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?"