Crappy Album Covers #4 – Bodily Functions

I don’t particularly wish to discuss heavy metal album covers all that much. They are meant to be ugly, disturbing, and sometimes even hard to look at. It goes with the territory, and the fans expect it and want it. However, the AC/DC tribute band “Boned” produced a 2005 album cover that pushes the boundaries of artful dissonance clearly into the realm of good old-fashioned bad taste. In the heavy metal arena, you have to work pretty damned hard to make a cover that doesn’t merely disturb and annoy; it just sucks.

But being disgusting is not without its rock-and roll history. Jim Morrisson of The Doors fame showed his willy at several concerts and got arrested for it. Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper were biting heads off small animals at one time. The audience wanted it, they delivered.


Ever notice that on some of the best paintings in classical art, how we can never tell if the woman is smiling or frowning? In this album (see right) we can’t be sure if the expression on Millie Jackson’s face is one of pleasure or pain. Does this qualify the album cover for display in The Louvre?

So, while we are on the topic of eating, masturbating, and other base functions of the body, we may as well discuss this album cover, the one R&B legend Millie Jackson made famous, an album released in 1990 called “Back to The Shit”. According to The (UK) Guardian, Millie’s BTTS album is #2 on their list of the worst album covers of all time. The #1 album will be in this series, so not to worry.

Millie is no relation to “that other” Jackson clan (as far as I was able to tell), but for a while I had her confused with La Toya Jackson, whom some people referred to as “La Toilet” Jackson. I thought they were referring to this ghastly album cover, but I was thinking of the wrong Jackson.

Notice how, in this album cover, the bathroom decor, the hairdo, and the clothes she is wearing do nothing to rescue the photo from its overall repulsiveness. Not sure at all why she is holding a shoe in her hand. Maybe she was about to throw it at the photographer, who is obviously too obsessed and won’t leave her alone to do her business in private. Track titles include “Muffle that fart” and “Love Stinks” (a cover of the J Geils hit).

Millie Jackson has appeared in a video singing alongside Elton John (see below) for a 1985 single “An Act of War”.


And I nearly forgot to include Jazz legend Dick Hyman’s album Moon Gas in this post. I can relate to this title. I get something that can be called “Moon Gas” whenever I eat baked beans.

The album was likely made before the first Apollo landing, since we now know the moon has no gas at all. But perhaps he had in mind what I had in mind. Who knows? So, is this poor lady sitting in her own gas, or is she having to endure someone else’s?

But in any event, I would be clearly remiss to leave this out of the bodily functions category.

Hyman has been going strong since the 1940s, and has over 50 albums to his credit. Allmusic.com indicates that this album has been re-released in 2003, and I could not find an indication of the original date of release.

Crappy Albums #3 – Creepy similarities

From the “You Can’t Be Serious” department: I have found an album cover that has a creepy resemblance to the Dead Kennedy’s Frankenchrist album.

I imagine the album designers had every intention of making this a fun record. I may not understand the language of the album, but I see children riding toy cars, a clown and a giraffe. How can that not be fun?

Well, you have to be me, you see, and have my point of view. I had, in my sordid past, been into a number of musical genres, including punk rock. Years after Sid Vicious announced the “death” of punk rock back in 1979 (it had barely gotten started, but admittedly had a limited artistic range), the Dead Kennedys from California had the following album cover for the 1985 album, Frankenchrist (see right):

Yes, indeedee…  All  them be’s middle-aged dudes driving  toy sedans. I would imagine the children above who seem to wield lighter sports cars and crash helmets can now have a race against those fez-toting Freemasons, and see who really rules the toy car circuit. I don’t think those Shriners will give up their toy car dominance without a fight, what do you think?

Those kids look threatening. They look like they are ready to wup some Freemason ass.

Crappy Album Covers – #2

The moment I saw that movie poster for that upcoming film “Step Brothers” (Sony Pictures), my first thought was about that crappy album cover from Trazan and Banarne, from way back.

