Find me one person who wasn’t excited about LCD Soundsystem getting back together – one damn person. When news broke that the band that defined the noughties was getting back together, the internet lost its collective mind, and people treated the group’s comeback single ‘Christmas Will Break Your Heart’ like the sterling return to form that it bloody well was.
However, that excitement was tempered just a little when, a few months later, the band released the album cover of their new record, which looked, to our collective disgust, like this:
Seriously, what the actual fuck is that? It looks like a rejected Windows screensaver, circa about ninety-bloody-nine. Some have suggested that the image is a reference to the front cover of David Foster Wallace’s masterful Infinite Jest, but a) Who cares what it’s a reference to, it’s hideous, and b) Who cares what it’s a reference to – it’s hideous.
In honour of that slapped-together-at-the-last-minute serve of absolute garbage, we decided to choose seven more of the worst album covers of all time, a brace of artistic trash fires that must be seen to be believed.
1. Big Bear – Doin Thangs
This record cover sits at the top of this list for a reason – although it is without a doubt one of the most hideous things I have seen in the last few years, I have a weird, genuine kind of affection for it.
Seriously, you have to be pretty brazen to shop yourself into a congregation of blinged-out bears. Also, kudos to Big Bear for handing over his vision to a graphic artist whose grasp of aesthetics seems to be as tentative as that bear on the left’s grasp of that phallic looking cigar.
2. Marcy – Marcy Sings To Children
Marcy sings to children, does she? That’s not what it looks like she’s doing on that record cover. In fact, I’d go so far as to venture that that record cover makes it look like she is hypnotising a gaggle of easily manipulated children with her cold, dead eyes, her pitchy voice spinning them songs of death and disease.
That record cover makes it look like Marcy is moments away from uttering “my plague will reign upon the earth for a thousand years” in her eerily singsong voice. That record cover, simply put, does not make me feel good.
3. $tewmac – Bustin’ Nuts
You gotta hand it to $tewmac – he is nothing if not a man who knows how to get to the point. Some might balk at the idea of calling one’s record Bustin’ Nuts. But $tewmac is not like the rest of us.
$tewmac is one of Nietzsche’s famed ubermensch, a being of pure, wild, untamed id, and the kind of all-time great musician who follows every beat of his throbbing, presumably frost-tipped heart.
Bustin’ Nuts is the name of $tewmac’s album, and let it never be said that $tewmac does anything but bust nuts. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding – if by pudding you mean the two swollen-bellied, presumably stock photo-sourced women in the cover’s foreground.
4. Farrah Abraham – My Teenage Dream Ended
I am not here to hate on Farrah Abraham. Truth is, I reckon My Teenage Dream Ended is one of the 21st century’s defining artistic opuses, a work of dark magic that is as elegant a takedown of excess and the glittering allure of stardom as David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive or Tommy Wiseau’s equally odd The Room.
But let’s get one thing straight – the album cover is not, even by ironically “so bad that it is good” standards, very good. Sorry Farrah. For what it’s worth, I still think you’re a surrealist genius.
5. Corey Feldman – Angelic 2 The Core
I believe in music criticism. I believe in music criticism the way some people believe in Jesus, or in the ineffable might of political systems. I am a music criticism diehard – music criticism is, in no uncertain terms, the thing that I spend the majority of time on this planet thinking about.
And yet, in the face of Angelic 2 The Core, music criticism, this force that I have dedicated my entire life to, seems to crumple and bend. There are just no words that explain any of Corey Feldman’s anti-art masterpiece; no words that can communicate its weirdness, or its deep cynicism.
Even looking at its cover and its cover alone, leaves me slack-jawed and empty. I have nothing. Angelic 2 The Core has undone me.
6. Shannon Noll – That’s What I’m Talking About
I’m sorry Shannon – I know you were robbed of the Australian Idol title and all, but that doesn’t change the fact that your taste in album covers (and facial hair) is, y’know, absolute, unforgivable hot garbage.
7. Iron Maiden – Dance Of Death
Remember the ’90s? You know, how everyone was all about computer generated imagery, fish screen-savers, and that ridiculous dancing baby that became such a phenomenon that it even appeared in an episode of Ally McBeal?
Well, one could forgive you for thinking this record cover is a product of that time, but you might want to hold onto your bucket hat as we drop the uncomfortable truth that this record was actually released in 2003.
We don’t know what’s more shocking, that release date, or the fact that somewhere along the line, an album cover designer looked at this finished product and uttered the words “yes, this good enough.”