It’s that time again to review the highlights and lowlights of the year. What better way to kick things off than with our annual “Worst Album Covers List”. I’m not sure if cover art has lost its importance due to the slow demise of physical media, but there was such an influx of horrific artwork and photography in 2010 that I was forced to double the list in size. I hope you don’t mind…
“No Guts, No Glory”
This cover should probably be #1, but I've convinced myself that it's intentionally over-the-top bad...it's the only way to explain it.
19. Michael Jackson
I appreciate that they've tried to include references to all the different periods Michael's life, but I find the images to the left of a rotting Michael corpse to be tasteless.
18. J King and Maximus
So Maximus can shoot flames and J. King is...a plumber?
17. Blake Shelton
“Loaded: The Best of Blake
The photographer told him to look "loaded", unfortunately Blake went "full-retard".
16. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
“Round and Round”
Don't you just hate it when you get peanut butter stuck on the roof of your mouth?
I knew Hurley had bad luck, but the Smoke Monster has nothing on the wrath of Weezer.
14. Sheek Louch
“Donnie G: Don Gorilla”
This cover set back race relations 500 years.
13. Neil Diamond
Based off this cover I've come to two beliefs: Neil Diamond uses Cialis, and the original title of the album was "Wet Dreams".
12. Mike Watt
You would think the most disturbing part of this cover would be the lizard-bird with He-Man legs cracking out of an egg-shell while standing on a plaque and being pierced by an arrow. But no. Once again, Comic Sans font wins.
11. Pastor Christy Davis
Tracy Morgan is also a cross-dressing pastor? Who knew!
10. Scissor Sisters
9. Hunx and his Punx
Battle of the gay album covers: Only one will come out on top...or bottom.
8. Ringo Starr
The question should be: Y?
7. Rascal Flatts
“Nothing Like This”
"Behold, my glorious glowing penis!"
6. Jeff Beck
“Emotion & Commotion”
It's a little known fact that eagle nests are made primarily out of Fender Stratocasters.
I've always had a crush on the girls from Cocorosie, and after seeing this cover, I've acquired a strange fetish for girls with cotton candy mustaches.
Ah! The age old act of rappers dressing like centaurs and holding up fencing swords in order to ignite lightning bolts! I remember when NWA did this same cover back in '87.
The needle says "No!" but the spoon says "Yes!"
“Babez for Breakfast”
The commonly over-looked Garbage Pail Kid "Ari Ohla"
1. Brian Ray
“This Way Up”
I've heard of a "chick magnet", but not until this album cover did I know of the "douche magnet".
With the finale of “LOST” approaching us this Sunday, I decided I’d take a moment to look at the role music has played in the show. Not the orchestration, as fantastic as it is, rather the use of popular music through the past six seasons. I understand that many of the song choices are due to their thematic connection, but I’m going to ignore those links altogether and judge the characters’ music choices on face value with one question in mind: who on the island has the best taste in music. I’ve had this question in my mind since I began viewing the show back in January. That’s right: six seasons in five months. I’m not proud of this fact, but I’m glad I went all in on this ground-breaking show.
10. Desmond Hume
The song that everyone associates with Desmond is of course Mama Cass Elliot’s “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” This is due to the fact that when we first met him he was blaring this song in The Hatch. Now, I understand that Desmond’s music choices were limited to only the stack of records kept in his little bunker, but to play this corn-ball garbage in the morning while doing dishes and sit-ups is a bit suspect. Even when not stuck in the hatch his taste blows. While lying in bed in another life (brotha!) he is listening to Sarah McLachlan’s “Building a Mystery”. What a romantic hack! Desmond doesn’t make this list because he has the tenth best taste in music, rather his taste is the worst.
9. John Locke
John always meant well. No one can deny this. He was a romantic at heart and was foolish enough to think things happen for a reason. Hence, his music choice while eating breakfast with Helen is George Jone’s “I’ll Share My World With You”, when we all know that he won’t (unless it’s an alternate future of course). George Jones fits the classic country mold, although he seems a bit forced at times. John redeems himself in another episode with a song that seems more fitting for the perpetual loser. While driving in his old rusty truck, John listens to Muddy Water’s “I Feel Like Going Home”. Not only do the blues perfectly portray the turmoil that Locke must endure, but throughout the show he truly is looking to go home. Unfortunately, not even the island is John’s home sweet home. Poor fella.
