We all know that science fiction novels can have crappy art on their covers — there are entire websites devoted to chronicling them. But what about album covers? Oh yes. Here are 30 album covers of full of shoddy scifi, bizarre dreamscapes, and just plain bad choices.
Rock stars love scifi more than most people, which is why spaceships so frequently adorn their musical releases. Of course, rock stars are also frequently drug-addled lunatics, and thus there's no telling what they'll choose when it comes to the artwork that will grace their recordings.
Megadeath, Rust in Peace
So many questions here. So there's a skeleton — a corporate skeleton — looming over a gray alien in stasis. That part I understand. Are these guys imprisoning the alien? Are they selling the alien? Is the skeleton using the glowy thing to resurrect the alien… to do something? And most confusingly, if you name your album Rust in Peace, aren't you required to put a robot on it somewhere?
Europe, The Final Countdown
OH MY GOD SUPERMAN BANISHED EUROPE TO THE NEGATIVE ZONE
Parliament, The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein
Yeah, George Clinton is cloning himself and putting those clones in space-viking outfits. It's awesome, but it's also more than a little weird.
Crosby, Stills & Nash, Live It Up
Prettttty sure those are gonna be cold.
Tom Jones, A-Tom-Ic Jones
"It's not unusual to be loved by anyooooooaaaaaAAAAAAUUUURRRRGH—" (flesh melts off)
Scene: The Kidz Stuff Repertory Company, circa 1977
"Bob, I've got good news and bad news! The good news is we've been hired to make a Star Wars record! The bad news is we have no money for a cover."
"Oh, shit. Hmm.... wait a second, I have a brother-in-law in jail who doodles cartoons sometimes. I'll just ask him to do it."
"Hasn't he been serving a life sentence since 1963? There's no way he knows anything about the movie."
"What's to know? It's called Star Wars. There some kids in it and then there's a tall gold robot and a short silver robot, right? That's all he needs to know. How much could he fuck it up?"
Queen, News of the World
A scene from the all-giant robot production of Of Mice and Men.
"Houston, we have… we have a giant lady in a bikini. I don't know that she's a problem, exactly, but I did feel she was worth mentioning."
Hot Gossip, Space Invaders
Quick tip, guys — if you're worried about getting shot by Space Invaders, standing directly beneath them in a single plane is pretty much the worst thing you can do.
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Terrifying, modernized adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau, or the idea for a crappy early '80s cartoon? You decide!
Alan & the Planets
Within the next hour, Fickle Lizzie Anne would be at the police station, reporting the tiny astronaut that had copped a feel and sexually harassed her.
Still less ridiculous than Elan Sleazebaggano.
Pierre the Clown in Space
OH MY GOD WHO GAVE THE HOBO CLOWNS SPACE TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY
Styx, Kilroy Was Here
I applaud Styx for giving someone whose previous career was drawing racist Japanese characters in World War II-era political cartoons the chance to design a robot, but in retrospect perhaps they could have vetted him a little more thoroughly.
Bjork loses the "How Many Twizzlers Can You Fit In Your Mouth at Once" contest.
Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip
Oh, so this is what Paul Verhoeven's 1997 movie was based on.
Boston, Walk On
"Dammit, Gary's piloting the spaceship drunk again."
The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The day the leg-making machine at the pink robot factory wouldn't fucking shut off
The Brothers Johnson, Light Up the Night
"Okay, what? You want me to stand up front, and my brother to stand in the back? All right. Why are you handing him that pink light gun? Do I need a pink light gun? Well, why does he get one and I don't? Wait a second. You're telling him to put the pink light gun on his crotch, and then to direct it my face? You know we're brothers, right? The Brothers Johnson! Are you don't think this is weird? Okay…"
Chevelle, Sci-Fi Crimes
When aliens and the undead play hide-and-seek.
Destruction, Release from Agony
When Cenobites play Peek-a-Boo.
Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
Or, as I like to call it, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: 2064
Jefferson Starship, Dragon Fly
Huh. I didn't know Rob Liefeld designed robots.
Parliament, Mothership Connection
I would never dream of disparaging George Clinton or his music. I would, however, question Mr. Clinton's failure to wear a spacesuit while traveling the void of space. Honestly, he probably shouldn't have opened his spaceship door at all. No wonder he has a rictus grin of terror as the cold vacuum sucks him out in the space.
Atomkraft, Queen of Death
Hey, someone found Janeane Garafolo's bowling ball from Mystery Men after the apocalypse.
Riff Raff, Robot Sound
Nice to see the racist robot designer from the Styx album continued to get work.
Ringo Starr, Goodnight Vienna
"Wait a second… this isn't Vienna. Goddammit, Gort!"
The Silvers, New Horizons
Making a giant spaceship out of a three-dimensional version of your band name/logo makes perfect sense to me. Sure, it's a bit impractical, but people don't generally like bands because of their practicality. And I also get that you wanted to ride on top of the spaceship shaped like your band's name/logo, because you've already clearly got some vanity issues and why the hell not, at least if you're staying in the atmosphere. What I don't understand is why, while on riding your spaceship, you decide this is the time and the place to do a group trust exercise.
There's nothing particularly weird about this nifty scifi cityscape… other than the astronaut in the lower-left. Is he… buffing the ground? Does he have a futuristic buffer that doesn't need to touch the ground it is buffing? Is this that dude's job, or a punishment? Does he have to buff the entire surface of the planet? Because that might take a while.
Deathkorps, Metal Tit
"No, Steven, I trust you, I just really want to look at the schematics again."