There are many parts that go into crafting an album: the music, the personalities of those behind the music, the marketing campaign, the press coverage, the tours, and the artwork. In a time before streaming services and blog coverage, the latter played a much larger role — having an appealing cover often determined whether those browsing CD outlets or flipping through vinyl crates would purchase your body of work. While visual appeal rarely determines depth of crowd today, there is still something to be said about an engaging cover, and the same goes for those that are decidedly lacking.
We have been blessed in audio output these past 10-and-a-half months, but there have also been some real disappointments on the artwork end. From some of the most anticipated albums to drop this year to the obscure and simply horrifying, these are the worst album covers of 2016.
Tindersticks – The Waiting Room
Great album, terrifying choice of headwear.
For someone who is so passionate in design, we expected more.
Too Many Zooz – Subway Gawdz
Somebody call James Franco or Mark Whalberg. Or Jason Clarke. Or Charlton Heston.
Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger
Nope. Kill it with fire.
Elton John – Wonderful Crazy Night
We’d like to imagine this is Elton John’s “I’m totally having a wonderful, crazy night” pose.
Red Vox – Blood Bagel
Why would anyone attempt to ruin bagels?
Yanni – Sensuous Chill
A little spicy. A little icy. All Yanni.
Redfoo – Party Rock Mansion
Beer bong? Rad. Scandalous photo of a female who appears to be biting at some guy’s underwear? Sweet. Random bro with an obnoxiously giant chain throwing up the metal horns? Sick. Welcome to party rock mansion. Check out: Never, bro!
Sia – This Is Acting
The permanent fish face makes us very uncomfortable.
The Hotelier – Goodness
The Hotelier’s third album is one of 2016’s best. Its cover is not.
Sei2ure – Vibrator
Elisa – On
Save the kittens for the “Hang in There” posters.
Elliphant – Living Life Golden
What is that creature?
Soft Hair – Soft Hair
Surely, even Adam and Eve needed sunscreen.
Pixies – Head Carrier
We’re not really sure what’s going on here, but with such a boilerplate effort (at best) on their sixth album, we’re not too eager to figure it out.
Scooter – Ace
It looks like someone just discovered Photoshop.
Super Guitar Bros – Nice.
The duel turtleneck approach is bold. You have our respect, Super Guitar Bros.
Nick Jonas – Last Year Was Complicated
Nick Jonas has so many emotions.
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
After 14 years, Good Charlotte progressed from the “young and hopeless” to the “youth authority,” and they’re still a terrible band.
Humo – Fiera / Aljarafe
Even muscle-bound freaks need to cool off and take a cat nap in front of a fan sometimes.
Cyndi Lauper – Detour
Oh no, Cyndi Lauper, ranch rope font?
Yung Bae – Skyscraper Anonymous
Everything about this cover is nonsense, but the music will have you groovin’ through every second of its 11 tracks. Shoutout to the classic school picture backdrop.
Yuck – Stranger Things
Poppy – 3 : 36 (Music To Sleep To)
What is she wearing?
Garbage – Strange Little Birds
This weirdly reminds me of the Elephant Graveyard from The Lion King. This isn’t a good thing.
Korn – The Serenity of Suffering
It takes a certain kind of person to appreciate Korn’s music. It takes an even more unique individual to appreciate their…artwork.
Steven Tyler – We’re All Somebody from Somewhere
The only thing more questionable than the cover of Steven Tyler’s solo debut is its title.
Lumpy & The Dumpers – Huff My Sack
Poliça – United Crushers
Again, not really sure what is happening here.
The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem
Naked babies shouldn’t be thrown into the air for album covers.
Ninja Sex Party – Under The Covers
This album is meant to a be a joke, so, really, this cover is a success.
Pitbull – Climate Change
We’re not entirely sure if this is the cover of Pitbull’s upcoming album, but whatever it ends up being, we don’t like it.