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Pop, derived from the word "popular," is a genre that's continually hard to define. Pop music shifts constantly, but over time, it has been known to include catchy melodies and hooks, repeated choruses, and widespread appeal. Today, pop music borders on a lot of rap and dance music, but at its core, the aforementioned qualities define it.

Picking a list of The 50 Best Pop Album Covers of the Past Five Years is hardly an easy task, but it's one that reveals a lot about how these album covers work. Especially in the context of recent pop releases—Katy Perry's Prism, Lady Gaga's ARTPOP, Sky Ferreira's Night Time, My Time, and M.I.A.'s Matangi—one realizes the tendency for pop covers to be direct facial portraits, sometimes without much more styling or design.

When it comes to more indie releases, the imaging naturally gets more experimental. Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion is an abstract optical illusion, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs photographed a fist crushing an egg for It's Blitz, and three versions of Santigold pose in front of a painting of herself for Master of My Make Believe

This list includes pop albums that came out between November 8, 2008 and today. Enjoy this visual tour of pop music, and its best covers, from the last five years.

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