Let’s Talk Album Covers

Like a music video, album covers are a form of advertising for musicians. They aim to be attention grabbing and in certain cases can become legendary artwork in their own right- think The Beatles Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band or the iconic banana Andy Warhol designed for The Velvet Underground. However just like music videos, sometimes the album covers objectify women, and promote misogynist ideals. It’s well understood that sex sells; it’s a fine line, and even female artists sexually objectify themselves to sell their music. However we’re looking at misogyny, and therefore let’s take a look at some album covers by male artists created over the last few decades. These albums are from musicians in all kinds of genres, including rock, indie, and classic pop. They make comparisons between woman and animals, show women simply as body parts, and some even advocate sexual assault.

Warning: Some images may offend.

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Eddie Mack: Recorded Live at the open face sandwich club released around the 1950’s (couldn’t find a specific date)

 By placing a naked woman on the piano looking adoringly at the male singer it makes it apparent that music marketing execs knew that sex sells in the 1950’s. It’s the submissive way the woman is situated that makes this cover sexist.

Elliot Lawrence- Music for Trapping (Tender That is) Released 1959

Elliot Lawrence- Music for Trapping (Tender That is)  Released in 1959

The title of this 1959 album says it all. This album cover screams sexual assault and murder. The implications of placing females heads mounted on the wall like they’re animals to be snared is frightening.  This is along with the way the couple is positioned, as if the woman is looking to escape; it’s alarming by even today’s standards.

Lovedrive by Scorpion  Released 1979

Lovedrive- Scorpion. Released in 1979

Like the last image the sexual assault undertones of this album cover are apparent. The man’s body language paired with odd trapping gum and the woman’s stony facial expressions make this, in my eyes, a sexist cover.

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Hurricane- Take What You Want. Released 1985

Like the last two the sexualised woman with a sheer top paired with the ‘rapey’ title Take What You Want make it clear that sexist album covers are (sadly) alive and well in the 1980’s.

scorpionsanimalmagnetism

Scorpion- Animal Magnetism. Released 1980.

Another album cover by Scorpion makes the list, this one titled Animal Magnetism was released only a year after Lovedrive. The comparisons between the woman’s submissive expression and the way it mirrors the dogs has clear sexist undertones. In this cover women are just something to be controlled, and more on par with animals than equal to men.

SlipperyWhenWet

Bon Jovi- Slippery When Wet. Released 1986.

This cover showing a woman’s wet torso shows that in music women are just body parts used to sell music. I also find the title of this album as something to be examined, as if a woman uses sex as a way of being ‘slippery’ and manipulative.

ludacris-chicken

Ludacris- Chicken N Beer. Released 2003.

In this album cover, admittedly odd in it’s title and busy foreground, a women is seen as just a piece of meat. She is simply seen as a body part, just a leg, and again comparisons are made between females and animals. 

Ted Nugent- Love Grenade. Pre Release Album Cover 2007.

Ted Nugent- Love Grenade. Pre Release Album Cover 2007.

Admittedly rock singer Ted Nugent saw enough sense to change this pre-release album cover before it’s actual release in 2007. However this cover depicting a tied up naked women as a piece of meat on a platter is incredibly misogynist. The grenade in her mouth and her expression also have violent undertones.

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Two Door Cinema Club- Beacon. Released 2012.

This album art missed the ‘artistic’ mark when they attempted to pay homage to a French photographer. Objectifying and de-humanizing, it shows a woman with a glowing light between her legs as if females are sirens, only there for sex. By not showing her face and showing her in a powerless position it again depicts her as just body parts to submit to males sexual gazes.

So what do you think of these album covers?

Do you have any more to add to the list?

– Rocheen.

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Album Covers

    1. Rocheen Post author

      Thanks for sharing! Ugh, definitely degrading. In trying to find sexist album covers I found that the 80’s and early 2000’s, like that Darkness one, are some of the worst offenders!

      Reply
  1. Music For Ears Not Eyes

    I’ve never understood the point of such album covers. One in particular which springs to mind is Blind Faith’s 1969 album Blind Faith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Faith_(Blind_Faith_album)The album is really good, and you’d expect nothing less from the likes of Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, yet the cover artwork has me baffled as it hardly relates to the content of the album. I like buying vinyl for the art as much as the music, yet this album is one within my collection purely for the music.

    I’d been led to believe for a while that these types of misogynist album covers had been reserved for more recent artists who were trying to sell music with sex. But the truth is, this type of thing dates back through the last 50 years.

    At least the album does have strong musical credibility. You can find out more about this at my blog about the artistic integrity of music:
    http://music4earsnoteyes.wordpress.com/

    Reply

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