Tuesday, July 15, 2008

moe. - No Doy (1996)

moe. must have realized a bit too late that having a photo of a man with a nail driven through his skull on an album cover was pretty morbid and sent the wrong message about what listening to the band's music might cause you to do to yourself. Their solution of painting the nailed man hazard-cone orange with Prince purple eyes and giving him a big, dopey smile was a fairly inelegant (not to mention ineffectual) fix for this problem.

Quick Change - Circus of Death (1988)

You are now listening to a metal album. If the metal you are listening to is not sufficiently "face-melting," you may have to resort to ripping your own face off for the proper metal effect. To demonstrate, I have commissioned my 15 year old pothead brother to give us a diagram showing the proper method of ripping off one's own face. He claims that the random green stuff on the side of the image isn't a fully necessary part of the face-ripping experience, but claimed that he had to include it because, to quote, he was "totally feeling it." Thank you.

Emperor - In the Nightside Eclipse (1994)

Q: How do you make the usual sort of cut-rate fantasy artwork found on countless metal album covers even uglier than usual?
A: Make everything a eye-hurting shade of blue, and I mean everything.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ratchell - Ratchell II (1972)

Words just fail me on this one. I never realized there could be a band so collectively ugly that even doctored, Glamour-shots style photos couldn't save any of them. These guys look less like a rock band and more like that depressing band your cheap uncle hired for his wedding that only knew how to play bad covers of old 70s rock ballads, right down to the depressing Tony Orlando look-alike.

The Monkees - Pool It! (1987)

Somebody should have told the Monkees that they stopped being teen heartthrobs approximately 20 years before this album got made. Let's face it, there's nothing more depressing than a bunch of doughy, middle-aged men in swimming trunks trying to play like they're still cool. And jesus, what's with the painted-in water? Couldn't they afford to shoot this album cover in a real pool?

Limp Bizkit - Results May Vary (2003)

Putting a photo of any band members on an album cover isn't a bad idea, really. It just helps if you don't have so much lighting shined on your face that you look like a bloated, doughy corpse. Soaking everything in a sickly lime green doesn't help either since it just makes you look like a cheap ripoff of the Wizard of Oz.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gang of Four - Mall (1991)

This album cover would already be pretty lousy if it had come from some rinky-dink pop-punk band or similar, which is what the album cover reminds me of. It's absolutely depressing when it comes from a band like Gang of Four that really should've known better. But then, I think the 90s made everybody kind of stupid when it came to album cover design.

Frank Black and the Catholics - Frank Black and the Catholics (1998)

Boy there's nothing like having a color palette on your album that makes its title hard to see. It's even better when said color palette consists of brown, yellow, gold, and more brown.

Fotomaker - Fotomaker (1978)

While this obviously isn't on the same level, as, say, Virgin Killer, there's definitely some implications to this album cover that I don't like in the slightest. At least Fotomaker only made a preteen girl pose her FACE provocatively on an album cover, which is more than I can say about what the Scorpions did, but the makeup sure doesn't help Fotomaker's case out any.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus! (2007)

I love psychedelic artwork as much as the next guy but I usually don't like it quite this terrifying. I especially take issue with the really ugly comic book style color job on the figures. This all less suggests psychedelia and more implies some sort of horrible attempt to update the 60s gone hideously awry.

Anton Maiden - Anton Gustafsson Tolkar Iron Maiden (1999)

As I was saying earlier, Photoshop has enabled damned near anyone an opportunity to make bad album covers. You can be an ugly, nerdy metalhead with a computer and a dream and all it takes is 15 pounds of Photoshop filter and some overlaid text. I really have to wonder what the point of the filter is, though. Are they supposed to be flames? Is he in Hell? Is this some sort of sunset sky? Did someone eat too much canned ravioli and barf on the camera lens?

American Gypsy - Angel Eyes (1974)

Portraying your band as a group of cheetahs on an album cover is kind of strange but it could potentially work if done well. Unfortunately, whoever drew this apparently only had four paint colors to work with and was suffering from the DTs, resulting in something that's less "strange" and more "ugly and horrifying to look at." At least this band didn't exist in the era of Photoshop or else we'd probably be seeing a bunch of poorly-pasted and colored heads atop real cheetah bodies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Formula 3 - Sognando e Risognando (1972)

I didn't know that cutting a woman in half could actually be made more creepy and disgusting, but these guys sure managed to figure it out. I guess they figured that if they made the body look like a bad blow-up doll of a corpse, they could get away with the whole bisection thing without it seeming too terrible. Of course, they failed to realize that even having that idea for an album cover in the first place is terrible in and of itself.

Chumbawamba - Tubthumper (1997)

I've talked before about 90s album cover design and its failings. Here, we see it in action. Any ape with a new copy of Photoshop could've made this fucker in about 30 seconds. Take a photo of a baby, throw a pukey pink color filter on it, paste on a big mouth, put it on a color-fill background, and there you go, instant shitty album cover.

With this cover, we also see that babies must be a recurring motif for Chumbawamba.

Various Artists - M'm! M'm! Good!

Another product placement album (for Campbell's Soups of all fucking things) and this one is just goddamned inexplicable. The mother's so hopped up on thorazine she's starting to think that she's Popeye while her porcine little runt is so piggish that you could probably cut him into slabs and sell him as bacon. And boy, nothing aids the digestion of Campbell's Soup quite like the Ray Coniff Singers, or Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors.

(Image comes courtesy of Bizarre Records)