Published Dec 03, 2012Writing and recording an album can be so time consuming that you often forget about some of the other details that go into packaging your product. Judging by the onslaught of unsightly album artwork we see each year, it's possible bands are just too wrapped up in the minutiae of their music to really question the art direction. Whether a fancy photo shoot or a Photoshop slop job, here is but a taste of the many eyesores we cringed at in 2012.
Worst Album Covers of 2012:
10. Two Door Cinema Club
Maybe it's the yuletide season that's making us think this way, but the cover to Irish electro-rock trio's sophomore set Beacon seems to be the heir apparent to the lingerie-sporting leg lamp in A Christmas Story. The lit-up hoo-hah of this highly evolved, two-limbed, ceiling-mounted piece of electric sex will no doubt attract its fair share of moths and horndog panty-sniffers all year long, though.
9. The Gossip
A Joyful Noise
Inspired by the news of the upcoming Evil Dead remake, Gossip singer Beth Ditto revealed her devotion to the horror movie series by going full-on deadite for the cover shoot of her band's A Joyful Noise. The ghoulish white make-up and jaundiced eyes are perfect touches, but that high-fashion bangle might get in the way when she next tries to slither along the ground and stab someone in the ankle with a sharpened pencil.
8. Pete Swanson
Electro-noise soundscaper Pete Swanson selected a funny and ancient picture of some Chippendales dancers for his Pro Style EP — we'll give him that. Maybe we're wrong to assume there's a penis-y gimmick employed in the sleeve design for the 12-inch single, but aesthetically, this just doesn't work. First off, we know that these dudes are all wearing pants. Also, if you slap this whole package on the turntable, the wang will be protruding from somewhere around his ultra-toned abdomen. And it'll be chrome-coloured.
7. Prins Thomas
Prins Thomas II
Granted, we've never met Norwegian musician Prins Thomas' mother, but we're pretty sure she was bummed the day her son brought home this shockingly accurate portrait of her to hang on the family fridge.
Battles figured on our list last year for the neon splatter of ground beef that donned its Gloss Drop LP, and the dudes opted to keep things optically awkward with the art for this year's remix set, Dross Glop. While the original music got mashed up by the likes of Hudson Mohawke and Gang Gang Dance's Brian DeGraw, the new artwork seemingly displays a mountain of gnashed-up and discarded pieces of dangerously dyed chewing gum. If the pools of blood-red liquid pouring down the pile are to be believed, that pack of Hubba Bubba tasted terrible.
5. Jimmy Edgar
We've tried so hard to escape the gaze of this sexed-up mannequin, but every time we jump into a pyramid-shaped rabbit hole, we find its tinier but just as dead-eyed cousin staring into our souls. It's a never-ending cycle of matryoshka doll-inspired awfulness.
Sweet Heart Sweet Light
It's not really fair to pick on Spiritualized leader Jason Pierce for this, since he was battling long-term liver disease during the making of the album, but his drug-induced haze throughout the sessions may explain the boggling, simplistic hexagon design tattooed with its self-referential million-dollar question: "Huh?"
3. Animal Collective
Despite Animal Collective tweaking up the artwork for their latest album, Centipede Hz, the end result still isn't pretty. We suppose there's some extra clarity — why, yes, the mouth from the Rocky Horror Picture Show opening credits did swallow the band whole— but the newly added digital grid is beyond grody. That said, we're cool with the guest appearance of the cat painting from Hausu in the top right hand corner.
As fantastic and freaky as Grimes' nouveau electro-pop classic Visions is, have you ever just sat down and looked at the head-scratching hodgepodge that is its artwork? First, there's the skull-and-jewel, bow-tie-heavy ink illustration, readymade to be the world's busiest, most confusing tattoo sleeve. We're admittedly not scholars, but rumour has it each word on the multi-lingual design translates to English as "oops!" But don't forget the other competing visuals, including the shrunken alien phrenology diagram in the bottom right corner. As if Claire Boucher hadn't already blow our minds with her extraterrestrial tunes…
1. Death Grips
No Love Deep Web
Let it not be said that aggro rap experimentalists don't go, uh, hard. The thing is, if you've attended a stamp-less club or were a straight-edge kid that went through an X'ing-up phase, you know how damn difficult it is to scrub Jiffy markings off of skin. The Brillo Pad budget for this cover shoot must've been enormous.