Thursday, September 27, 2007

Various Artists - That Dobro Sound's Goin' Round!

There are so many hilarious things about this cover that it's easiest to just make a list.

1) The fact this photo was obviously taken in a studio warehouse instead of a barn
2) The black on yellow text cheerfully suggesting that this LP is a "collector's item" in much the same way that NASCAR plates and Precious Moments figurines are "collectable."
3) The expression on the vaguely-Jimmy Carter looking guy in the center that seems to be very gleeful about the fact that he suckered a bunch of people into thinking said LP is a collector's item
4) The blonde woman's pose, which suggests a combination of "I had better adjust my helmet made of hair," "I have gone deaf from listening to this music for extended periods of time," and "I am actually a mannequin that the photographer found stashed behind these haybales."
5) The lustful gleam in the eye of the top center dobro player that seems to be directed toward Mr. Polka-Dot Shirt.
6) The names of the artists they got to contribute to this compilation in the first place, especially "Shot Jackson."

Dave Starr - The Nearer the Bone, the Sweeter the Meat

"Huh? Who are you assholes? Can't you see I'm eating? The album cover? I thought you fuckheads were coming at 6! Look, if you want a picture so bad, just take one right now. I ain't in no fuckin' mood to get up and dick around taking some damn photo while my food gets cold! Either take a picture right now or get the fuck out of here!"

Birth Control - Operation (Alternate Cover) (1971)

Quite a while ago, I took these guys to task for one cover of their album Operation, which featured a katydid chewing up human babies. What I didn't realize at the time is that apparently Birth Control's album covers came in a variety of different forms. I wasn't surprised to learn, of course, that most of these alternate forms were just as shitty.

Therefore, we have this alternate take on Operation. Instead of a giant insect committing infanticide, we see some sort of eel inside a water-filled condom. Like with most of Birth Control's covers, I really have no idea what this has to do with the concept of birth control, if anything. I mean, the idea "wear a condom or else a giant eel will come out of your penis and destroy your girlfriend's cervix" is juuust a bit insane.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

LaVerne Tripp - The World of Laverne Tripp

"Oh I'll get my reward all right! A reward of ETERNAL GLOBAL DOMINATION! I'm going to have to get rid of this leisure suit first, though. Isn't really becoming of the future WORLD EMPREROR TRIPP! Shit, playing with this overhead projector is fun, Marlene was right."

Led Zeppelin - Coda (1982)

You know the album you're releasing is a cynical cash-in when you can't even spring for actual album artwork. Granted, stark minimalism can work sometimes (such as the iconic art for the Beatles' White Album), but that's assuming that whatever typography or lettering you're using is actually pleasing on the eyes in the first place. This looks like a weathered, bargain-basement flier for a yard sale.

The Beatles - Let It Be... Naked (2003)

This cover breaks my eyes every time I look at it. I refuse to believe that anyone with any inkling of design sense had anything to do with this cover. Using photo negatives on an album cover is a gamble under the best circumstances, but typically you should try to use contrasting colors to make the negatives stand out instead of using a horrible grey background that makes them blend in. The clashing red on the word "Naked" and the inherent awkwardness of the album's title (never, EVER use ellipses in an album title, I beg you) just make things worse. Jesus, they didn't even get Harrison's photo right.

The hilarious thing about this cover is that simply making a straight negative of this cover results in a much more professional looking design that's far easier on the eyes. Nicer color palette, fewer clashing colors, and an overall nicer viewing experience. It still has problems, but at least they're workable problems.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ted Nugent - Love Grenade (2007)

You hear that, women with breast cancer? Ted Nugent says "Fuck you!"

Amazingly, this is actually less demeaning to women than the original, unused version of this album cover:

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Live It Up (1990)

Ah yes, whenever I think of the smooth, folky melodies of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, what immediately come to mind for me are giant hot dogs. On the moon.

Eddie Layton - Great Organ Hits

Eddie only learned how to play the organ because he thought he could pick up chicks. When he discovered that most women don't find playing the organ to be very attractive, he resorted to subliminal attempts to bring attention to his other "organ" in his album covers. His attempts, it should be noted, were not all that subtle.

(this image comes courtesy, again, of Bizarre Records)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cerys Matthews - Cockahoop (2003)

This album cover proves that no matter how disastrously bad your fashion sense is, you can always make it look that much more ridiculous if you portray yourself with some artwork as drawn by a 10 year old.

Jerry Colonna - Jerry Colonna Plays Trombone Along the Dixieland Hi-Fi-Way (1957)

Jerry Colonna looks like he took a mouthful of uppers with his coffee this morning.

This is one of those instances where, by itself, the art style could've been fantastic, but deciding to superimpose actual photos of Jerry Colonna and entourage over the artwork just makes things really awkward and kind of ugly.

