A definitive selection of visual atrocities from the past decade...
GIGWISE
11:18 10th November 2009

We've already unveiled the most controversial album covers and the best sleeves this decade has produced, now it's time to brace yourself for the very worst record covers of the 2000s. Beware there are some shockers. 

  • 50. Scorpions: 'Moment Of Glory' (2000) – Their previous record covers have featured naked pre-pubescent girls (1976's 'Virgin Killers') and melting human flesh (1979's 'Lovedrive') so it's somewhat of a relief to see that Scorpions have lightened up in their old age. The image of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in an old lady's jewellery is as ridiculously laughable as it is terrible.

  • 49. Fall Out Boy: 'Fall Out Boy's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend' (2003) – What is there to like about this cover? Absolutely nothing. Garish colours, horrendously executed and a photo of Pete Wentz and co. leering at some girl who looks as unimpressed as we are.

  • 48. U2: 'No Line On The Horizon' (2009) – An art piece called 'Boden Sea' by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, this may look okay in an art gallery, but a dinosaur rock band? Give us a break! Worse still, U2 weren't even original – Taylor Deupree used it previously on his 2006 album 'Specification'.

  • 47. N*Sync: 'No Strings Attached' (2000) - Here N*Sync are seen rehearsing for their play '5 Camp Men In Space' which tragically never made it to the stage. Presumably a comment on the manufactured nature of modern pop music, the American boy band named their second album 'No Strings Attached' to prove to the world that they are not a part of the machine having had an acrimonious split from their previous management. This album, however, has over twenty song writers accredited to it as well as the usual stylists, choreographers, directors and army of publicists to promote it. That's quite a few strings isn't it boys?

  • 46. Razorlight: 'Razorlight' (2006) - You wouldn't expect something so understated from a band featuring one man ego trip Johnny Borrell. In simple black and white Razorlight present themselves to the world as boring and bland as their music. It's fitting that an album featuring one of the decade's worst songs 'America' has an equally depressing cover.

  • 45. Tori Amos: 'American Doll Posse' (2007) - Tori's a bit 'kooky'- we all know that. To prove it she has formed her own girl band for the cover of this 2007 concept album. For some reason two of the 'Posse's members are missing from the strange cover but we do get to see (left to right) Isabel, the outwardly political photographer, 'warrior woman' Pip and a 'shameful caricature' called Tori. Despite all these various characters and persona's there have still been less members of the posse than Sugababes.

  • 44. Tommy Lee: 'Tommyland: The Ride' (2005) - When most people ride Tommy Lee the biggest risk they face is the embarrassment of seeing their antics splashed all over the internet. However, this 2005 album cover showed us all that you can ride the former Mr Pamela Anderson in a totally different way. Apparently Tommy Lee has been moonlighting and his head is part of an elaborate roller coaster ride controlled by a rat in a top hat. Quite where he finds the time to rival Alton Towers and Disneyland between making awful reality shows and spinning around on his drum kit surrounded by the pensioners of 'Motley Crew' we don't know.

  • 43. Mongrel: 'Better Than Heavy' (2009) – The ill-conceived Reverend & The Makers/ Arctic Monkeys/ Babyshambles side project seemingly decided to go for a 21st Century take on Love's 'Forever Changes' artwork for their debut. Unfortunately for them, the end result is nothing short of abysmal.

  • 42. Trina: 'Da Baddest Bitch' (2000) - Trina really is a bad bitch, doesn't she know impersonating a paramedic is a crime? And where did she get that ambulance from? The poor unemployed actor she is straddling has a bad case of the 'tomato ketchup head' and is in clear need of resuscitation though so it's a good thing she has those defibrillators. Presumably there is meant to be something erotic about this cover but we're clearly missing the point.

  • 41. Guns N Roses: 'Chinese Democracy' (2008) – A rusty, battered old bike with a massive wicker basket on a run-down street, it's like something out of a Hovis advert! (a TV commercial set it the nineteenth century northern England for those American readers out there). The sleeve had people guffawing when it was first unveiled last year and it still splits our sides now.

  • 40. Chris Brown: 'Graffiti' (2009) - Some people really don't know when to stop do they? It's difficult to know where to start with this cover. Is it the weird leggings and boots combo? Or maybe the guitar that Brown has clearly never played before? Maybe even the bionic arm? No, as bad as they are they're clearly nothing on the gremlins in the bottom right hand corner. We like to imagine the bunch of mutant muppets are taunting Brown by shouting things like “Everybody hates you” and “Jay Z is around the corner and he's looking for you.”

