6 Stupefyingly Bad Album Covers
Being a part of a band comes with a lot of choices and decisions. First and foremost there’s a name that you have to agree upon followed of course by the kind of music you will be performing and recording. If you can manage to get through all of that without killing each other then the last hurdle to leap over is the name of your album and what to put on its cover. There are literally thousands of terrible band names and equally as many if not more terrible album covers. This article is a showcase of those covers.
But first before we begin, and also so that nobody can point a finger at me and say that I’m being an arrogant jerk, here are two album covers from two different acts I was a part of. Both are pretty bad in their own respects.
Everything about this group was meant to be a gimmick from the start. That’s me on the left pictured with a close friend of mine who was an accomplice of most of my misadventures during the early 00’s. The Wink Martindale 3000 was no exception to the rule and was a novelty that initially portrayed itself as a generic rap/hip-hop performance group complete with the hand symbols flashed above to seal the deal. The end result, compounded with red-eye and Casey looking like he’s screaming at Godzilla over to his left, turned out to be a complete trainwreck of a cover design that in the end turned out just fine in the context of the group. Also, “Are” appears in the album title twice.
Radio F is a group that saw many names and many incarnations of content production. All of the songs contained in all four of the Radio F music albums were trance beats composed with the help of MTV Music Generator. Originally this album was titled On when it was released in 2002 (or 2003, I don’t quite remember) but picked up the name No More Lonely Nights in its 2007 redesign and re-issue. The new title and accompanying cover art was a throwback joke to a very hazy and very confusing time I spent associating with people who had “interests” in Sonic the Hedgehog things. At the time an Amy Rose upskirt shot seemed like it would be pretty hilarious until we realized a while later that it was in fact an Amy Rose upskirt shot we used as an album cover. Regret soon followed.
Those are my two contributions to the world of bad album covers, now here’s the rest provided by the good fellas over at ZomicWeb.
I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this duo but there’s a certain cheesyness that applies to their album cover of Vamos a la Playa (literally “we go to the beach“) that I absolutely adore. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s an air around the image of them (badly) Photoshopped onto the beach that just makes me giggle. It may have something to do with the fact that they’ve literally made a journey out of something as mundane as going to the beach or it could just be how depressingly uninspired they look to actually be at the beach. Francisco has an expression that seems to imply a sarcastic “yay” and Fernando appears to be trying to make the best out of his predicament of having gone to the beach with a person who clearly doesn’t want to be there.
Oh, what? Did you think this article was going to be restricted to just sketchy foreign bands or something? No, no, and “oh hell naw”; Black Sabbath is not invincible to the realm of terrible album cover art and Sabotage embodies that notion tenfold. Look at this album cover for a few moments and see if you can guess what I’m going to point out. I’ll give you a hint if you haven’t guessed it yet; it’s not the cheap fog effects and it’s not their clothes. Do you give up? It’s the fact that apparently nobody involved with the production of this album knows how a fucking mirror works. You’d think that perhaps someone at the record label would have said “hey whenever I look in the mirror I don’t see the back of my own head” but I guess not. Maybe they’re all secretly afraid of mirrors and believe that once they turn away the reflection of them still continues to gaze forward.
Here’s an album cover that’s so bad it transcends the ranks of terrible and somehow defaults back to “holy crap that’s awesome”; it’s a preacher breaking a stack of cinder blocks with the palm of his hand in a church. Go on, let this sink in for a while because it’s one of those things that only happens once in a millennium. I’m pretty sure this is an album full of hymns and other nonsense but just imagine what it would be like if he sang about kicking the Devil’s ass with karate and substituted every instrument solo with the sound of concrete blocks being smashed and broken with distinctive “HIYAAAA” sounds in the background. Whoever came up with the idea for this cover and the idea for this persona (or both if it was the same guy) deserves a goddamned medal.
If there was an award for Most Depressing Album Cover Ever this would win it every consecutive year. Lots of people like to give credit to Linkin Park for inventing the genre of depressing “emo” music, but guess what Mr. Gage here beat them to it by about 30 years with All My Friends Are Dead. The text under the picture reads that it’s an album produced by a ministry devoted to the victims of drug abuse among younger users. I’m just going to toss this out there with the possibility of sounding like a total D-bag, but if these addicts seek help from you and still end up dead… maybe you’re not doing something right? Maybe you should focus less on an album to remember them and focus more on, you know, not letting them die from overdosing and other terrible things?
There’s not a whole lot to see in the minimalist approach that this album cover shows so there’s a pretty good chance that I may actually only be putting this here on the merits of its name alone. How can you even tell if your dog is gay to begin with? I’m pretty sure all dogs sniff each other’s butts so that’s a terrible rule of thumb to go by; the only way I can think of finding out would be to purchase this album and put it on and see if your dog either runs away or starts dancing to it akin to half the production bumpers shown on Nickelodeon in the 1990’s. Dogs don’t wear tight leather nor possess the capability to grow suspicious-looking facial hair and they also lack the ability to wear pastel clothes and only go to trendy “in” bars named “Six” so there’s no other way to tell unless you own this album, and that’s a genius marketing move.
And while we’re here, remember that thing I said about “not a whole lot to see” on this cover? I’ll just say this, that chair is clearly away from everything else and is facing a wall with nothing on it. Use your imagination.
Obviously the little gross-out face plastered smack in the middle of that album cover is my own doing and wasn’t there to begin with. It’s not actually censoring anything because that guy’s fat rolls are doing that for us (*shudders and cringes*) but, you know, his pants are clearly off so I just did it out of common courtesy. Unlike our previous candidates which included simple things such as forced enthusiasm at the beach and not understanding how a mirror works this cover has a lot of things wrong with it. From a morality standpoint, I mean, hello? That dude’s either about to pork pork or he’s already done so and is ironically posing next to the “Please Do Not Feed Animals” sign. Every single stereotype one might have about someone who is into this kind of stuff is encompassed in this single photograph: this guy is fondling livestock, he’s about 300 pounds past the “tolerable in public” limit, and he’s got ugly greasy hair that you could wring out and cook french fries with.
I have to stop myself here before I go too far with things, so I will just share this one final thought. For a band who is clearly trying to sell something based on shock value they could at least make sure they spelled “bestiality” correctly before emblazoning their fucking album cover with it.