Riding on the waves of nostalgia here are 5 of the most memorable album covers of the last 30 years.

TLC – CrazySexyCool

TLC

Probably one of the most recognizable R&B albums covers in R&B history. 

While Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip was a nice intro, the album that really cemented the trio’s position in music history was CrazySexyyCool. As a kid, I was always fascinated by the eyes of each girl. Forget the Mona Lisa, the stares from Tboz, Chilli, and Left Eye could pierce right through anybody’s soul. Using only three primary colours – Red/Black/White, the cover is more somber in tone in comparison to its colourful debut. Furthermore, the bold red gives the album an intensity that nicely highlights its contrast sonically from their debut. Whilst the former was light-hearted and vibrant, CSC was mature, fluently smooth, and uber-sexy. 

Picked by Afoma Andrea

New Edition – Heartbreak

New Edition

Okay, so the cover is not exactly super creative, as it is just five guys in a suit hanging around some cars. Yet funnily enough, that is the exact reason why it’s so iconic. This is the first album to return New Edition as a quintet following the public exit of original member Bobby Brown. I can only imagine the shock on fans’ faces when they saw Johnny Gill plastered right in the middle.

The tailored suits and lack of smiles are also of high importance here. Previous covers had the members beaming with goofy grins and awkward haircuts ( looking at you Ralph!). Yet on this cover, we see the fella’s in their best Sunday suits and giving us a smize that Tyra Banks will be proud of. NE Heartbreak signified the group’s transition into their grown and sexy era both image and sound-wise.

Picked by Afoma Andrea

Janet Jackson – janet.

Janet. Album covers

The definitive Janet Jackson album. Describing the album’s theme as “intimacy”, Jackson focused on sexual intimacy from a woman’s perspective. This album was a step in a direction no one was expecting from Jackson, who was described as having a “conservative image”. 

While demonstrating this side of herself, Jackson took part in a sexy photoshoot– resulting in the album’s famous cover. Originally appearing in the September 1993 issue of Rolling Stone magazine Jackson appeared topless, having her breasts covered by the hands of her then-husband René Elizondo Jr.However, the image was cropped for the album cover, only showing Jackson’s face but the full-image was used for the limited-edition double-disc edition of the album.   

Picked by Tara Folkes

Marvin Gaye – I Want You

Marvin

When you think of popular Marvin Gaye album covers, this one should definitely come to mind. I Want You is an album filled with sensual lyrics, expanding on the sexual themes of Gaye’s previous album, Let’s Get It On

The artwork used for I Want You is an adaptation of the famous 1971 painting, The Sugar Shack, by neo-mannerist artist, Ernie Barnes. The original artwork was known for embodying the style of art composition known as “Black Romantic” – with the image showing African-American men and women dancing. Barnes tweaked the album for Gaye, incorporating references to the album.

Picked by Tara Folkes

Doja Cat – Planet Her

Doja Cat album covers

This album art perfectly encapsulates the ethereal theme of Doja’s most recent album, it pictures her in the centre of her universe. The artwork was taken by the famous photographer David LaChappelle who has pictured the likes of Naomi Campbell, Travis Scott, Whitney Houston, and more. His art follows a very otherworldly, abstract, bold, and colourful style which is honestly like Doja herself if you’ve seen her on Instagram, live performances, or any of her music videos you’d know that traditional is not her typical route and she truly is an entertainer. It is one of the most eye-catching covers in my music catalogue for 2021 so far, it’s not boring or another artist’s portrait and it really draws me in, and it helps that the album is amazing.

Picked by Aaliyah Facey