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Best of 2010: Top 10 Worst Album Covers

Good album art is arresting. It grabs your attention, pulls you in, and gets you asking questions. But bad album art gets you asking questions, too. Like, What the hell is this? Why has this person committed this crime against my eyes? Bad album art grabs your attention -- and tosses it clear across the universe, never to be seen again. Here are the 10 worst album covers of 2010 -- 10 shining examples of why it's sometimes better to block out the "artwork" section on your iTunes.




10 Ne-Yo: Libra Scale

R&B powerhouse Ne-Yo’s fourth album, Libra Scale, is, get this, a concept album about three garbage men who become superheroes and eventually have to choose between saving the world and falling in love. Right. Whatever the premise may be, there’s way too much going on with this cover, and none of it is good.



09 Weezer: Hurley

Depending on which member of Weezer you ask, the band’s eighth album, Hurley, is either named after the clothing company Hurley International, who recently collaborated with the band on a line of outerwear and reportedly funded the album’s recording in part, or it’s a celebration of Jorge Garcia’s affable, rotund character on Lost. We get it! It’s called Hurley, and there’s a picture of Hurley! So meta!




08 Ghostface Killah: Apollo Kids

Ghostface Killah is undoubtedly a hip-hop legend, but his album art game has gotten more than a few heads scratched lately. He made the list for last year’s PhotoShop fiasco, Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry, and this year’s Apollo Kids has granted him his second consecutive spot on this list. Apollo Kids, with its slapdash, neon Saved by the Bell ambiance, is not a good look.




07 MGMT: Congratulations

MGMT’s psych-pop freakout of a sophomore album, Congratulations, wasn’t what people expected, and it left the band’s fanbase severely divided over its merits. Its cover, however is a different story. This thing should’ve remained on the deserted Disney backlot trash bin it looks like it was fished out of.




06 Sheek Louch: Donnie G: Don Gorilla

The outrage over the cover to Donnie G: Don Gorilla is not lost on the LOX veteran Sheek Louch. He maintains that his use of primate imagery is a statement about toughness, not race. Even so, Donnie G’s cover is a mess. It could’ve been worse, though. Asked about the art in an interview, he retorted that “it was either gonna be that, or it was gonna be a gorilla arm with a bunch of monkeys kissin’ that shit.” Thanks?




05 M.I.A.: /\/\/\Y/\

/\/\/\Y/\, M.I.A.’s statement about love in the age of social media, came wrapped in terse and marginally excitable beats and a double dose of hamfisted agitprop. Whatever M.I.A.’s point about technology may have been (something about killing gingers and the handbone being connected to the Google being connected to the government?), it came with this child’s first computer-class-assignment of a cover.




04 Soundgarden: Telephantasm

Something about the cover to the newly reunited Soundgarden’s second greatest-hits album, Telephantasm, is odd. Is it the bunch-of-random-shit-thrown-together-and-painted-crazy-colors aesthetic? Or is it how much it resembles the scene in The Never-Ending Story when the beast Gmork tries to kill Atreyu after his horse dies? Yep, that’s it.




03 Mike Watt: Hyphenated-Man

Punk legend Mike Watt has a storied history working in seminal bands, from his membership in California’s Minutemen to his current gig in Iggy Pop’s reconstituted Stooges. Watt’s latest solo album, Hyphenated-Man, consists of a series of vignettes inspired by the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, but between the goofy skewered beast and the amateurish Comic Sans type, yuck. Just, yuck.





02 Grinderman: "Heathen Child"

Many of us here at Prefix are Nick Cave fans, so it is with great consternation that we find ourselves including the grossly unsexy art for Grinderman’s “Heathen Child” single among the year’s worst covers. The naked vampire Beyonce she-beast doesn’t especially beg for a second glance. No one’s putting a ring on that. No one's getting bodied with that around.




01 CocoRosie: Grey Oceans

Arts and crafts project gone wrong? Acid trip to remember? Cotton-candy overdose? Concept art for When Felt Attacks? Silly string porn? Transgender LARPer convention? You decide. Whatever the cover of CocoRosie’s Grey Oceans purports to be a picture of, we know this: It is by far the worst album cover of 2010.



There are plenty more where these came from (I'm looking at you, eagle carrying the guitar on the cover of the latest Jeff Beck album). In the comments below, tell us what we missed.


Prefix's Best Of 2010: 

Best Albums / Reader's Best Albums / Staff Best Albums / Best Guest Appearances / Albums From 2009 We're Still Listening To / Top 10 Mixtapes & Free Rap Albums / Best Reissues / Best Rap Verses / Best Album Covers / Worst Album Covers  





Black Milk, Danny Brown, Das Racist, El-P, Homeboy Sandman, Kanye West, Little Brother, MellowHype, Royce Da 5'9", The Roots, YelaWolf - Best of 2010: Rap Verses Bruce Springsteen, Curren$y, Flying Lotus, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, N.E.R.D., Rosetta, The Foreign Exchange, Wavves Best of 2010: Top 10 Album Covers
Best Of 2011
Ghostface Killah
Mike Watt
Sheek Louch

For whatever reason, Ghostface has a tendency to put out albums with really cheesy cover art. Doesn't he have enough money to pay him to make things look not awful?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Bildungsromania/djkittygalorejpg.jpg Bildungsromania

I think it's just bad taste. he can't be good at everything, huh?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

I get enough enjoyment out the epic gaudiness of covers like ghostdini to give dude a pass...


What was this? It was terrible. Your commentary on each was idiotic. I only agree with about half of items on this list. Yes, most of these are unusual, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad.
Bad list.


holy god is that Soundgarden cover atrocious.

i kinda like the Grinderman one, personally.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/tinnitus_photography/profile.jpg tinnitus_photography

I find it strange you'd put Grinderman's Heathen Child on there. You're not supposed to find her attractive. If they put a good looking chick on the front, would you have not put it on the list?


MGMT and the soundgarden pic arent that bad.

Rise of the Speedmen

Of course they shot for ugly with the Grinderman cover. But its grotesque nature being its point doesn't make it any less hard to look at. This isn't a list about artistic misfires, though many of these surely may fall under that category. It's a list about really bad/ugly album art. The cover is ghastly. It's on the list.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

f*** you sheeks album cover is hot!


Craig Jenkins coming at you with that truth. All I gotta say in redemption is that the soundgarden cover at least has sick color work.

Josh McKinley

Dear Craig, I love this article. You listed every cover I would have expected on this list and described them even better. Thanks for letting CocoRosie win this one.


pretty sure that soundgarden cover was supposed to be a joke about the wolf t-shirt on amazon wasn't it?


I think you should check the definition of meta again.


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