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First post: 10 bad album covers for good albums,

December 25, 2008

Let me be fair: great and bad are not only opinions, but carry a myriad of interpretations. For one, bad can easily hold true for overrated, shit, poor, disappointing, confused, etc., and good, well, ranges from good to great, dig? Considering this is more about artwork of albums, the quality of the music for this post is anywhere between great and just fine, i.e. I may hate a bad album cover, may think a bad cover is just overrated, i’msickofexplainingthisalready

Also, since my memory is affected by general misuse, I will only refer to albums on my computer’s library. (Besides, this premier post is simply an introduction.)

So, here it is, what you’ve not been waiting for…

10 BAD ALBUM COVERS FOR GREAT ALBUMS

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10. Odelay – Beck

When Odelay came out, I was 14, and I doubt I was hip at all. I went to my girlfriend’s house a summer day to swim. My best friend put on Odelay really fucking loud and went outside to the pool. The confusion of puberty mixed with the intensity of not supposed to be here made me zone out on the couch and listen until I recognized “Where It’s At” from the video that was out (and subsequently failed at making out with my girlfriend). “Devil’s Haircut” is the greatest opening song, and “Jack-Ass” is almost heartbreaking, but the cover is horrible. It wasn’t until 10 years later, when I bought the album when I recalled my first experince with it, that I realized the cover is intended for the music. It makes the list because of what I first thought. (The re-issue is a cool improvement,)

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9. Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin

It’s not the child nudity. But considering that Houses of the Holy’s predecessor was just as runic and Tolkienen, Houses‘ cover is ridiculous. (There’s a lame pattern here: Both Led Zeppelin I and II are World War/aviation theme (cool at first, but the world certainly knew who they were when II was released, so why more fucking flying circus shit? The irony for me is that II has a really great story behind the cover, maybe I’ll get to that later…) Also, the skin color of the children reminds me of mushroom soup.

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8. Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam

(The blue’s beautiful.) I’ve read about the different meanings behind the avocado, something about being green on the inside, but being a fan or Pearl Jam since Ten (my brother was hip enough for the both of us), I think we have a pretty good idea of who they are. Besides, the cover’s just boring and they make up for it for the Eddie/meat sculpture which is really fucking horrible, I’m grateful it’s inside. Honestly, I don’t connect the album artwork with its music, not in the way I do with Vitalogy, Vs., Yield. And, and!, the artwork for Lost Dogs (the rarities collection released shortly before the self-titled) was awesome, especially the one dog on the booklet.

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7. You Forgot It in People – Broken Social Scene

One of the finer albums on the list, but such a useless cover. The back cover’s even worse, with purposely misspelled words, for some awful reason the titles are divided between “side one” and “side two” regardless of the format. When I ripped it to my library, the album cover was a superior B&W live composite, that makes Rattle and Hum‘s look really staged (which it really is).

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6. Teaser and the Firecat – Cat Stevens

So what? Booooooooring. Okay, maybe I need to read the kid’s book.

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5. Ryan Adams – Rock N Roll

This one’s hard for me, but really, it’s just the saturation on the cover…it doesn’t even look like him. And I’m a big fan, so this is a let down in the bigger picture. The weird thing, this was my first Ryan Adams record (but it’s still here because I only just remembered that).

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4. Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo Guthrie

When I first saw the VHS of Alice’s Restaurant, I was probably 10 or 12 (so, somewhat hip), it was fucking weird, and I think it explains why I never bothered with pot. The soundtrack’s cover is missing the added Arlo (see below), but the added yellow that permeates even the photo is nauseating. How did they get the napkin on, and so, why is he even nude if he’s eating? Bah.

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3. Feel Good Lost – Broken Social Scene

AH! Shit, don’t fucking do that!… That, and I hated Toronto. The inside cover is awesome, and I’m not gonna tell you what it is cos it’s a damn fine album.

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2. 13 – Blur

Undeniable. Surprisingly, 13 is seemingly only known amongst Blur fans, but then again, most people only know “Song 2” (but damn if that ain’t a great tune); but 13 is still one of the most adventurous break-up albums. The cover was done by then foot-out-of-the-door guitarist Graham Coxon (who is still responsible for matching – really, successfully – songwriter Damon Albarn’s heart-torn lyrics), and it’s hideous. You know it, I know it. The awkward pause in the shoulders and head; the added light on the head; the colors; oh, and look at the forearms… this is hard because I love the album too much (so much it actually hurts), so I’ll look at this break-up masterpiece on my player and say “I’ve already said what I’ve come to say.”

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1. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – the Beatles

When most rock lists try to dethrone the staples of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s not very constructive and really just to piss off the standards. I hope you know that’s not my intention. I really dig Sgt Pepper, really. That’s it, go read Rolling Stone, and I’ll move along to the cover – it’s time to let it go. That’s all I’ll say.

COMING SOON: 20 40! good album covers for good albums

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Aleesha permalink
    January 11, 2009 1:38 PM

    Sean, this article really caught my eye! It not only was appealing at first glance, it was also very interesting!
    Good Job!

  2. June 16, 2010 11:46 AM

    I don’t think the Blur cover is hideous at all.

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