail and the promise of seduction. Dangerous liaisons indeed.
BUCK-TICK – Abracadabra
Nhu: The crystals and diamonds in the sky background captured me, and the rays coming off from the center diamond intrigued me — it’s made up of the letters, ABRACADABRA!
My First Story – 1,000,000 Times
David: The cyberpunk skyline and enigmatic character (designed by SWAV and illustrated by Hiro Kiyohara) were the perfect match for the Duel Master Play’s theme song. Captivating and imaginative, simply magnetic.
Hazuki – Sotsuya – FUNERAL
Nhu: A shadow strategically disguises Hazuki’s face like a mask but purposely doesn’t cover the flowers. With a title that includes the word Funeral, it makes me wonder who these white funeral flowers are for.
Aimer – SPARK-AGAIN
David: Aimer’s theme song for the Fire Force anime is post-on literal, going all-in on setting the frame ablaze. No doubt about it, Aimer brought the heat.