Album Covers That Deserve Death

The internet is littered with lists that chronicle the worst album covers in the history of music, but most of them are the same.  We’re all aware of how ridiculous the cover is for Whitesnake’s Lovehunter, and if there’s any album artwork on the planet that actively hates women, it’s the thankfully deleted cover for Ted Nugent’s Love Grenade.  But there’s a lot of dumb album covers that don’t get the ridicule they deserve, and since I’m nice and loaded, that’s what’s about to happen.

  • Korn – See You on the Other Side

If I were to get a hold of a time machine, travel back to 1832, and dropkick baby Lewis Carroll into a pit of ravenous wolves, I would be saving modern age from 90% of its shitty art.  I have no idea what in David Lynch’s name is going on here, but I’m guessing it’s Lewis Carroll’s fault, so I choose to blame him.

  • Danzig – 777: I Luciferi

“GRRRR I’M GLENN DANZIG AND I’M GONNA MAKE YOU SMELL MY CLAW GLOVE THING WHILE MY BANDMATES PLAY WITH THEMSELVES.  BUY MY RECORD!”  When Danzig was doing stuff like The Misfits and Samhain, the art he put together for his albums had a really neat DIY feel to them.  Around when his self-titled act took off, his Napoleon complex took over and he started filling his albums with photos of him with his shirt off, often times while he seemed to be molesting a trashy porn star.  To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, please draw your attention to the back of this record:

“Mmmm that’s right lick the glove girl, just like in Spinal Tap, oh yeah, DON’T LOOK AT ME, that’s right, oh yeah!”

Danzig definitely got his head shoved in one too many toilets in high school, possibly by Jerry Only and his friends.  I imagine the only girls who talked to him were his teachers, and even they openly hated him.  Instead of seeking therapy, he became a rock star with a seriously warped idea of what he looks cool doing, and a view of females that screams “I don’t fucking respect you people.”  But speaking of Jerry Only…

  • The Misfits – American Psycho

Hey kids!  Check out the latest Misfits record!  You know, the family-friendly band that sang about getting a messy blowjob from Jackie Kennedy, and aliens impregnating teenagers?  No?  Well you will now, because THERE’S A POSTER INSIDE! WOO-HOO!  We’ll also list some track’s you’ve never heard of on the cover, cuz they have the same names as horror movies and we gotta sell this shit somehow.

The Misfits were actually pretty good with Michale Graves fronting them, but this portrait of the Crimson Ghost is just plain wrongheaded.  Danzig co-opted that image from the 1946 serial and turned it into a punk rock icon.  Here, in his resurrected state, he looks like he’s trying to sell you a used car.

  • Madonna – Hard Candy

Ladies, let this be a shining example of the difference between aging gracefully, and trying desperately to cling to youth.  Faith No More summed up Madonna’s obnoxious need to reinvent herself ad nauseum in their classic tune “Midlife Crisis”, and that was back in 1992.  Hard Candy was released in 2008.

Madonna’s never been truly sexy, because she always tries way too hard.  Her attempts at sexuality usually comes off as forced like they do here, with the trashy spread eagle stance and dime-store dominatrix facial expression.  It doesn’t help that she looks like someone took her as a baby, loaded her into of one of those T-shirt guns, and fired her headfirst into a pole.  If Madge went away forever, I probably wouldn’t notice.

Hey, I just brought up Faith No More!  Segue!

  • Faith No More – The Real Thing

What the fuck am I even looking at?  A flaming raindrop over a dry lake bed?  Who comes up with this boring shit?  Whatever.  Usually with Faith No More, the better the album cover was, the worse the music was inside. This means that The Real Thing is one sweet record.  A sweet record with a dumb, nonsense jacket to house it.

  • Anthrax – The Sound of White Noise

Looks like The Grimace got diarrhea again.  Before this, Anthrax had some pretty kick-ass album covers.  Then they fired Joey Belladonna, hired John Bush, and tried to act like a grunge band, which apparently means having a bullshit abstract album cover, and filling the liner notes with photos of them looking aloof in diners.  The Sound of White Noise is actually a solid record, and “Only” is one of the best tracks Anthrax ever laid down.  But they entered the woods as a band after this album for obvious reasons, and the symptoms of the disease are on display above.

  • Slayer – God Hates Us All

While we’re picking on the Big Four of thrash, let’s look at one of the dumbest covers for a metal album, ever.  I can practically hear the meeting of dipshit marketing minds coming together and getting paid the big bucks to come up with bankrupt crap like this.  It would be easy to verbally destroy this affront to art, but Slayer’s own guitarist, Kerry King, already has.  When asked what the album’s art concept represented, he said the following:

“It represents a record company with absolutely no idea what the fuck they were going to do. If we would have had more time it could have been better. It looks like some seventh-grader defaced a Bible – cartoonish.”

There you have it, even the band thought it was terrible.  This is one of those instances in which in-store censorship yielded positive results, as the alternative cover was much better.

  • Metallica – …And Justice For All

Heresy!  But seriously, why don’t you just punch me in the face and tell me the justice system is corrupt?  It would have the same effect.  There’s a scene in the documentary Paradise Lost, in which then-teenager Damien Echols, who is falsely accused of killing children, explains the meaning behind this album cover/song in court.  In the film’s context, it illustrates a tragic irony, because Damien will eventually be falsely convicted of murdering kids.  Out of context, it simply illustrates how incredibly stupid and shallow this otherwise “iconic” cover art is.

