Check out J-Generation′s best J-Pop and J-Rock album/single jackets of 2022, chosen by David Cirone, Marc Bowie, and Nhu Nguyen.
Perfume – Plasma
Nhu: The Plasma cover is on-brand Perfume: minimalistic, futuristic, and complete with lines, of which most importantly, forms a triangle! Taken on the music video set of the main single, Spinning World, the dark jewel-toned cover is quite striking as a beam of light illuminates the red-dressed trio below in a dark blue lit traditional Chinese-style room.
MIYAVI – MIYAVIVERSE – Anima
Dave: Samurai guitarist MIYAVI primes your eyes to journey through the worlds of anime with this electric neon portrait, evoking the fantastic worlds of Galaxy Express 999, City Hunter, Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, and Mobile Suit Gundam F91 on this new album of cover songs.
WagakkiBand – Vocalo Zanmai 2
Marc: The folk-metal ensemble drops the cartoon images from 2020’s Tokyo Singing and reverts to a full group photo just like on their debut album. There’s something refreshingly old-school about a simple band photo for an album cover.
a crowd of rebellion – ABANDONSYSTEM__
Nhu: The dystopian cover for the digital release of a crowd of rebellion’s ABANDONSYSTEM__ shows two sides of the same vortex encompassed within a tree blooming with flowers in a city-scape. One side highlights the dark energy seen during the day, and, my favorite, its powerful energy and glow on the opposite side.
sukekiyo – Salus
David: This one’s cheating a bit, since Salus dropped just days before 2022, but the elegant simplicity and powerful composition bring this single from sukekiyo into Nobuyoshi Araki territory. The mood of contemplation creates a perfect image for this single.
tricot – Fudeki
Marc: A robot dog, a metallic space car, a shimmery disco backdrop … It’s hard to tell what’s going on with the cover of tricot’s seventh album but it makes for an arresting eye candy image.
Yuzu – People
Nhu: A Rococo-patterned sky and dreamy abstract-patterned tree trunks make for a bewildering yet delightful combo on the colorful album art for YUZU’s 16th album PEOPLE. Like previous releases, the figures of the duo are represented on the cover artwork, this one illustrated by Tomokazu Matsuyama. Here the musicians are shown wearing flower-patterned suit jackets paired with striped pants. Some would call that a fashion crime but the duo pulls off the same outfits in real life!
Sakurazaka46 – Samidare yo
Dave: The dreamy landscape of “Samidare yo” creates a subdued fairy tale setting filled with emotion. Listening to the track’s excellent harmonies and following the lyrics’ powerful message of bravely facing the future, you can find even deeper symbolism in this wonder-filled photograph. This synchronization between performance, imagery, and music is when idol music is at its best, and this is exactly the kind of track Greg Hignight and I would have discussed for hours. Greg always championed the under-appreciated artistry of Japanese idols, and he would have loved this one.
Yumi Matsutoya – Yuming Banzai!: -Yumi Matsutoya 50th Anniversary Best Album
Nhu: Fifty years is quite the milestone and in the music industry, no easy feat! In celebration of Matsutoya’s 50-year career, the best-of album cover shows the singer deservedly looking every bit a J-pop queen posing confidently in a stunning red dress against a vibrant backdrop. The statement is clear: I’m still here and I’m going nowhere!