Elf - Elf (1972)

Just when I thought I'd seen everything there possibly is to see on an album cover, I've find what seems to be the world's first-ever white trash elf. I suspect the artist must've got his inspiration from taking a good, long look at Elf band member Ronnie James Dio.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blues Creation - Demon and Eleven Children (1971)

I'm starting to get to the point where I legitimately have to ask what the deal is with psychedelic or metal bands featuring such amateurish, awkward artwork on their albums. Is this just inherent to these bands' style? Does it reflect upon the maturity and/or drug-addled states of these people's minds? I'm seriously starting to get bored of these covers. At least branch out into other styles of awfulness!

Given that this particular band are Japanese, though, maybe I can cut them some slack. Presumably they just figured that bad album covers were part of the territory and dutifully obliged.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Bill Dower - Armed Forces Workout (1984)

You can't get much better than the intense look on this poor guy's face. It suggests a combination of sheer tenacity, blind rage, and a touch of masochistic stupidity, which are all qualities apparently sought by the U.S. Armed Forces. I've never really pretended to understand the mindset of those who need to buy a workout video/album that shouts like crazy at them, but at least I can make fun of the covers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Woofers and Tweeters Ensemble - Beatle Barkers (1983)

You know those dumb "jingle pets" songs that get played on some of the more pathetic radio stations around the holidays? Those "songs" that are old Christmas tunes featuring pitch-shifted dog barks and other animal noises in place of actual singing? Well someone decided to do a whole album of Beatles songs in that "style" and left us with some truly wretched music and a pretty damned bad album cover. I really can't say much more on this subject. If you listen to any of the mp3s on the site provided, you'll realize that no other explanation is required. This is an album straight from the pits of hell itself and to speak of it would just be to invoke its dark powers to destroy all that is good and just in the world. Or at least wreck some pretty good Beatles tunes.

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

Back in the 60s, drugs caused people to do really stupid things they thought were cool at the time. Thus, we have the Beatles dressed up in goofy animal costumes in front of really awful (and awfully dated at this point) psychedelic backdrops. The starburst motif was honestly silly enough, but the American LP cover shown here just made matters worse with the bizarre yellow/blue cloud texture stuff. Not really a high point from an artistic perspective.

The Beatles - Yesterday and Today (original cover) (1966)

Let's ignore the whole "GREATEST BAND EVER" critical fawning that takes place whenever the Beatles are mentioned for a second and be reasonable here; this cover is fucking awful.

I can't really imagine how an idea this asinine was concocted in the first place. "Let's drape meat and plastic body parts on the Beatles!" sounds like a bad joke, not an actual art project. Even then, using one of said images for an album cover is not only asinine but a huge lapse in judgement. Everyone's favorite mop-topped whatevers covered in meat is not something your average pop fan wants to consider.

Some people consider this album cover to be a brilliant ploy by the Beatles to stick it to the man and make some sort of bold artistic statement. An artistic statement involving meat, I guess. I agree more with George Harrison's take on this whole thing; "I thought it was gross, and I also thought it was stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naïve and dumb; and that was one of them."

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Polyphonics - Zounds! What Sounds

There's no denying it; this is one of the goofiest album covers I've ever seen.

Zen - Hair (1969)

This is a promotional still from the little-known original concept version of the movie Mannequin. Instead of featuring Kim Catrall as a department store mannequin come to life, this version featured an army of blank, soulless mannequins attempting to take over the world. Kind of like zombies if zombies happened to be made of wood. In this scene, we see an army of them surrounding and about to destroy a pack of hapless hippies on their way to a love-in.

Mike Melvoin - The Plastic Cow Goes Moooooog (1970)

The plastic cow's lifeless eyes plead with you. Its pitiful cries of "moog" fill your ears. The plastic cow is attempting to tell you something. You can sense that it wants you to pull its plug. The plastic cow realizes its existence is horrible and unnatural. It pleads with you to end its so-called life by merely unplugging its cord, end its futile cries of "moog" once and for all.

(It should be noted that "moog" is actually pronounced to rhyme with "vogue," so Melvoin completely fucked up his stupid pun.)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Butthole Surfers - Electriclarryland (1996)

I can't really nail this album cover for being in bad taste since a solid majority of the Butthole Surfers's album covers were in bad taste. I can at least take them to dask for doing bad taste so ineptly. I mean, this is a band that went from album covers featuring photos of starving Africans and John Wayne Gacy paintings to a very crudely drawn cartoon image of a guy getting a pencil shoved into his ear. This doesn't make the previously mentioned covers that much better, mind, it just makes you realize that if you're going to really go for bad taste, you might as well go all the way. It won't make your album cover any better, but it won't look so half-assed.

