Music from the Nordics is incredibly versatile and most often magnificent – no news there. But sometimes the album covers are so magical that it doesn’t really matter if the songs are good or not.
This photo of Groovy Nickz looks like something at a museum with contemporary art. The band members told Radar Collective in an interview that the song is about the White House turning into a club where the band is partying with baby Donald Trump. It’s a dystopian satire of everything sick about the US.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Björk. Her album and single covers are as creative and spectacular as her music and her persona. She is pretty much the definition of Nordic art.
Danish band Blaue Blaue has a cover art that is a seriously beautiful. This photo of skin against skin is raw yet calm, it feels natural. The text below “You kissed my ear and whispered something and threw yourself into the flames – and I quickly followed ’cause you were mine” is poetic, deep and romantic. Adding text to album covers can remove that powerful emotion a photo can ignite, but here it only spurs its flames.
Kärleksbrev, or love letter, is a single by the Swedish hip hop group Hov1. The band, formed in 2015, has lyrics that are deeply touching, just listen to this: So delete our pictures. Because pictures turn into memories. Because memories turn into wounds. Because the pain turns into years. This cover art is exactly that, art. I want to know who painted it.
The brain behind Zara Larsson’s Lush Life looks like she’s about to call 911 because, boy, we got a heart attack. The styling in this photo is fun, playful and somewhat it feels ironic. Maybe unintentionally, but the Rihanna boots, the retro flip-phone, the Jeffree Star style unicorn highlighter, the holographic giant bean bag – it has to mean something.
Mariette reached national fame after participating in the Swedish Idol in 2009. This song, however, was her act in the Swedish Melody Festival (Eurovision Song Contest tryouts-ish) in 2017 that lead her to a fourth place. Despite her slightly commercial road, her artistry and music have an appreciated depth. This cover reminds me of the Black Swan movie for some reason, it has that darkness hidden under a white, serene mysteriousness.
Jesus, uhm, I mean Jaako has this vintage looking cover for his E.P. Dreamzone. It reminds me of the late Ted Gärdestad, whose music inspires many Swedes and lives on year after year. It’s probably the reason why this cover caught my eye, beacuse Ted’s music is dreamy.
Finnish-Nigerian rapper Noah Kin has a cover that looks trippy, filled with large pixels and could, hence, be any school-book graphic designer’s nightmare. However, I do, in contrast, find it extraordinarily interesting and I love the radiant colors surrounding the pitch-black eye. I follow the streams of color and somehow end up looking straight into the dark pupil.
Tags: Björk, blaue blaue, dolores haze, hov1, idol, iman, jaako eino kalevi, mariette, noah kin, zara larsson
Jonas is a writer based in Stockholm.
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