8. Kate Austin
Kate is a one trick pony when it comes to her music choices, or I should say music choice. Patsy Cline, Patsy Cline, Patsy Cline: that’s all Kate is ever listening to in any flashback or flash-forward, regardless of what alternate future or past is taking place. We get the connection writers, you don’t need to shove it into our earholes. Yes, Kate often goes “Walking After Midnight” like a scavenger, and “She’s Got You”, whether that you is in reference to Jack or Sawyer. I never understood Kate’s attraction to Sawyer and his snake-skin salesman ways, but then again, this is the same girl who tried stealing a New Kids On the Block lunch box. Fortunately for Kate, I’ll forgive her bad choices in life due to her good ones. Jack Shepherd is the man, and I have to admit that I’ve got a soft spot for old Patsy and her heart-wrenching tales. I just wish the girl would give Mrs. Cline a break once in a while (even If that means a quick listen to “Hangin’ Tough”).
7. James “Sawyer” Ford
Sawyer is known for his wise-cracks and pop-culture references, and this of course means a few music based comments like calling Frank “Kenny Rogers” or mentioning Jimmy Buffet’s “Coconut Telegraph”. But none of his comments seem to delve deep into the music world like his allusions to old TV shows and movies. We didn’t get much of a sense of Sawyer’s music taste until this final season when we find him hiding in one of the old Dharma cabins listening to Iggy and the Stooge’s “Search and Destroy”. What better song to listen to when you’re seeking revenge for the death of your girlfriend? But then of course, ol’ Sawyer lost huge points, at least in my book. When the smoke monster first flies by the house Sawyer is listening to “Search and Dstroy” inside. Old Smokey continues on his way, talks with Richard for 10 minutes, and then finally decides to return to visit Sawyer. When he returns, the same song is playing. This would mean that James “Sawyer” Ford listened to the song, got up, moved the needle on the LP back to the same song, and listened to it several more times. Don’t get me wrong, “Search and Destroy” is a great pop-punk song, but the album it’s featured on, “Raw Power”, is even more incredible. I’ll give Sawyer credit for listening to The Stooges, but no one should ever start “Raw Power” and not listen to it straight through. It’s sacrilege. (I do have to point out that “Search and Destroy” is actually about the Smoke Monster/John Locke, both quintessentially being the “forgotten boy”).
This clip is in Spanish, but you get the point:
6. Charlie Pace
You would think the rock star on the island would be the shoe-in for best music taste. Not so fast my friend. Charlie’s Brit-band Drive Shaft was simply a one-hit-wonder, and “You All Everybody” is the type of musical fare you would hear at the beginning of a Peter Engel Saturday morning TV show like “Saved by the Bell” or “California Dreams”. Anytime Charlie’s meal-ticket began playing, I’d cringe. I would like to blame the utter shitt-iness of the song on his brother Liam, but Charlie was the “talent” of the band, writing all the songs. So why is Charlie ranked sixth if his songwriting was so lacking? He gave glimpses into his music taste on occasion, whether it be singing a Kinks song to pass the time on the island or his “Strawberry Fields Forever” tattoo. Sure, no one can forgive Charlie/Merry for playing Oasis on a street corner, but here at BDWPS we can’t hate on a guy who is also seen at one point wearing a Bob Dylan “Highway 61 Revisited” t-shirt. Bob Dylan Loves Drive Shaft. You heard it here first.
5. Mr. Ecko
I think this is just a sympathy pick. Mr. Ecko was easily my favorite addition to the show, yet the writers had to kill him off before we really got to explore the psyche of this profound character. In one scene you can hear Ecko listening to Femi Kuti’s “Eko Lagos”, a great choice simply due to the song title. Who is Femi Kuti? The son of the great Feli Kuti! Who’s Feli Kuti? Watch your mouth! Basically, Femi Kuti is Nigeria’s version of Sean Lennon if Sean Lennon had talent. Over the years, Femi has explored afro-beat music, pushing his father’s legacy into new directions. The fact that Ecko is listening to this song at a bar may make his placement at number five a bit suspect, but I’d like to believe Mr. Ecko sauntered over to the jukebox to pick this song prior to the start of the scene. Call me a dreamer.
4. Pierre Chang–
You would think of a scientist as being uptight and not having interest in pop music, but Pierre Chang proves that even a scientist can make a little time for Willie Nelson. On a beautiful morning in Dharma-ville, Dr. Chang wakes up and decides that the best way to start the day for his wife and son is to listen to Willie Nelson’s “Shotgun Willie”. This moment is the only glimpse we really get into the minor character Chang’s personal life, but it’s enough for me to deem him a lover of music. At the moment, I can’t think of a better way to start a day than to listen to Willie Nelson.
3. Juliet Burke
We actually only hear Juliet listening to one song, and if I based my decision on this choice alone she would rank near Desmond. While prepping for her book club, she has Petula Clark’s “Downtown” playing loudly on the stereo. She’s listening to the same song when driving with Rachel up to the guardhouse. This song isn’t necessarily horrible, but it isn’t great either. Personally, I can’t hear “Downtown” without thinking of the “Seinfeld” episode where George Constanza tries to unlock the secret of the song. The secret to Juliet’s great taste in music lies in her CD collection. Before putting “Downtown” in the CD player, she fumbles with the Son Volt CD “Okemah and the Melody of Riot”. Not only does Juliet like classic 90s alterna-country, but she then picks up a CD case for the Talking Head’s “Speaking In Tongues”. Son Volt and Talking Heads? Now that’s my kind of girl! The fact that she chose Petula Clark over these two incredible albums is beyond the point. Could they have possibly been Goodwin’s CDs? I won’t entertain the question, God rest his soul.
2. Jack Shephard
Once stuck back in his normal life, Jack realizes he made a huge mistake by leaving the island. He goes through a major depression and is often seen listening to essential early 90s grunge like Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice” and The Pixies “Gouge Away”. I can’t imagine my doctor listening to these raw, vicarious grunge tunes, but Jack’s not your average doctor. He’s a perfectionist, and when things don’t go as expected, he lets things fall to pieces, one gouge at a time. I love the fact that the eventual hero of the show (I’m calling it now) is deep down, a broken, emotional wreck.
1. Hugo “Hurley” Reyes
Hugo is the obvious pick here, as much as I tried convincing myself that Jack was the true music fanatic of the island. There are several details that I can’t deny. First off, Hugo is the only person who actually listens to a portable music device while on the island. The fact that a lottery winner is listening to a Disc-Man says a lot about Hugo’s hipster leanings. Instead of going the digital route with an MP3 player, Hugo still clings to his physical media. Heck, his first stop after winning the lottery is the record store! And while there, he asks the clerk to go to a Hold Steady show with him. Hurley’s taste in music runs the gamut, ranging from James Brown to Damien Rice. But the best insight into Hurley’s knowledge of music lies in his references. For example, when talking to Mrs. Trahn, his servent, he calls her “Lady Tron”, an obscure music reference to the Roxy Music song of the same title. This comment alone demonstrates a true grasp of music history (and music snobbery at that). Hugo may not have any Femi Kuti or Pixies in his record collection, but his consistent display of musical insight is unchallenged by any other castaway of Oceanic Flight 815. His ability to talk to dead people may come in useful after all; “Jimi, are you out there?”
A classic Hugo moment; his Disc-Man’s batteries finally die:
You’re sorta stuck where you are
But, in your dreams you can buy expensive cars,
or live on mars
and have it your way
Flaming Lips “Bad Days” As a kid, I would often have dreams inspired by the video games I was obsessing over at the time. Whether it be “River Raid” or Bionic Commando”, I’d dream that I was in the game. I still have flashbacks of my “Tetris” dreams, a mess of four blocked shapes running through my head begging to be organized logically. This past weekend, my video game dreams stepped beyond the realm of the Xbox 360 to a level that was down right creepy.
I'm pretty sure that "Bionic Commando" was the first and only game ever to let you watch Hitler's head explode.
For the past few months I’ve gotten into the habit of playing one game each night of “NBA 2k10” before going to bed. The monotonous act of playing a pixellated basketball game provides me with a strange source of therapy after a long day. It’s almost like meditation: all thoughts of work and stress wash away, and for that moment, I’m in the zone. To be more specific, I play games via the “My Player” mode where you create a player and slowly build them up by earning points based on your performance each game. My alter-ego started his career playing for the Bismarck Wizards (North Dakota has a pro basketball team?), got picked up by the Chicago Bulls, and then decided to take advantage of free agency by joining Kevin Durant on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
I gave my character a beard as a sign of protest to the video game when they decided to trade Kevin Durant for Pau Gasol.
This past weekend, after a late night drink session with co-workers, I came home with a bag of chicken strips from Whattaburger and played my nightly game. Even when highly inebriated, I pulled off a career high 53 point game, including six steals, three blocks, four assists, and eight rebounds (that’s a fantasy basketball wet dream). I then stumbled into my room and passed out upon impact with my mattress. When I awoke the next morning, I sat up in shock at the content of my drunken reverie.
In the dream, I was the video game form of myself walking amidst the real world. It seemed that the Thunder had just won an NBA title because my video game self and the rest of the Thunder were up on an outdoor stage in front of a gigantic crowd, waving our hands and reaching out to hi-five the real life people in the audience. Video game Android then stepped to the microphone and announced that The Flaming Lips were going to play a few songs, to which the crowd went wild (I’m guessing that the band choice in dreamland was due to the fact that the Lips are from OKC). The band took the stage, shooting confetti into the air and breaking into the “Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”.
As the attendees celebrated, James Harden jumped off the stage and began crowd surfing while Russell Westbrook stood backstage, making out with a chick in a Santa outfit. Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Lips, then turned and asked if I’d like to sing a song with them. The video game form of myself was pretty excited, stepping up to the mic as the OKC faithful went wild. The band broke into “She Don’t Use Jelly”, a high school favorite, and soon, the pixellated Android began wailing away in true “Guitar Hero” form.
Back in the 90s, this would be like Jordan stepping on stage and singing "Bullet with Butteryfly Wings" with the Smashing Pumpkins.
After the song, Wayne walked up to me and shook my hand. He leaned over and shouted to me, over the fans, “Wow! That was amazing. Would you be interested in recording an album with me?”
“Of course!” I replied. It was that easy. Wayne Coyne and I would be recording an album, together. We turned back to the adoring fans and I said into the microphone, “This is one of our new songs.” I don’t know how Coyne and I already had songs in our repertoire, but we did. It was possibly the greatest song I’ve ever heard, although I can’t recall what it sounded like at all. Video game me and Wayne were hamming it up, going back to back Van Halen style. As expected, the crowd went ape-shit (think Beatles on Ed Sullivan).
In this picture I'm jamming on the keyboard.
When we finished the song, something strange happened. I’m guessing it was a result of my brain getting bored with the adoration, but suddenly the audience consisted of excited journalists asking the two of us about our new music project. After answering several softball questions, the dreaded ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith stood up and commenced attacking our music project. “How can you be a musician? You are a basketball player! Remember when Shaq was a rapper?”
It's a little known fact that Stephen A. Smith HATES The Flaming Lips, almost as much as Bob Dylan hates Danger Mouse.
The crowd began laughing, and suddenly video game Android felt insecure. I turned to find that Wayne had disappeared. Stephen A’s onslaught continued. “If you are really recording an album together, what label will you be on?”
I stood there, sweating pixellated sweat drops, wishing I could be somewhere else. Where had my NBA/Rock Star dream gone wrong? Were the lemons in my Paulaner Hefeweizen kicking in, giving me a bad trip through dreamland? Or maybe that raccoon that lives in my ceiling was beginning to get rowdy again? It felt like one of those naked in public dreams, but I still stood in my jersey, headband, and long black arm sleeves, looking like a complete douche.
What the embarrassed Android may have looked like
And then my knight in shining armor appeared. David Yow, lead singer of the influential hardcore band The Jesus Lizard, walked out onto the stage and approached the podium. “I’m here to announce that Touch & Go Records will be re-launched thanks to the kind donations of our NBA friend here.” He reached over and patted me on the back. “And our first Touch & Go Record release will be an album consisting of Wayne Coyne, Android, and myself… so shut your mouth Stephen A.”
Band name? The Unholy Trinity
Suddenly, Wayne Coyne rolled out from behind a curtain inside one of the giant clear hamster-style balls that have become a staple of Flaming Lips shows. As Yow and I raised our hands in prized fighter fashion, Wayne rolled towards Stephen A. Smith. Soon, Smith was running away from the hamster ball as the two of them ran in circles at fast forward speed, a la Benny Hill. The rest of us, David Yow, James Harden, and myself, stood laughing at the hijinks like it was the end of a Scooby Doo episode.
Our album cover
And then I woke up. It might have been the greatest dream ever, or the worst simply because it left me wishing it were all true. It trumped all my childhood dreams of being able to fly or being a contestant on Nickelodeon’s “Guts”. An NBA All-Star AND playing alongside indie rock Gods? It could have only been better if Neil Young stepped in and beat the shit out of Stephen A. Smith while J. Mascis tea-bagged him. It didn’t help that I’d just seen the most recent episode of “LOST” (spoiler alert) where Desmond has flashes of an alternate life he never knew. I laid in bed wondering if, like the show, some insecure doctor had altered my life, destroying all chances I had of living my dreams. Damn you Jack Shephard!
Is it a bad sign if the "LOST" character you relate to the most is the alcoholic, emo Jack Shephard? Hey, at least he likes The Pixies, right?
Here’s the latest Liars video for the song “Scissors” off their soon to be released album “Sisterworld”. At first the video reminded me of “LOST”, but quickly it becomes more reminiscent of something you’d read in one of Stephen King’s short story collections.