Michael Jackson - Ben (original cover) (1972)

People try to trace exactly where Michael Jackson started to go wrong. Was it his horrible childhood growing up in Gary? The stratospheric fame in the 80s that turned his head all wrong? Personally, I believe that things started to go awry as early as the 70s, when Michael sang a ballad about a rat and was featured on an album cover with a bunch of rats. That's the sort of thing that's likely to mess with anyone's head.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Boys Town Gang - Can't Take My Eyes Off You (1997)

Well. Sometimes, I really don't need to say anything at all about these covers.

Joe Vento - The Many Moods of Joe Vento

"Duhhh, hey maw! I finally got me one of them there recordin' contracts! And I think this purdy lady likes me! Ah'm gonna be livin' the good life! Huh? Whaddya mean they're takin' a pitcher of me right now?"

Friday, August 31, 2007

Velvett Fogg - Velvett Fogg (1969)

As much as I love bare breasts, and as much as I'm not opposed to the concept of the Summer of Love, this album cover manages to make both seem really unpalatable. Let's face it, any album cover that manages to make bare breasts seem like a terrible thing is committing some serious crimes against nature. And what's with the androgynous cowboy thing in the back? Or that ghostly guy? And what's with the feather boas? This cover is starting to make my head hurt. Curse you, 1960s!

The Wurzels - The Combine Harvester (1976)

Ha ha ha! Man, accidents involving farm equipment are such a hoot! You can just IMAGINE the guy on the ground getting slowly ground up into an indistinguishable paste! And look at his friends! They're so happy about this possible turn of events! I've got to tell you, there's nothing like being drunk and stupid on a farm!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Aerosmith - Get a Grip (1993)

Hi, "dudes!" We're the band Aerosmith! You might know us as a bunch of washed-up old guys your parents listened to. We, "like, totally" know what you're thinking, "man," but we're still totally "rad" and "hip" and "with it." Check this "radical" album we just put out! We know that "pierced nipples" are "totally hot" so we thought it'd be really "bodacious" to put one on our album cover. Even the album's name is "too cool for school"! So "don't have a cow, man," and buy our new record! We know you'll think it's "totally rad to the max"! "Cowabunga, dudes!"

Jo Basile - Accordion de Paris (1959)

I like how whoever was responsible for this album cover figured that your average suburban 1950s businessman or homebody wouldn't have a damned clue that an album was supposed to be French in origin if they didn't make it really blatantly obvious. I mean, playing a game of "count the stereotypes" is yielding scores I previously thought were unattainable. Unfortunately, these same marketers made a crucial error in assuming that your average white suburban individual of the 1950s would be interested in music from a bunch of Frenchies in the first place. Ah, c'est la vie.

Fall Out Boy - Evening Out with Your Girlfriend (2003)

Before Fall Out Boy became mopey, dopey purveyors of emo whining suitable for listening to while wearing your librarian sweater and giant, black-framed glasses, Fall Out Boy were apparently a bunch of misguided dorks leering at an ugly girl while surrounded by eye-searing colors. Well, actually they're still a bunch of misguided dorks, but at least their embrace of the mopier side of life has improved their design skills a tad.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fireballet - Two, Too... (1976)

Rateyourmusic tells me that this is the last album Fireballet ever released. I suspect this is because putting all of your ugly, hairy male band members on the cover of your album wearing tutus and frolicking around is considered to be a career-ending move in certain parts of the world. Making awful puns on top of that just seals the deal.

Finch - Beyond Expression (1976)

It's not often that I agree with an album's title, but really, what can you say about a monstrous disembodied heart that's spewing fire from its innards?

At least A.A. Allen didn't name this. He probably would've called it "The Healer of Heartburns."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sebadoh - Bakesale (1994)

I can't really fault Mrs. Barlow for taking this photo of her one year old son. She probably had no idea that, years later, he'd decide to use this candid photo as the cover to one of his albums. If anything, this just proves a point about baby photos; if you thought they were embarassing stashed in an old photo album in your mother's house, they don't become any less embarassing when you put them on the cover of a mass-produced album so that the whole world can see it.

Kenny Rodgers - Kenny Loves Jesus (1981)

"Kenny, Jesus said he only likes you as a friend! He's starting to get kind of worried that you might be obsessing over Him a tad too much! Now please take off that tuxedo. I don't think He's going to spontaneously decide to marry you after seeing how you carved up that tree."

(Image taken from Bizarre Records)

Fortran 5 - Avocado Suite (1995)

Not content to merely show someone using the toilet, Fortran 5 decided to go that tasteful extra mile and provided us with a nude man taking a bath. What the album title has to do with either of these things is something I'd rather not think about too hard.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Elvis Costello - Spike (1989)

Can someone tell me what the hell is going on here? I love Elvis Costello dearly, but I'd really like to know where the hell Costello got the idea that what we'd love to see most on an album cover is his creepy, disembodied head mounted to a wall. I'm not even going to get into the clown makeup applied over his facial hair. Jesus, this is the stuff of nightmares.