  • Black Flag – Family Man

Oh Henry, get over yourself.  A “spoken word/instrumental” record?  Did you put that on there out of artistic pretension, or did you put it as a warning so fans wouldn’t crucify you after they paid money for this piece of shit?  Please do music and “spoken word” a favor and let life imitate your (cover) art, poser.

  • Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra

Just look at the women here.  This is proof that listening to Limp Bizkit makes you stupid.

  • Mastodon – The Hunter

Mastodon has a great track record when it comes to killer album covers, so why they decided to go with an image that looks like a bull suddenly realizing it’s been shot in the ass on their latest record is beyond me.  Part of me thinks it was a marketing ploy to make people shell out a few extra bucks for the special edition, which sported decidedly less-stupid artwork.

That’s all…for now.

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Review / “Hugo”

My review of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is now available over at Parcbench.  An excerpt:

“Though Martin Scorsese’s Hugo has been marketed as a “family film,” I can assure you that only the young ones who have taken a shine to cinema will really get something out of it.  Yet some critics seem to be reviewing Hugo based on what it’s marketed as, versus what it actually is.  What Hugo isn’t, is a homogenized romp that is “fun for the whole family,” as the marketing would have you believe.  What it actually is, is a family-friendly celebration of the human touch that made the silent-era of cinema so special, and indeed makes a great deal of art so charming.  Aesthetically, Hugo is a very modern film, making liberal use of CGI and 3D effects, yet it uses today’s technology to create a magical lens through with it looks back fondly on a time when a special effect was created by the simple act splicing two frames together with glue.”

Head on over to Parcbench to read the rest!

Blu ray Review / “Conan the Barbarian”

My review of the remake of Conan the Barbarian is up, now available on Blu-ray.  An excerpt:

“There was a refrain among film fans when it was announced that Conan the Barbarian was getting a reboot that no one could replace Arnold Schwarzenegger in titular role.  It’s a tired line of thinking that happens any time a role a certain actor made famous is getting recast (remember when no one could replace Jack Nicholson as The Joker?).  In regards to Conan, people forget (possibly because they’ve never bothered to read the source material) that Arnold’s version of Conan barely resembled the character created by Robert E. Howard, the mad, young, suicidal pulp writer from Cross Plains, Texas who conceived the character.”

Head on over to Parcbench to read the rest!

HomeVideodrome: Fright Night

Apologies about the absence, gotta play catch up.

This week’s HomeVideodrome is up at Parcbench and Big Hollywood.  You can also listen to the podcast over at The Film Thugs.  This week we spotlight Fright Night, a good remake that will hopefully find the audience it deserves on video.

Also here’s the ones from the past few weeks in case you missed them:

December 6thThe Help

November 29thCave of Forgotten Dreams

November 22ndSuper 8

The Apes of Wrath

On the latest episode of The Midnight Movie Cowboys podcast, Stu and I go through the entire Planet of the Apes franchise, from the classic original, onto it’s sequels, the spin-off TV shows, the Tim Burton remake, and finally, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  So head on over to the site and check it out.  Also, be sure to subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t already!

HomeVideodrome: “Infernal Affairs”

I’ve been slacking when it comes to posting links to these here, but rest assured I’m still writing them.  You can check out this week’s HomeVideodrome at either Parcbench or Big Hollywood, as well as this week’s podcast, in which Jim and I dedicate “Hell Awaits” by Slayer to Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky.

In case you want to check out HomeVideodrome from the last couple of weeks, check the links below:

November 8th: column and podcast (the podcast features a review of Atlas Shrugged Part I, also note the correction in regards to what I said about the Blue Velvet Blu-ray)

November 1st: column and podcast (featuring Cars 2)

Review / “Melancholia”

My review of Lars Von Trier’s haunting film Melancholia is now available over at Parcbench.  An excerpt:

Melancholia is a film that lives up to its title, as Lars Von Trier’s latest film perfectly captures the state of someone with a hopelessly depressive worldview.  It would make an interesting double-bill with Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, in that while Malick’s film celebrates the beauty that life itself has to offer, Melancholia‘s tone imbues the audience with a feeling of what it’s like to see life as an ultimately futile experience.  It’s like the teenage son who utters “What’s the point?” with disdain when his mother asks him to just get out of bed already by noon.  This sort of angst seems obnoxious to those who aren’t depressed, but it doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t somehow genuine.

Head on over to Parcbench to read the rest!

Review / “The River Why”

My review of The River Why, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, has been published over at Parcbench.  An excerpt:

The River Why is one of those rare films about fishing, an activity that seldom gets dwelled upon in movies.  Mostly, it’s a film about the relationship between man and nature, a subject that has been explored by many different artists with many different takes on it.  The River Why is a movie that does a couple of things well.  Like most movies that take place in nature’s kingdom, the cinematography is lovely, courtesy of Karsten Gopinath.  Given that it deals with fishing, it also captures a few moments in a way that seasoned fly-fisherman can relate to, such as unwanted encounters with less-experienced fisherman who inadvertently ruin a local spot by plunking in with their amateur rods and reels.  This is roughly all the good stuff The River Why has to offer.

Head on over to Parcbench to read the rest!

Monday Mosh / The Misfits / “Dark Shadows”

  • Artist: The Misfits
  • Song: “Dark Shadows”
  • Album: Devil’s Rain
  • Genre: Horror punk

The new Misfits album is a generic turd, an exercise in mediocrity.  This is one of the few tracks I kind of enjoy off of it, but the album as a whole is for completists only who haven’t completely abandoned the group yet.  Just go listen to Danzig’s latest album again instead, because it’s actually really good.  Head on over to Parcbench to read my review of the record, as well as my final thoughts on Lou Reed & Metallica’s Lulu.