12 Album Covers So Terrible They’re Awesome

12 Album Covers So Terrible They’re Awesome

Dolly Parton Rocks on New Single 'World on Fire'
Dolly Parton Rocks on New Single ‘World on Fireplace’

“I’m initially from a tiny, rural group in Virginia,” Luke Johnson, curator of Instagram’s TerriblyAwesomeCovers tells me, of how music supplied an important escape throughout his teenage years. “I felt stifled,” he says. “Music – and, by extension, music tv – was my window into a bigger, weirder world that I felt drawn to from a really younger age.”

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Later, it wasn’t merely music, however a eager eye for the extra obscure and off-center outliers that showcased his true calling. Japanese jazz fusion, obscure prog, and Zamrock are genres that at the moment outline his style. However since 2019 he’s been curating the most effective of the worst album covers to share together with his thriving social media group, the preliminary thought sparked whereas working for an area document retailer throughout his faculty days. “We took in lots of used product, which suggests lots of bizarre, random information,” Luke recollects. “Over time, I started to establish the aesthetic that I might later dub ‘terribly superior.’” After years of sharing with associates, he took his reverence for “terribly superior” album artwork on-line, feeling the area of interest was “untapped” and underrepresented. Seems, there’s a coterie of music-lovers with a heightened appreciation for covers so dangerous they’re nice. 

To be clear, this isn’t a spot to ridicule, however moderately collect and revere. And, sure, there’s some laughter, too. (As Luke places it: “Roasting or toasting the covers, swapping jokes or sharing music information.”) 

“I believe it comes right down to the way you conceptualize ‘artwork’ normally,” Luke says. “To me, it’s a window into the creator’s thoughts. For higher or worse, I’ve all the time felt a kinship to what could be thought of ‘outsider artwork.’ The kind of stuff that you just usually have to actually dig into to be able to discover its worth. The sort of artwork that doesn’t all the time make it simple on the viewers – and generally appears outright ambivalent or spiteful to them. Early John Waters movies, for example. Nobody was submitting [actor] Edith Massey’s title to the Academy for an Oscar, and but her performances have been wonderful – even when they weren’t classically ‘good.’ 

“It’s the identical for music. It’s about trying past no matter shortcomings they could have by way of craft and judging their intent. If the intent is there then it appears genuine. That’s all the time been crucial half for me: authenticity.”

So…the place does he discover these beautiful expressions of “outsider artwork”? And what qualifies as “terribly superior”? “’Terribly Awesome’ [is] basically any cowl that – on the floor – shouldn’t work, however on account of both the artist’s naïveté, chutzpah, or pure outlandishness someway transcends its inherent limitations and turns into one thing wonderful in its personal proper,” Luke explains. “I’ve all the time liked the concept of somebody getting down to accomplish a particular aesthetic, and in failing, creating one thing even higher than what they initially supposed. “

Luke is nothing if not discerning. Not each cowl could be “terribly superior” – authentically “horrible” cowl artwork gained’t be posted. The bar is sort of excessive. “My course of is definitely fairly rigorous,” he says. “Is the duvet eye catching? Is it doing one thing (both by chance or by design) that subverts regular expectations of what’s thought of ‘good’? Is the music fascinating sufficient to warrant a reexamination of the artist? Once I submit a totally ridiculous cowl and the remark part is full of folks speaking about how unbelievable the music truly is, I do know I’ve struck the appropriate stability. The ‘terribly superior’ cowl is a magical mix  — a unicorn in a forest of banality. 

“I’m not making enjoyable of the covers/artists (although, admittedly, it’s usually a element), I’m celebrating them. I genuinely love the entire covers I submit.”

The primary cowl he posted was Kenny Loggins’ 1979 album Hold the Fireplace, its most well-known single, the Grammy-winning “This Is It,” which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Scorching 100. The quilt includes a bearded, messiah-like, thirty-something Loggins, holding a glowing orb in his outstretched arms. “It represents the most effective of what I believe the ‘terribly superior’ aesthetic has to supply,” Luke says. “Kenny remains to be my profile image and can all the time be the patron saint of TAC.” 

Luke invitations everybody to move over to Instagram and be a part of his group of “hilarious and well-informed” followers – or submit a canopy for consideration. For now, have a peruse of a number of the tastiest of the terribly superior within the listing beneath.


Involved Social gathering No. 1, Captain Sky


“The proper answer to superhero fatigue.” 

Yeti, The Yetians

“Imagine it or not, he was solely the third hairiest man within the ‘70s music scene.” 

I Wanta Sing, George Jones

“Placing his title on the facet of the bus was in all probability a bit pointless.” 

Slingshot, Michael Henderson

“If it’s cool sufficient for a jacket, it’s in all probability too chilly for a speedo.” 

Getting Down To Enterprise, Gary

“When their workplace is a cellphone sales space, you already know you’re coping with a professional. Enjoyable truth: Gary’s truly a physician now.”

Effervescent Over, Dolly Parton

“It’s stated the human physique is round 60% water. For Dolly, it appears like extra round 95%.” 

Fireplace Down Below, Riot

“There are not any scarcity of iconic heavy steel band mascots, however for my cash, Riot’s The Mighty Tior is the most effective. Nothing says steel like a white, fuzzy seal.” 

Massive Enjoyable,

“Talking of marine mammals, 70s SeaWorld was uncontrolled.” 

Trip a Rock Horse, Roger Daltrey

“Using an animal in your album cowl: Cool. Turning into an animal: Terribly superior.”

Cosmic Curves, Dee D. Jackson

“For those who can’t shoot starlight out of your sequined fingertips are you able to even name your self House Disco?” 

“Dwell” On Tour In Europe, The Billy Cobham/George Duke Band

“You’ll suppose by no means of the phrase ‘jazz arms’ the identical manner once more.” 

Hold the Fireplace, Kenny Loggins

“Right here it’s: terribly superior perfection. Once I’m at a loss for what course to take the web page in, I convene with the Kenny and his glowing oracle. He’s by no means steered me flawed.”

To see our operating listing of the highest 100 biggest rock stars of all time, click here.

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