Some albums are beautiful works of art on the outside, as well as the inside. Iconic album covers like The Velvet Underground & Nico
embed themselves in our culture and cement an artist's legacy. Others remain timeless in the same fashion as the movie The Room
. They're just so bad that they're good. Below, you'll find the very best of the very worst.
1. Ken - By Request Only
The longer I look at this album cover, the more I feel that it's actually kind of brilliant. I even feel sorry for poor old Ken, he's just doing his honest best. In fact, having listened to a couple of tracks, the artwork basically fits the music perfectly - wholesome Christian vibes with a 70s twang. Supposedly Ken is aware of the album's notoriety, though he has yet to commit to a comeback tour. Here's hoping for 2018.
2. Nas - Stillmatic
To be fair, most of the albums on this list come from extremely obscure, low budget artists that you can't reasonably expect much from, so you can excuse them to some extent. Unfortunately for Nas, he gets no such reprieve. Surely you've got to expect a little bit more from a hip hop icon? The garish velour tracksuit, the horribly edited shot of the city, the terrible font choice - it's a mess. I'll admit a soft spot for that pigeon though.
3. Big Bear - Doin Thangs
Keeping with the hip hop releases for now, we'll take a look at Big Bear's masterpiece Doin Thangs
. In a way, this is the greatest rap album cover of all time. In another, far more realistic way, it's the worst. We've got the bizarre concept, the terrible fonts, the low image quality - all the bad album art standards working together to really screw this one up. I think my favorite bear is the one on the right, wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigar, but it's a tough choice.
4. Trick Daddy - www.thug.com
Let's stick with hip hop for now. Emblematic of the late 90s obsession with technological advances and the impending millennium, Trick Daddy's album cover is another in the proud tradition of misguided rap artwork. Music, sex, drugs, money, and death are listed on the tabs along the top of the image and though I haven't listened to the full album yet, I assume these are the themes tackled therein.
5. Creed - Weathered
Creed, widely accepted as the greatest rock band in recorded history, are famously known to have made only one mistake in their entire career. This album cover is that singular mistake. Our old friends, bad graphic design and poor font choice, are stalwarts of this list and they are out in force once again. I do have some questions about the concept though. Who came up with it? What is it? Why was it allowed to happen? Can someone assure me that it will never be allowed to happen again?
6. Mike Adkins - Thank You For The Dove
No Mike, thank you
7. The Faith Tones - Jesus Use Me
Just like our old pal Ken from earlier, The Faith Tones are pretty unashamedly religious in their musical output. For some reason, Christian music, alongside its natural companion hip hop, seems to be a breeding ground for terrible album art. It's a pretty simple, no frills idea for an album cover so it's a testament to The Faith Tones that they've managed to get it quite so wrong. Good on them.
8. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Live It Up
The 80s clearly took quite a toll on Crosby, Stills & Nash, culminating in the monstrosity that is Live It Up. The album bombed commercially and was panned by critics and fans alike, with David Crosby supposedly referring to the LP as "Live It Down". In a way, the album sleeve perfectly represents the mess contained within. Someone pitched the idea of giant hot dogs roasting on the moon and they all agreed. That's how little they cared by 1990.
9. Freddie Gage - All My Friends Are Dead
Another religious album makes an appearance on our list. This one has a bit of an edge though, as you might have guessed from the title. Apparently, Gage was a reformed drug addict who recorded sermons to warn teens about drug abuse and delivered them in the shape of this album. A noble endeavor, though I feel that the execution is slightly off. There's just something unsavory about wearing such dazzling white boots to a cemetery.
10. Viper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack
Viper is a prolific bedroom producer and rapper, releasing hundreds of albums and mixtapes every year, so this list could easily consist of nothing but Viper album art. This is his magnum opus though, that's simply an undisputed fact. The blatant disregard for grammar, the bizarre accusatory tone of the title, the image that Viper chose to best represent him - it's just beautiful.
11. Taylor Swift - Reputation
This might be a controversial inclusion in some quarters, but I don't think Taylor herself will be too worried about my critique of Reputation's
artwork. It looks like the 2006 MySpace profile picture of a teenager who woke up one day and randomly decided that they were going to be very dark and edgy from now on. The font is kind of pointy and cool looking, it's in black and white which is very alternative obviously and Taylor refuses to smile for the picture she pestered one of her parents to take.