  • 39. Hundred Reasons: 'Quick The Word, Sharp The Action' (2007) - Some people are so focused on their music that they eschew all other factors of being a pop star. In many ways we should be grateful of this, but sometimes a band's lack of attention to detail and no frills approach leads to visual disasters like this effort from Hundred Reasons. Ignorance is the only excuse for something this ugly, the band surely must have forgotten to commission some actual artwork and simply knocked this on their computer the night before it was due at the pressing plant. Ugly colours, terrible font - this is a cover to forget.

  • 38. Eef Barzelay: 'Bitter Honey' (2006) - Sometimes covers aren't particularly ugly, scary or weak - they're just boring. Take this one by Eef Barzelay for example, a very simple self portrait them smudged by a brush stroke of blue paint. From start to finish this must have taken about ten minutes maximum. Not the worst on this list by far but for sheer lack of excitement it's got to go in.

  • 37. Neil Young: 'Fork in the Road' (2009) - Remember when MySpace was massive and everyone had a carefully angled photo of themselves on their profile? That's what this looks like, but instead of a teenage emo kid hiding behind a sweeped fringe it's an old man looking a bit lost and in need of a good sit down. Don't even get us started on the scruffy scrawl that passes for a font. Dreadful.

  • 36. James Blunt: 'All The Lost Souls' (2007) – What's worse than a photo of James Blunt? Yup, you've guessed it – hundreds of photos of James Blunt. Had it depicted 95% of other artists this mosaic would have looked okay, but with Blunt's ugly mug it's a complete nightmare.

  • 35. Kevin DuBrow: 'In For The Kill' (2004) - The Quiet Riot frontman who sadly passed away in November 2007 only released one solo album and this is it. An album of seventies rock covers, the Terminator-esque sleeve is photoshopping at its very worst.

  • 34. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: 'Some Loud Thunder' (2007) - And you thought Alec Ounsworth's voice was the worst thing about this band. We don't officially know if a blind four year old was commissioned to create this 'artwork' but it certainly looks that way. Somewhere between a scribble and a dirty foot print the cover for this 2007 album the variety of faces and one lone dog is a true horror and enough to put you off buying what is actually a pretty great album.

  • 33. MC Hammer: 'Look Look Look' (2006) - He ditched the baggy trousers, became a preacher, but continued to make awful albums will equally naff covers. This 2006 one is cringe-worthy. Rumour has it that Hammer's pin-stripe suit is modelled on David Tennant's costume from Doctor Who. No shit.

  • 32. Out Hud: 'Let Us Never Speak of It Again' (2005) - Like a collection of police mugshots put through a paper shredder them vomited out onto one of your Gran's best doilies, this album cover is a nasty sight. Out Hud, a Californian electronica band, released this instrumental album in 2005 including a song which features on the infamously terrible Lindsay Lohan film Who Killed Me. We'd rather watch that film on a loop forever than look at this cover for one more minute.

  • 31. Limp Bizkit: 'Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water' (2000) - The cover shows five vacant eyed, pot bellied figures seen here surrounded by the eponymous hot dogs and star fishes looking despondent and lost. Fat and brainless? Surrounded by junk food? This isn't an album cover- it's an accurate depiction of Limp Bizkit's target demographic! 'Chocolate Starfish' is a little know slang term for the anus. If only there was something in common between Fred Durst and a massive arsehole. What a great and happy coincidence that would be. We'll leave you to draw your own conclusions there though.

  • 30. Cerys Matthews: 'Cockahoop' (2003) – Children's pictures can work well occasionally on album covers - just look at The Cure's 2004 eponymous effort. The former Catatonia singer, however, failed spectacularly. A ridiculous title and awful artwork of, presumably, Ms Matthews jumping on a beach overshadow the music itself.

  • 29. Sia: 'Some People Have Real Problems' (2008) - Handy tip: If you're going to use a kids' drawing for your album cover, make sure you pick an ankle biter who can actually draw! An alternative sleeve was released for the American edition of the album. We wonder why?!

  • 28. Dog Fashion Disco: 'Committed to a Bright Future' (2003) - In terms of uninspiring images this bog (sorry) standard front cover is pretty high up on the list. Quite why the band thought that a cool and sexy way of selling their album was to take a picture of a toilet and sink is beyond us, but that they did and just look at the results. The only slight point of interest here is the image of a mouth that constitutes a plug hole in the sink. You know you've made a terrible album cover when a drainage system is the best thing about it.

  • 27. Ludacris: 'Chicken & Beer' (2003) - What an amateur! Everyone knows you don't put salt on human leg! Clearly a rubbish cannibal Ludacris is also guilty of being a bit slack in the album artwork department too. He has clearly thought “Well I like chicken, I like beer and I like ladies legs so let's just spread them out and let me feast.” which in theory isn't a bad idea. In practise however it just makes him look like he's getting in the way of a woman who is giving birth to a kitchen table.

