What goes into an iconic album cover? In order to understand horrendous and hilarious album covers, it is necessary to create a point of comparison. Let’s take a look at the winner of the Best Album Cover poll that the Music Court ran back in May.
The unforgettable Nevermind album cover (created by Robert Fisher) is considered one of the greatest album covers of all time. What is great about it? It is naturally symbolic and expressive without being forced. It is both simple and complex and actually works as a parallel to the music on the album which also is simple Grunge with complex lyrical and emotional elements. It works exceptionally well and has staying power. The staying power comes from the album cover being a memorable image, similar to Dark Side of the Moon and Abbey Road. It will stick in the minds of listeners and viewers for that matter.
So…what makes a terrible album cover. I would define a bad album cover as one that does not have staying power. The image may be good for a cheap laugh or a long “what the hell is this,” but after the initial glimpse the cover is out of memory. Let’s go through a few sure things to keep in mind if you want to avoid an album cover from hell.
- The cover cannot be over-the-top
- The cover cannot be overly weird
- The cover cannot include members of the band posed for a picture. It’s just bad. Stop doing it
- The cover should also not have members of the band looking away from the camera purposely. Seriously, the Beatles did it well. Everything else is cliche
Those are just a few bad moves. Like every good class though we need some examples. Right? So, here we go. The seven worst album covers ever.
1.) Bad Reputation by The Ritchie Family
What’s wrong with this besides the implied inter-racial motorcycle orgy? Exactly. How could this pass? Seriously, this album cover is scary. This cover is over-the-top and just odd. And, if your eyes can somehow go back onto this photo…look at the dog. Why is their a dog on the cover? Like there wasn’t enough bestiality represented already. Next.
2.) Jesus Use Me by The Faith Tones
I almost feel bad for the three ladies on the cover. I am sure back when this album came out “Jesus Use Me” implied something remarkably different than what it means now. But, wow, this is still god awful. Everything from the hair to the matching collared whatever the heck those are. I wont comment on the name of the album anymore because that is a completely different joke for a different post. But, the corniness of their pose is alarming. And, I have a serious fear that the hair on Faith Tone one may eat her face if it gets hungry.
3.) Lovehunter by WhitesnakeAm I allowed to post this on my blog or will I be shut down for posting pornographic images. Look, Whitesnake, I understand that you are sexually frustrated. But, if you want to put libidinous material on an album cover it may be a good idea to keep it less obvious. I don’t think anyone is looking at this album and not thinking of disgusting snake rape. Also, if anyone is still with me over here (the post is down here fans of snake rape) look at how big that snake is. Also, what is on her arm? Whitesnake, this is over-the-top of over-the-top. Seriously, gross.
4.) By Request Only by Ken
Yes. This has got to be it. The best of the worst. Ken, you just made my night. You see this just can’t be serious. We got this photo in the back of Ken (I suppose) sitting and smiling. That is bad. Not terrible, just bad. It violates the policy of not taking a staged photograph of yourself and putting it on the album cover. But, it becomes terrible and frightening when we get the superimposed close up of Ken, up close and personal, looking into our souls. This is legitimately scary. Ken, the classic man of the 70s and possessor of potentially the greatest bad album of all time. But, we still have more.
5.) Back to the Sh*t by Millie Jackson
Alright, so let me set the scene. Millie Jackson just got back from a long night of partying and buying a completely random flower vase with flowers for the floor of her dappled bathroom. She forgot to use the bathroom before she left and is craving the toilet. So, off one shoe goes and we get a snapshot of her taking a dump. Alright, I am glad we have that clear. I am going to go throw up. I have nothing against pooping, but, why the heck would this be your album cover? Why would you name your album Back to the Sh*t. Ken told you to do it right?
6.) Just read the album cover.
We are going foreign for this one and I believe I only have one thing to say. Kraghe has taken over the world of terrible photo manipulation. Imagine being on a boat and seeing him rise from the sea, smiling, in disco attire. Do the hustle and scream in terror.
7.) The Many Facets of Roger by Roger?
What a great way to end? Roger. Is that you Roger? Oh, hey Roger smiling. Roger knows best. Roger thinking. Roger’s sexy face. Is there anything to the fact that many of these terrible album covers come from the disco era? Well, thank goodness disco is dead.
Well, there you have it. Album covers that explore a deep level of horrid. So, what do you think is the worst? Roger!?! Oh, thank god, he is right there. I thought I lost him for a second.