Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Top Five Tuesday:
"What Were They Thinking?" Album Covers

A few months ago SonicRyan showed me how to copy and paste album covers into my ITunes, if you know, I cared about that sort of thing. I didn't so much then, but ever since I've learned this little trick I've been copying and pasting like a mad woman. Sure, nothing beats holding the real jewel case/record in your hands, but I'll settle for a digitized album art experience.

As we all know, the best cover art complements the feel of the album. As I sifted through my newly acquired album covers, I was astonished by how amazing so many of them truly were. For instance, "So THAT's what the covers of my 500 Stereolab albums look like," I thought. And all those right angles and squiggles and primary colors somehow made sense. Far too often, however, I came across cover art that left me scratching my head and saying, "Huh?" Today I am dedicating this Top Five list to these inexorably strange covers. Can somebody please tell me what these bands and their art designers were trying to say?

Runner-Up: Cat Power - The Greatest (2006)
I avoided this album for nearly two years because 1.) I initially thought it was a greatest hits album, and 2.) I hate hate hated the cover. This makes me think of junior high BFF heart necklaces, of lockets stuffed with pictures of ex-boyfriends, and a whole bunch of other garbage. Come on, Chan, next time just slap a picture of your big ole beautiful fake mole on the cover. Wait...

5. Spoon - Gimme Fiction (2005)
When I think of Gimme Fiction, I think of the perfect spring album for driving around with your windows down, of simplistic yet rewarding rock songs with melodi
es that stick in your head for days. I do not think of Middle Eastern women hiding their faces from view. Seriously, WTF?

4. Wilco - A Ghost Is Born (2004)
A ghost is born, huh? OK, I'll buy that. What about a cherry ghost? OK, I can buy that, too. But are you trying to tell me that when this cherry ghost is born, it arrives via EGG?

3. The New Pornographers - Challengers (2007)
Seriously, for an album that showed us the most mature New Pornos to date, this mustachioed gentleman sure takes us straight into raunchy territory. In every way imaginable, this cover is just wrong.

2. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jams (2007)
When P4K posted its "20 Worst Album Covers of 2007" feature last year, I was stunned to discover this gelatinous mess wasn't listed among the ranks of the most rank. Might the P4K staff have been so blinded by the awesomeness of their sixth best album of the year (our second best) and Noah Lennox's "single-serving friend" explanation for the album title/art that they overlooked the true horror of this album cover? Especially considering the beauty of so many of the band's previous covers? Here's one you might not have seen, from 2005's Prospect Hummer EP (on the right).

Hands down, my award for Worst/Most Bizarre Album Cover goes to:

1. Deerhoof - Milk Man (2004)

Ryan's been threatening to dress up as the milk jug from the Blur video for years now. Well, I might just one-up him with a "Milk Man" costume. Can't you just see it now? A strawberry jammed (ha) in my skull, check. Bananas lodged in my armpit and ass, check. Blood spurts, check. Camel toe, double check.

Apparently this fruity freak has attained near-cult status amongst the band and its followers, as pictures from recent Deerhoof shows reveal (from P4K).

Still, can I just say I don't get it?

Well there you have this week's Top Five list. In the future I'd like to do more about album art, maybe even a Top Five Best Album Covers?

If album art interests you, too, you should check out Sleevage.com, a pretty cool blog exclusively dedicated to the art of the album cover.

Until next time...


Gossip♥Grrl said...

That Deerhoof Milk Man thing has scared me since I first caught a glimpse of it! I think it's the blood mostly and the mouth of the thing...Otherwise the fruit is not so bad. Ha!

The Moon said...

I would agree with the original cover for the Greatest but it would seem that Chan (or her label) was smart enough to realize that the cover wasn't working which is why they threw a few slips cover on it. Which is where you get this:


In my opinion MUCH better but I'm not sure if they are still doing this or not. I just know my copy looks like the top one.

Milk Man though...

F*CKING ROCKS!!! I've actually been planning for a while now to get his head tattooed on my arm next to my Radiohead piece. So my friend are TOTALLY wrong on that one. =P

I can't believe you skipped over:

CYHSY - Some Loud Thunder
HELLA - Acoustics
LIARS - It Fit When I Was A Kid
(as much as I love them. WTF guys?!?!?)

*le sigh*