10 Awesome Albums With Awful Artwork
Album artwork has always been something to behold. One could often get a sense of a band simply by looking at an album’s cover art and interpreting what the music inside sounds like through its imagery.
Before the days when anyone can go on YouTube and hear and see nearly any song or band, an album’s cover artwork played a big role in winning over a potential fan upon first glance. If the graphic imagery could pull someone in, there was a decent chance that music lover would add that disc to their collection.
But what if the albums contained awesome songs but awful artwork? Those are the discs that we are ‘celebrating’ in this feature. In some cases, the album covers are terrible in a fun and humorous way, while others are just downright eyesores. Check out our list of 10 Awesome Albums With Awful Artwork here:
Jaguar have the need for speed on ‘Power Games,’ which is a raw, explosive album that can rival Lemmy Kilmister and his Motorhead crew. However, what’s going on with that album cover? There’s a tank, some Chess pieces, poker chips, the two of diamonds and a spaceship spread across a checkerboard. The band was likely hammered off Schlitz and told a local artist what they wanted — kinda like the band meeting for the ‘Damnocracy’ album cover in that show ‘Supergroup.’ Remember that? Probably not.
‘Pink Bubbles Go Ape’
While this album isn’t the melodic speed metal Helloween made their claim to fame with, there’s plenty of redeeming value — except that album art! What we get is a woman in a white dress with a fish in her hand like she’s about to swallow it whole. It makes no reference to the silly album title, but maybe we should be thankful that there’s no literal interpretation of pink bubbles going ape.
‘Raise Your Fist and Yell’
Alice Cooper’s music has worn many faces over the last 40+ years, with this album being one of the best demonstrations of his chameleon musical abilities. The album cover literally depicts a yelling fist: a facepalm. The shock rocker’s signature eye makeup is adorned on the enraged face to alleviate any doubt that this is an Alice Cooper album. What’s even more shocking is that across the entirety of the Internet, not one tattooed hand brandishing this artwork can be found.
Though the album is comprised of a mere six songs, don’t forget that one of those is the flawless ‘Stargazer,’ which was somehow followed up by a more than formidable track with ‘A Light In The Black.’ The music and artwork here are arguably equally legendary. Rainbow was already a peculiar moniker to go under, but things got even weirder when fans flocked to record stores to purchase an album with a giant fist bursting through chaotic ocean waves to clutch a massive rainbow.
‘Show No Mercy’
The end of 1983 saw the entrance of the game-changers Slayer. High on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal feel and a lust for the beast, ‘Show No Mercy’ started it all for this thrashing foursome. The title is branded across the top of the album with a font that even MS Paint enthusiasts would scoff at. The ‘N’ in ‘No’ even contains devil tail to show how extra satanic the band was. A doofy baphomet with a cape stands ready with a sword in hand drawn from the band’s pentacular scabbard fixture.
‘Danzig II: Lucifuge’
Danzig’s second album stays true to the style forged on the self-titled debut with its riff-oriented rock and that familiar twist of blues worked into the band’s heavy metal fabric. The original album cover is nothing special, but why the frontman’s hairy nipples were a better idea for the reissue is a mystery. Oh, to see an altered video of the scene from ‘This is Spinal Tap’ where they present the solid black album cover, but with these beefy pecs substituted in.
The ’70s proto-heavy metallers Riot found their style with this hard-hitting album and even boldly covered ‘Born To Be Wild.” Johnny, the beloved anthropomorphic seal mascot, has his head cut and pasted onto a pink sumo-warrior’s body as a plane flies low to the ground behind him. Below the pre-Photoshop era body is a pile of skulls, presumably from Johnny’s slaughter. A picture is worth 1,000 words, but there are still three more albums to look at.
‘Hanging in the Balance’
Metal Church transitioned better than most when the ’80s came to an end. However, this artist’s career should have also come to an end. An very large woman with a pink mohawk and metal body armor complete with spiked breasts is holding a parasol as she takes her first (and most likely last) step onto the tightrope. Her hand is outstretched as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this, baby.”
Always a little crazy, the Scorpions’ enthusiasm translated to their music, especially on an album like ‘Lovedrive.’ No strangers to questionable album covers, the Scorps stayed consistent in 1979. A couple are riding in either a taxi or a limo while an unabashed woman seems content with one of her boobs out. The man has his hand stretching out what looks to be a chewed wad of an entire pack of Big League Chew that he had stuck to the rogue asset.
The most experimental Black Sabbath album to date boasted some of the band’s heaviest work, as well as some of their softest. The heavy metal pioneers were under the impression that they were doing a test photo shoot and decided to don an interesting choice in clothing. Most notably, Ozzy is sporting a kimono and peculiar boots, while Bill Ward is a ladykiller in those red tights. Perhaps table-length lines of cocaine aren’t always a good thing.