When Musicians Explain Their Awful Album Covers


Horrible album covers can happen to the best of musicians. And usually, if the music is good, we can find a way to ignore them. But sometimes artists just won’t let the issue drop. Recently, for example, T.I. discussed the safari-themed cover for his King Uncaged with the magazine Respect: “I went and told them, ‘Get me as close as you can to a lion.’ He had a trainer holding him on a chain. They took the chain out [in post-work]. It really went down. I wanted to pet him. I said, ‘Let me get hands on.’ They were like, ‘No. We could only let you do but so much.’ So I did as much as they would allow me to do… I wanted it to be a a busy city street. My original idea was to lock down Times Square and let me and the lion do the same thing right there, but we couldn’t quite pull that off; they said it had to be in controlled environment.”

Huh. We were so amused by this explanation that we dug up five more choice examples of bands defending their bizarre album covers. Everyone from Prince to Adam Lambert weighs in after the jump.

Adam Lambert – For Your Entertainment:

“Thank you to those who appreciate and understand that the album cover is deliberately campy. It’s an homage to the past. It IS ridiculous. For those that don’t get it: oh well. Glad to have gotten your attention. Androgyny. Rock n roll.” [via E!]

Prince – Lovesexy

“[Lovesexy was] a mind trip, like a psychedelic movie. Either you went with it and had a mind-blowing experience or you didn’t. All that album cover was, was a picture. If you looked at that picture and some ill come out of your mouth, then that’s what you are — it’s looking right back at you in the mirror.” – Rolling Stone, 1990

Scorpions – Virgin Killer

“The record company guys were like ‘…Even if we have to go to jail, there’s no question that we’ll release that…’. On the song ‘Virgin Killer,’ time is the Virgin Killer. We said ‘…Okay, first of all, the song ‘Virgin Killer’ will work very good as an album title, second of all, the lyrics are great and when people see the sleeve, they will act like ‘…Oh, that must be a terrible song about whatever…’ But then, when we had to do the interviews about it, we said ‘…Look, listen to the lyrics and then you’ll know what we’re talking about. We’re using this only to get attention. That’s what we do…’. Even the girl, when we met her fifteen years later, had no problem with the cover. …Growing up in Europe…sexuality, of course not with children, was very normal. …The lyrics really say it all. Time is the virgin killer. A kid comes into the world very naive, they lose that naiveness and then go into this life losing all of this getting into trouble. That was the basic idea about all of it.” [via Blasting-Zone]

MGMT – Congratulations

“It just kind of felt right, because there are references to surfing on the album, and some of the songs have a surf rock influence. For whatever reason, I’m still dreaming about surfing all the time, and waves, and I don’t really know if there’s symbolism there, but I think it’s pretty easy to interpret our album cover as feeling a little overwhelmed by this kind of beast that we created that we hadn’t really intended to create. We feel like the cat on the surfboard sometimes: about to be swallowed up by it.” – Andrew VanWyngarden

Spinal Tap – Smell the Glove

David St. Hubbins: “You know, if we were serious and we said, ‘Yes, she should be forced to smell the glove,’ then you’d have a point, but it’s all a joke.” Nigel Tufnel: “It is and it isn’t. She should be made to smell it, but…” DS: “But not, you know, over and over.”