Music albums often deliver some of the most iconic pieces of artwork in modern culture.  The links between music and the rest of what are collectively known as “the arts” is usually plain to see when you look at some album covers.

Some become iconic because they are brutal in their simplicity and meaning – think the cover for Nirvana’s Nevermind album – while others because of their elaborate nature and almost over the top design, like The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Abstract art designs are also commonplace when it comes to album covers. Here is a rundown of what we believe to be the top five such examples.

Muse – The Resistance
Muse are one of the biggest and most popular bands in the world, and they love artistry and the spectacular, too. Anyone who has seen them perform live can attest to that, while those who haven’t only need look at the vast array of “Best Live Band/Performance” accolades they have won in addition to all the other times they have been nominated.

This passion extends to their album covers, too, and while many of them make you think, 2009’s The Resistance ticks the abstract box better than all the others, and even has separate yet still abstract cover art for anyone buying the vinyl version.

Radiohead – In Rainbows
When Radiohead released In Rainbows in 2007, it got more attention for being available using the now popular “pay what you want” model than for the album art, because it was initially an exclusive digital release.

Again, a number of different album covers are available, but all are abstract and make great use of colour and effects, and like most of Radiohead’s material, they are fun to experience, and great to try to discover the meaning to.

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
While Coldplay have been critically and commercially successful for all their careers, they still carried around the dreaded “middle of the road” and “boring” tags like millstones most of the time.

These were finally cast aside when they released Mylo Xyloto, and while the artwork itself isn’t the most standout piece of abstract expressionism you’ll ever see, it is eclectic yet thoughtful enough to provoke your mind, while the music fit the artwork to perfection, too.

Röyksopp – Melody A.M.
Electro music is often the best place to turn when you want abstract inspirations, and Norwegian duo Röyksopp delivered it with a re-release of their Melody A.M. debut album. The idea behind the artwork is devastatingly simple, yet brings colour and something unexplained into your thoughts while not being so over the top and abstract as to be dismissed as ridiculous

Keane – Perfect Symmetry
Probably winning the award for the title that is most likely to make use of abstract design (without having the word abstract in the title) is Keane’s Perfect Symmetry. The simple use of photography and shapes on the album cover brings it to life, the only problem is you find yourself dealing the people who argue that the cover isn’t symmetrical!

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