  • 26. Goblin Cock: 'Bagged and Boarded' (2005) - Wow, look at how majestic he looks sitting there in the regal throne. Surrounded by flames and an aura of power this crown Prince emits nothing but glory and strength. From the top of his head to the tip of his toes there is nothing about this Goblin that isn't cool, controlled and dignified. Wait, what's that between your legs? Oh thanks for ruining everything Goblin Cock!

  • 25. The Dodos: 'Visiter' (2008) – Taking minimalism to the extreme, San Francisco's The Dodos adorned their third studio album with a yellow blob and the word 'visitor' scribbled on in crayon. A truly terrible album cover.

  • 24. Canibus: 'For Who The Beat Tolls' (2007) - Photoshop is a great thing, it lets you do so much but left in the wrong hands it really can be a disastrous tool. Look at what the rapper Canibus did with it for his awful 'For Who The Beat Tolls' cover. When you first look at it you think “Great! Finally someone is coming out and representing all the great ancient Egyptian rappers in the world” however on closer investigation you learn Canibus is from Jamaica and that microphone is not even real.

  • 23. David Lee Roth: 'Diamond Dave' (2003) - Here we see what happened when fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld had a child with an Oompa Lumpa all those years ago. Oh wait, what? This is Van Halen's Dave Lee Roth? Looking like the negative images of a mid-life crisis, this album cover is a ghastly attack on the eyes and one best avoided by all. From the weird Tron meets Olympic swimmers women stood behind DLR to the very embarrassing title everything about this cover is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • 22. Jimmy Buffett: 'License to Chill' (2004) - Did you even know there what that many shades of light blue in the world? No, us neither. 'License To Chill' must rank alongside the worst album titles of all time and this insipid and embarrassing front cover is not much better. Look at how cool he thinks he is, that smug grin practically screaming “I'm hip, I surf the web. I know all the dances to High School Musical. ” Tragic.

  • 21. Manda Rin: 'My DNA' (2008) – The former Bis singer has enjoyed limited success since the demise of her band a few years back. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but would you buy this album after seeing this wretched album artwork? Stare at the visual atrocity too long and it makes you cross eyed to boot. Cheers, Manda Rin.

  • 20. LL Cool J: 'Exit 13' (2008) – Tacky as hell, preposterous and overblown, the image of a giant microphone smashing into a highway is laughably bad. Widely panned by the critics, the artwork fits in perfectly with the music, then.

  • 19. Knorkator: 'Tribute To Uns Selbst' (2000) – One of the worst German heavy metal bands of all time (and that's saying something), Knorkator inflicted woe upon the public from every possible angle during their 14 years of existence. Incredibly this dire sleeve is nowhere near as bad as 1998's 'The Schlechtst of Knorkator' and 1999's 'Hasenchartbreaker' which were sadly released on the wrong side of the Millennium to be included on this list.

  • 18. Tankard: 'Kings Of Beer' (2000) – Tankard's guitarist quit the group in 1986 because the rest of the band were a “bunch of drunks”. In homage to their reputation, the remaining members decided to change their musical direction and write songs solely about alcohol. This dreadful album cover featuring a bloated alcoholic is about as mature and appealing as the hapless music the band concoct. Horrible.

  • 17. Swan Lake: 'Enemy Mine' (2009) – Words literally fail us to describe how bad this sleeve is. Quite why the Canadian indie outfit chose a dodgy court room sketch for their record cover baffles us. The album's only saving grace is the mighty fine music the record contains.

  • 16. Dry Kill Logic: 'The Darker Side Of Nonsense' (2001) – An absolute mess of a record sleeve. New York nu-metal outfit Dry Kill Logic clearly lost all their logic when they commissioned this artwork for their debut album. Two unfortunate blobs with missing limbs, hardly aesthetically appealing is it?

  • 15. Deerhoof: 'Milk Man' (2004) – Few bands could get away with writing an entire concept album about a poorly sketched cartoon figure, but five years ago San Francisco's Deerhoof did just that. The Milk Man character in question was actually drawn by Japanese artist Ken Kagami who's a close friend of the band. Quite why he's been speared by banana in his ass and arm pit is baffling.

  • 14. The Dirty Projectors: 'The Glad Fact' (2003) - This picture manages to be both poorly drawn and creepily realistic. Slumped in a mess on the floor this naked, pudgy John Belushi lookalike stares out vacantly frightening small children and enticing fans of body hair waxing. There is so much to recoil in horror at here, but most importantly - what is that on his knee? Yikes.

  • 13. CX KiDTRONiK: 'Krak Attack' (2006) – A plethora of arse cracks adorn the cover of New Yorker's debut album. Easily one of the most childish album covers on our countdown, thankfully the backsides in question aren't those of hairy winnett-encrusted builders – if they were then 'Krak Attack' would have been much higher on our list. Maybe even number one.

