Features Music Year End 2020 2020: A Year In Review

Year End 2020

Music: 2020: A Year In Review

The worst cover art of 2020

We've covered the best cover art of the year, so that surely means we need to list out the worst. These albums may contain some of the best music released in 2020, sure. But the cover art that music was packaged in? Let's just say the SPB staff feel that it's an affront to our eyeballs. Here are our least favorite album covers of the year. Words by Matt.

Elvis Costello – Hey Clockfake

Nominated by Aaron

When you've been in this game as long as Mr. Costello has, you can afford to fuck around a little. The guy has over 30 studio albums, for Christ's sake – he probably can't remember the album sleeves for all of them. But this thing? Even if I was a clock, I'd be yelling at that creepy hand to get the hell away from my face with those bizarro-nails (and is that blood on the hand?). Why does the eye look like it was made using MS Paint? This looks as if Elvis's teenage grandson created a "powerful" art project at school and convinced gramps to use it on the sleeve.

Karen Jonas – The Southwest Sky And Other Dreams

Nominated by Loren

Have you ever seen those custom greetings cards websites that let you photoshop a friend's face so it looks like they're on the cover of a magazine? Add a starburst and boom – you're a Jonas sister.

Green Day – Father Of All Motherfuckers

Nominated by Aaron

There are so many things to be angry about here. Green Day have a combined age of almost 150. The chalkboard/graffiti motif was played out when they were making Dookie, let alone in 2020. This looks as edgy as a nine-year-old's birthday party, and probably not as interesting. Worst of all: if you're going to use the word "motherfuckers" in your album title, have the rainbow-vomiting-unicorn balls to actually print it on the album sleeve. Sure, Walmart will refuse to carry it, but at this point I suspect Billie Joe and friends can afford to take the hit in the name of artistic integrity. 

4 Guys From The Future – Arches EP

Nominated by Loren

"4 Guys From The Future" sounds like the name you gave your high school band when you went through that ill-advised Krautrock phase and thought you sounded like Can (you didn't; people thought you were a Devo tribute act). This artwork isn't much better: it looks like the type of vomit you only find in college towns after the new intake of students hit the city bars and their ill-advised neon shots end up curdling on the street with car oil and rainwater, forming intricate patterns and shapes that almost look intriguing until you realise it's the contents of someone's stomach.

Fake Names – Fake Names

Nominated by Matt

The band photo takes me back to 2003, but the typography: why? Just why. It's not kitsch, it's not cute, it's not ironic and it definitely doesn't make me want to listen to this band.

Like A Motorcycle – Dead Broke

Nominated by Loren

Look, I enjoy "creative" cooking as much as the next guy. We've all rolled in from the bar, too drunk to cook properly but deliriously hungry for a hit of carbs and flavour so strong it stings the roof of your mouth. We've all kept individual sachets of condiments from popular burger franchises, too. I could take a sideways tangent here to talk about my disdain for ketchup in all its forms (it's a cartoon flavour, tasting of everything and nothing all at once; dominating whatever food it's dumped upon until all you taste is its big, dumb, red sugar) but this is besides the point. Making an image of these foods of desperation your album cover is an aggressive act of cruelty against anyone's sense of aesthetics. We're all in the gutter of microwaved mac and cheese with McDonalds ketchup, but some of us are dreaming of... Chipotle?

The Third Kind – Man vs Earth

Nominated by Loren

What bothers me most of all here isn't the cheesy font or weak album name: it's the fact that they seem to have chosen a bass guitar to illustrate the rock and roll nature of the creature depicted here. Nobody looks like a rock star with a bass guitar, with the honourable exceptions of Phil Lynott and Rob Trujillo. And this bare-craniumed zombie demon thing is neither of those people.

Oh Sees – Panther Rotate

Nominated by Aaron

I mean. Just look at it. It's looking back at you.

Quintron and Miss Pussycat – Goblin Alert

Nominated by Matt

Look, I'll level with you. I don't know what kind of music Quintron and Miss Pussycat play. It's probably some kind of clever dance music with ironic synthesisers and angular haircuts. But any aficionado of the history of J.R.R Tolkien's fictional Middle-Earth will know that goblins—also known as orcs—are wily, cunning creatures. Dressing up as chefs or lobsters in an attempt to escape them (when the "goblin alert" is sounded) will surely fail, as will the primitive weaponry displayed here (Miss Pussycat is wielding a large pair of claws while Quintron seems to be brandishing a frying pan). Tolkien himself stated that goblins "invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosives always delighted them" ("Over Hill and Under Hill", The Hobbit). I'd like to see Quintron and Miss Pussycat handle that.

Liam Kazar – On A Spanish Dune

Nominated by Loren

This is cultural appropriation of the Juggalo community and I will not stand for it.


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Words by the SPB team on Dec. 28, 2020, 2:12 p.m.

Calendar photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

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Series: Year End 2020

Our wrap-up of the best music and more for the year we'll all want to otherwise forget, 2020.

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