Abbfinoosty - Out of Abbfinoosty Comes the Storm (1996)

Scouple hints for those wishing to look more menacing on their album cover(s).

1) It's difficult to look menacing when you use a butterfly-wing pattern as part of your album cover's background.
2) It's nearly impossible to look menacing when you look like Tiny Tim's uglier kid brother.
3) Though spooky lighting can make one look more menacing, be sure the lighting doesn't make your skin look like you're a pumpkin with jaundice.

Charles Roy Schroeder, Ph.D - Rope Jumping for Boys and Men (1974)

I like how the "artist" attempted to depict motion in his image, along with how badly they failed at it. The current image doesn't really depict motion as much as it depicts "having a seizure while attempting to draw someone jumping rope."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons (1995)

You know, it's not that I don't get the point behind this cover or anything (ha ha the little kid in swim trunks is playing in the snow as if it were sand), it's just that the execution seems kind of slipshod. If you're trying to depict a small child playing in the snow, why not take a photo of a child playing in the god damned snow instead of taking a separate photo of the child, throwing him through a blue filter, then haphazardly photoshopping him onto a winter scene in as if we wouldn't notice. The same goes for the damned stupid bucket and scoop. I also like how for some reason the blue filter doesn't work on the piercingly red rose. Jesus Christ, Photoshop turned Storm Thorgerson into a lazy bastard.

Carl Preacher - Just Jesus and Me

It's so sweet that Carl made a nest in his hair for Jesus to roost in.

Lords of Acid - The Crablouse (1994)

At first, I thought that a b-grade parody of a Calvin Klein ad would have to be better than their stupid Pussy cover. Then again, on that cover you don't have to play fun games like "figure out where the hell is that arm coming from" or "see how long you can avoid eye contact with pubic hair."

Ted Nugent - Craveman (2002)

This album cover was brought to you by five minutes with Photoshop's bevel tool.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cannibal Corpse - Worm-Infested (2003)

While this might not really be the worst or most shocking album cover by Cannibal Corpse standards (mostly due to the lack of extreme amounts of gore), this one is still pretty damned bad in its own right. The gigantic amount of wormy tentacles trying to make their way into the girl's most special of places is already bad enough, but then there's the gigantic gaping maw of hell in the background that gives new meaning to the term "vagina dentata." Maybe this means I'm meant to psychoanalyze this, Freud style, to figure out just what the band's sexual hangups are that would result in them putting things like bloody raped corpses on most of their album covers, but most of me doesn't really want to know.

Cattle Decapitation - Human Jerky (1999)

If you're trying to be shocking with an album cover (and if you're a grindcore act, you're almost certainly trying to be shocking), it might help to use a little less contrast on your photo. It seriously took me about 10 minutes for me to figure out that what I was looking at wasn't an unidentifiable blur of red and black but was actually a decapitated cattle head (GEE, JUST LIKE THE BAND NAME). Boy was my face red!

Did you know that the members of this band are apparently vegetarians and place a huge emphasis on animal rights? After seeing this cover, they sure could've fooled me!

The Ministers Quartet - Let Me Touch Him

No offense, but I'd rather not let your guys' hands get within 50 feet of anybody. In fact, I get the sneaking suspicion that these four are responsible for the invention of the restraining order.

A Day of Fun at the Circus

Hey, my idea of fun at the circus is ALSO carpetbombing the circus along and the 10 mile radius surrounding it, dressing up like Emmett Kelly, and looking sad amongst the rubble and body parts. It's like the guys who made this album cover could READ MY MIND!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Roger - The Many Facets of Roger (1981)

Among Roger's many facets are his inability to dress himself in clothing that isn't both ridiculous and extremely ugly, his inability to get a decent haircut, and his shameless mugging for the department store camera that undoubtedly was used to create these shots in the first place.

Kevin Rowland - My Beauty (1999)

If someone were to ask me what my deepest, darkest nightmares looked like, I would have to say that this album cover comes fairly close to nailing it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Kenny Loggins - Keep the Fire (1979)

Apparently, not only did the second coming already happen, it appears that everyone's favorite soft-rock movie soundtrack mainstay Kenny Loggins was the chosen one. Now I suddenly don't feel as bad for making fun of all of those Christian album covers.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Main Source - Breaking Atoms (1991)

"So you see, when you split open atoms by placing them inside this blue sea-shelly thing, delicious jawbreakers fly out! Ha! And they said that nuclear fission was dangerous!"