Bad By Design.

Pooh Man, Funky As I Wanna Be cover

Its laughable gynecological ambitions aside, what may be most fascinating about this long-derided cover for rapper Pooh Man’s 1992 Jive/Zomba album, Funky As I Wanna Be, above, is that it’s one of the most expertly executed ones on the Museum of Bad Album Covers web site.

Milk Man Deerhoof album coverI mean, obnoxious as it is, at least one can see actual design and technical skills at play. Most of the artwork on Bad Album Covers looks like stuff people didn’t even guess at in any meaningful way, not to mention think through. Like, for example, everything in the Museum’s “We don’t need one of those fancy Graphic Designers!” or “It seemed like a good idea at the time!” sections. Possibly my worst-favorite bin, though, is “Uncategorizable awfulness,” which produced the two masterpieces here, right: The attacked-by-fruit approach favored on Milk Man by Deerhoof—an otherwise very cool alt-noise band—and “the notorious K.E.N.”‘s By Request Only.

Ken, By Request Only coverIt’s astounding what a good, thought-provoking cover can do for an album, and how readily that imagery becomes part of the way we experience the music. Intrinsically understanding this torsion between image and sound, perhaps, led the Museum to create their Bad Music Radio section, featuring some of the crap that lines the insides of these dustpans. (I’m dating myself with that jab.) I’m listening to Mr. T’s “Rappin'” as I write this, but, execrable as it is, it pales against the awesome awfulness of U.A.H.C.’s “I’m Proud to Be a Jew,” Wooshie Spkomoto’s “Lady,” and, especially, Georgina Dobson & Cupboard Simon’s remake of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s “The Message.” As their MySpace page notes, it’s a

Septuagenarian Rap cover of the Grandmaster Flash classic, taken from the 1996 album “Misfits- 27 tracks from 18 strange fruits”. The sleeve notes say … “An OAP’s (Old Age Pensioner’s) eye view of the city, rap stylee”

To me, though, she sounds like a heavily medicated woman waking up every twenty seconds in order to mutter the last thing she dreamt about. Believe me: Ellen Albertini Dow, best known as “Rosie the Rapping Granny” from 1998’s The Wedding Singer, is 50 Cent by comparison. And as for Pooh Man, my brother, the next time you’re gonna do the deed, don’t wear Ray-Bans. Wear these.



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