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.