Members of the Swedish children’s pop music group Electric Banana, Trazan and Banarne had this as the photo for their album cover, self-titled. I’ll spare you the bias involved in a white person’s view of life in an African jungle (there will be other opportunities in this series), but I guess the photo gets across that life in the jungle involves merely swinging from tree to tree and eating bananas. Of course, you have to share your bananas with the local primates, in order to live in harmony with nature. Trazan presents himself as a good citizen of the jungle by sharing his banana with his companion Banarne. Trazan, by the way, and not “Tarzan”, is the proper spelling for the artist here.

I don’t know why this picture came to my mind when I saw a poster for a soon-to-be released major movie: Step Brothers (Starring Will Ferrell and John Reilly)? I am sure they have nothing to do with each other. I don’t think these guys live in a jungle or anything. They probably don’t wear argyle sweaters in the jungle. I think it’s more to do with that Mutt-and-Jeff groove both pictures have.

Crappy Album Covers – First Post

A generic "bad" album cover. I know nothing about the band, good or bad.

I am not here to say what is the worst cover, exactly. That would be too difficult to judge.

Many album covers look truly ugly but must be given leeway, since the lion’s share of them are low-budget enterprises, purchased by buying public who know the local artist. Perhaps many of the people who have purchased the album, the album appears humourous, since they may know what the artist was trying to say.

So, even going through a site such as this one, we find some idiotic “worst album submissions” (who would criticise the album cover to Supertramp’s Breakfast In America?), and submissions simply because the album cover looks disturbing. But sometimes that makes the cover a good one, since it serves as to a warning as to what to expect in its contents. I think some people would be greatly misled if they bought an Iggy Pop record because it had a cute bunny rabbit on the cover.

“Passion in Paint” is one wretched album cover whose artwork is short on both passion and paint. In this case, it wasn’t necessary to even have bad artwork, since as you can see by the subtitle “Famous paintings set to music”, they could have easily picked a famous classical painting, most of which are now in the public domain, and cost the record company (RCA Victor, in this case) nothing.

There appeared in the 50s and 60s to be a whole slew of sexless and artless book covers, photos, and record albums that made you wonder why the artist bothered at all. Thus, all bad art will have a story behind them, including the social , historical and economic forces which make them suck so much.

There will be more to come about crappy album covers in the following weeks.

Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

I was listening to a Pravda Records cover of a song from the late ’60s called “Ode to Billie Joe” (originally a Bobbi Gentry tune). It made me think about the original, the words, and musings about how hard it is to play on the guitar.

I recall there was also a mysticism regarding the words and what the story was really trying to say. It turns out upon buy tramadol online overnight shipping looking things up that it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be about the death of those not close to them. And sure, the pragmatic farmer’s mentality really comes out in the song. Rumor has it that the Tallahatchie Bridge (the one in real life) collapsed in 1972.

Wes Clark discusses this topic to its ultimate futility.

Aimee Mann

Something that is currently under high rotation on my iPod (actually, it’s an el-cheapo SanDisk that does the same thing) is a song called “Calling on Mary” by Aimee Mann. Aimee Mann has had a few good tracks after she parted from ‘Til Tuesday. But for some reason, this one, from what must be one of the moodiest Christmas albums I have ever heard (“One More Drifter in the Snow”), has me addicted. The song has that addictive quality of hitting all the right notes and the has all the right chord changes to keep it engaging. I would like it to be a love song or something, but here it is, a Christmas song. There is definite heart-ache in the music, more so than the words. It is an articulation of feeling I would put up there with George Harrisson. At least in that tune.

One wonders why she hadn’t been bigger as an act. There is definite hit quality in her music. It seems her “image” is of a female who thinks, who ponders, who is moody and introspective. None of these qualities are common in female acts.

Pink Martini

Pink Martini is a Jazz ensemble (although much of what they do is of an “international” flavour) featuring a lead vocalist, a pianist, and a string and horn section. I purchased a CD recently called Hey Eugene, whose title track is really hilarious. It was played on our local jazz station. The other tracks are worthwhile also, but live up to different expectations. I say that because the title track appears to be geared up as more of a pop tune. I enjoyed it, but I like Jazz, and these were interesting tunes. The lead singer China Forbes sings in different languages, but the lyric booklet has English translations.

[media id=52]