  • 12. Brad Paisley: 'Play' (2008) - You want to play guitar - fine. You want to call your album 'Play'- OK, not a great title but it'll do. You want to incorporate the guitar and the word 'Play' by putting your instrument on a swing? Come on now Brad- think outside the box just a little bit! This woefully amateurish cover shows such little thought or care you can only assume the horrors of music that lie within. Terrifying.

  • 11. Lil' Flip: 'The Leprechaun' (2000) - If you're Irish you have every right to be offended. Look at how Lil' Flip has demeaned your beautiful isle by dressing as a cliché of your past. Why a 'cool' rapper thinks it's a good idea to dress as a small cartoon Irish man is beyond us but it's a look he has embraced 100%. At nineteen tracks long and two CDs, chances are this album might be a bit more expensive than your average so you might want to track Lil' Flip down and steal his pot of gold to pay for it - you'll find him at the end of the ghetto rainbow.

  • 10. Hard-Fi – ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ (2007) Seemingly in a bid to make some kind of deep cultural comment about the rise of downloading, Hard-Fi decided to ditch the record sleeve altogether. The result? A pretentious mess that's even worse than the shite beer anthems the record contains. We await album number three with a gnawing sense of dread.

  • 9. Xiu Xiu: 'A Promise' (2003) - People have been put on sex offenders' registers for owning stuff like this in the past. A highly controversial and truthfully, awful, album cover from American indie wimps Xiu Xiu shows a naked man holding a baby doll upside down in what is presumably a deep and meaningful representation of something. How anyone actually went into a shop and bought this record baffles us.

  • 8. CocoRosie: 'Noah's Ark' (2005) This could have been taken from the most disturbing children's book of all time, but actually the artwork comes courtesy of American alt weirdos Coco Rosie. As you can see it depicts cartoon unicorns who are very much in love and spending some special time together. The one on the far left seems to be particularly enjoying it as he has spat out all of his Skittles and his udders are sparkling. Lovely.

  • 7. Boned: 'Up At The Crack' (2004) – With this cover, were the mock rockers trying to be ironic? Were they going for the comedy value? The answer is irrelevant - it’s not big, it’s not funny and it’s definitely not clever... okay, go on then, maybe it's slightly funny.

  • 6. Creed: 'Weathered' (2001) - Lumpy, misshaped and coarse – no, not Creed singer Scott Stapp's face but the tree into which he is carved. The cover to this ridiculously massive selling album looks like a particularly poor Photoshop effort, from the strange tomato like sun to the haunting image of all three band members faces staring blankly from the tree's bark. Rumours that the hands hacking away at the bands faces are those of a competition winner are as yet unconfirmed.

  • 5. Celine Dion & Anne Geddes: 'Miracle' (2004) - Here at Gigwise we like to think we provide you with many services. Alongside news, reviews and opinions we are now providing peace and tranquillity because after looking at this Celine Dion album cover from 2004 nothing you ever see will scare you quite as much. Is the baby wearing a hat made from the same material as Celine's dress or has she gone crazy and made a dress out of her baby's hair? This is a question which needs answering.

  • 4. Gagik Hovsepian: 'Armenian Dances Vol. 6' (2001) – Proudly holding his instrument as if it's actually his penis, the Armenian clarinet player is clearly a bit of a dirty bastard. As hilarious as it is turgid, the psychedelic colouring around the edge only adds to its general air of tackiness.

  • 3. Brooke Hogan: 'The Redemption' (2009) - Teenage brat Brooke Hogan is the 'star' of various reality TV shows as well as doggedly pursuing a musical career with all the deluded determination of a one legged footballer. This horribly angelic cover is a truly horrifying sight. For a start why is she drawn by one of those artists who sketch tourists caricatures on the streets of Spanish holiday towns? Secondly what has Brooke done to earn her way into heaven? Did she die? It's fair to say Jesus has never seen this much fake tan in his life.

  • 2. William Hung: 'Hung for the Holidays' (2004) - Oh ha ha, his name sounds like 'Well Hung'. One of American Idol's wacky rejects, this guy makes The Cheeky Girls look like Radiohead. 'Hung For The Holidays' features Hung's out of tune murdering of Christmas classics like 'Deck The Halls' and 'Little Drummer Boy. Tragically this horrible cheap South Park aping cartoon cover is not the worst thing about the album. Painful.

  • 1. The Handsome Beasts: '04' (2004) - Where to start on such a parade of horrors? Is it on the nun/ stripper smoking a cigarette? Or maybe the stray dog and pig wandering near the Chinese girl sat cross legged inside a number four? Who knows, but if you described this scene to a psychiatrist you'd probably be sectioned. Don't even stare at the man for too long. He looks like Jabba the Hut mutated with a walrus.