I have dozens and dozens of these to riff on. And I haven’t even really started looking yet. Once again I’ll try to provide some background and links to the music where applicable.
Scorpions: Pure Instinct (1996)
They just make it too easy. This might be, not just the worst Scorpions album cover, but the worst anything cover of anything, ever, of all time. By 1996 the Scorpions were one of the biggest-grossing hard rock/metal outfits of all time. Not to mention we had Windows 95. So what exactly is the excuse for an art fair reject of a cover?
Not just the idea but the execution is so amateur and juvenile, you almost want to think it was on purpose. But it’s tough to give the benefit of the doubt to a band that repeatedly spits out retarded album overs. They can’t all be tongue-in-cheek satire, can they?? Ironically enough, they changed the cover at some point. Not because they realized how atrociously bad it looked, but because of concerns with the mild nudity.
The music? Ok, I’ll admit something. I like the Scorpions. They are talented musicians and songwriters. Never confuse absurd album art with the actual musical product. This album is pretty much standard Scorpions big hair arena & pyrotechnics fare, with a few more ballads than usual.
Dolly Parton: Bubbling Over (1973)
Look, for all I know Dolly put a lot of time and effort into this album cover, or at the very least gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up before it went to print. However these were the days when artists often had little say over such things, and this one reeks of “thrown together at the last minute.”
If you look close, we don’t even get a unique shot of Dolly’s disembodied head being thrust into the sky by some kind of geyser in a lake behind what looks like the back wall of a penitentiary. It’s from the same shot of Dolly way in the background. And let’s face it, if we don’t get a close up of Dolly’s ginormous boobage, what’s the fucking point anyway?
The music? Look, I know about as much about Dolly Parton’s music career as I do about hip-hop. Well ok, maybe a little bit more about Dolly. I know she did that duet with Kenny Rogers and the title track from “9 to 5.” I couldn’t name you one 50 cent “song,” but I could probably pick him out on the street (although that would be a really bad idea).
Anyway, so yea, here’s the title track that sounds a bit too much like Stevie Nicks for my taste. And like I said, no boobs to oggle, so who cares?
Vinko: Para Mayores de 18 (“For Over 18” – 1982)
So you always wondered what inspired The Many Facets of Roger? Well evidently it was this guy. Not much I could find on Vinko here, but apparently he was an Argentine comedian who, according to some stuff I ran through Google Translate, did one bang-up impersonation of “Chabuca Granda.” I don’t know what the fuck that is, but maybe it’s somehow related to what’s happening in the bottom right square.
By the title of the album we’re led to believe there’s some adult content on this record. Ok.. Sorry, I couldn’t find any media to link to. So if you’re desperate to know what’s on here, you’ll probably have to hit some thrift stores in Argentina.
Ghostface Killah (featuring Raekwon) – bulletproof wallets (2001)
As I’ve said repeatedly, I know as much about hip-hop as neurosurgery. Put a microphone or a scalpel in my hand, both results would be equally as disastrous. Pierre would probably tell me what’s happening on this cover is supposed to represent how Ghostface likes to “fry up” other MCs.. or something like that.
But I know stupid when I see it, and this is it. To make matters worse, apparently this album was a complete disaster all around, as the label didn’t get proper permission for some samples, and the track listing is all fucked up and doesn’t even remotely represent what’s actually on the album.
Now that’s the kind of album cover story I like. Here’s a track below. It could be the greatest hip-hop track of all time. I have no idea.
The Playmates: At Play with the Playmates (1950-something)
Sticking with gangsta rap, we have a truly humiliating attempt at.. something. By featuring three middle-aged men uncomfortably close on a scooter. The guy up front appears to have some bad indigestion, and no one can be happy about that, although the middle guy does seem rather content.
So who the hell were these guys? Well they were a vocal trio from Connecticut. And as it turns out, they did have a famous song you may have heard if you have parents like mine who mistakenly think things that were funny to them at 12 would be funny to you… 40 years later. It’s the “Little Nash Rambler” song. Grab grandma and reminisce:
Wayne & Charlie: Rapping Dummy (1981)
More rap, or something. Ok, someone explain me the point of a ventriloquist you can’t see. But, apparently, this was a thing. Because I’ve seen these types of records all over the place. Moreover, apparently ventriloquists were big hits during the radio-only era.
I guess people have fantastic imaginations. If you can just imagine he’s not Dave Liebe Hart, and his lips aren’t moving, it’s fucking hilarious! Actually, and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t feel this way, ventriloquists and their dolls are all aggressively unfunny and creepy. So by all means, check out the rapping dummy: