When it comes to music, the Mitt Romney campaign has had a rough go of it. Artists like Silversun Pickups, Twisted Sister, K’Naan, and Al Green have already prohibited the Republican ticket from using their songs based on various reasons, mostly ideological. But Romney isn’t the only musical pariah in politics. Over the course of his two successful campaigns, George W. Bush faced lawsuits from artists such as Tom Petty, John Hall, and Sting while John McCain received backlash from the likes of John Cougar Mellenkamp, ABBA, Jackson Browne, and The Foo Fighters. In fact, the only Democrat to ever be asked not to use a song was Barrack Obama in 2008 when Sam Moore asked him to not use his song “Hold On, I’m Coming,” but even in that instance, Moore insisted he was excited about Obama’s campaign. The recent request made by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider to Paul Ryan had me asking a simple question: why do musicians hate the GOP?
Unfortunately, there will not be any “Road Trip” blogs for two weeks due to all of my trip photos being on my home computer. Never fear! The best of lists are here! Over the next couple weeks we will be unveiling our top albums, songs, and below, our best and worst album covers. Enjoy your holiday season, and of course, enjoy our look back on 2009.
10. Kenny Chesney
“Greatest Hits II”
9. Green Day
“21st Century Breakdown”
It looks like Kenny's roadies left all his gear on the beach. I guess he'll have to load it all himself! Fortunately, he doesn't have any sleeves to roll up.
8. Susan Boyle
“I Dreamed a Dream”
I think this album is supposed to look urban, dirty, and rebellious. Instead, it looks like a polished paint by numbers.
7. Monsters of Folk
When you are famous for being ugly with a beautiful voice, you probably shouldn't plaster your ugly mug on the CD cover, even if your hands are covering half of the mess. Like Obama would say, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." (Too harsh?)
6. Adam Lambert
“For Your Entertainment”
- Oh! I get it! It’s folk stars in cartoon form! There’s Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward and there’s….um…there’s….the dude from “Doonesbury”?
5. Twisted Sister
“Big Hits and Nasty Cuts: The Best of Twisted Sister”
4. Chris Brown
I don't know what's worse: five 50-year-olds in ripped jeans and make-up or the monster's claws ripping through their image.
3. Ben’s Brother
Obviously, Chris Brown is not the best at making good decisions, but who knows what he was thinking with this cover. Maybe he's auditioning for the part of Judge Doom in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2". "Hey evil cartoon creatures! If you don't help me with my plan I'll spray you with The Dip!"
2. Bill Engvall
“Aged and Confused”
It looks like somebody went a little overboard with their collage. "But there were so many cool pics to cut out of my 'National Geographic!"
1. Brooke Hogan
God is great. Beer is good. The world is crazy! EL OH EL!
I know money may be tight for the Hulkster these days but this is God awful...I'm guessing Hulk must have owed a favor to a blind South Beach air-brush artist.
10. The Black Lips
“200 Million Thousand”
9. Grizzly Bear
At first glance this cover may seem lame with its scrawled letters and monotonous black and white lines, but if you stare at it a little longer, a gruesome face will emerge from the mess of lines. Beware!
I don't get Grizzly Bear, and it frustrates me to no end. Their 2009 release "Vectamist" has been critically acclaimed, yet I listen to it and find myself yawning. What am I missing here? Well, at least I can appreciate the album's expressionist cover, a vibrant blend of triangular shapes and chipping paint.
It sure is nice having a graphic artist in your band.
Sure, this Weezer album sucks dog balls, but you can't deny the shear awesomeness featured in this image of a canine catapulting across a living room. If I could describe this picture in one word, it would "RADITUDE"! (Eck, I just gave myself douche chills)
5. Flaming Lips
This cover may seem boring and simple, but that is what makes it so brilliant. Everything seems to fit perfectly: the contrast of the colors and the cyclical feel of the two hands reaching out. When you notice that the left upper-hand is wearing a hospital wristband, the album's title "Hospice" takes on a much larger meaning.
4. Dinosaur Jr.
This isn't the cartoony water color Flaming Lips cover you've grown accustomed too, which is fitting when considering the stark change in style the album contains. Dark and appalling, both the grimey music and the cover's image of a woman attempting to emerge from a hairy cocoon will leave you confused yet searching for more.
3. Biffy Clyro
I'm not sure if these walking plants are inspired by LOTR's Ents, or if they are supposed to be giant pot plants, but there is something damn cool about this image of vegetation dudes carrying cute women away from the city smog. It doesn't really fit the album's grinding riffs and howling guitar solos, but when a cover is this kick-ass, does it matter?
2. Animal Collective
“Merriweather Post Pavilion”
This is a truly captivating photograph that only raises questions. Are these two being held captive? Why is there a fire? What do the sheets waving in the wind represent? Are they being held back? Or do they somehow represent sexual tension? Or am I just going crazy? It's too bad the band's music isn't nearly as interesting as this photo that will lead you to either enlightenment or insanity.
1. Yo La Tengo
Stare at the picture for a moment. Is it moving like water? What makes it even cooler is how fitting it is alongside "Merriweather Post Pavilion's" watery, spaced out sounds.
A rusty, unravelling cassette tape - not only does it make you nostalgic for the age of the mix-tape, but it also makes you a little sad. Kids being born today will never own a physical piece of digital media. All their music, movies, and video games will be kept on a hard drive, not taking up space and gathering dust in the basement. At the same time, they will never know the joy of making that perfect blend of songs to be listened to ad nauseam in your car as your cruise the loop. As much as us "Hippies and a Ouija Board" want to keep this era alive, sometimes "Ghosts Don't Always Want to Come Back".