Covers Always Lie: Music

  • The image for The Black Keys album, El Camino is anything but. No vintage muscle car is visible, only a rusted, white van with faux wood paneling.
  • The band Roxy Music always used women on their album covers despite the fact there were no women in the band. They did this because they wanted to evoke exotica covers and magazine covers of the 50s. The fact that Roxy is also a woman's name led a lot of people to buy the albums thinking it was female sung exotica from Latin America, not male sung art rock from England.
  • The badass mechanical thing with the horned animal skull with glowing eyes and a fiery red background on the cover of Beck's Mellow Gold looks awesome, but is a bit misleading considering most of the music is more folksy than the cover would imply. Some moments of the album are trippy (if not heavy) enough to fit the cover. listen to Sweet Sunshine and see if you can't imagine that thing clanking around to the beat.
  • Gary Numan's backing band put out one largely forgotten The Band Minus the Face album entitled For Future Reference under the name Dramatis. While the initial release had a cover just featuring a photograph of the band, in 2000 it would be re-released with a cover with one ambiguously shadowy face on it that might or might not be Gary Numan, and billed as an album called The Dramatis Project by Tubeway Army Featuring Gary Numan. In fact Numan only contributed guest vocals for one song, and no members of Tubeway Army, the band that initially brought Numan fame, were involved.
  • This cover for the album Share the Fantasy by Godheadsilo makes it seem like a Black Metal-esque cover, but the music is really psychedelic noise rock.
  • This cover for the album Visit Me by R&B group Changing Faces. Which would suggest a lot of sex driven songs. It's not... the album has nothing to do with sexual themes or topics. The album consists of Lighter and Softer R&B songs about relationships and the inherent drama.
  • The Kinks' album Face to Face features an iconic 60s cover that includes a white background, and some pretty psychedelic colors and art. The Kinks' frontman, Ray Davies, has stated that he was never happy with the cover, and that he thought a simple black cover much better suited the style of the album itself.
  • David Bowie's early albums Space Oddity and The Man Who Sold the World got the Trend Covers treatment after The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars hit it big — they were reissued with pictures of him as Ziggy on the covers. But while Ziggy Stardust was Glam Rock through and through, those albums were folk rock and Heavy Metal, respectively.
  • Nearly every single Super Eurobeat cover lives and breathes this trope, quite notably in Super Eurobeat 175, which features upbeat and fun tunes such as this.
  • Famously, the cover for Led Zeppelin IV (which doesn't even feature a title!) shows a significantly weathered image of an old man on a rural road, suggesting that the record was going to be nothing but hippie folk music. While there is some of that ("The Battle Of Evermore," for instance), the tracks that most people remember from this album are the heavy metal standards "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll" - and "Stairway to Heaven," which actually starts out as a medieval ballad, but has morphed into a full-blown headbanger by the climax.
    • This was entirely intentional, as was leaving out the band's name entirely from the cover. They wanted to show the critics their music could stand on their own without all the hype surrounding them. Of course, everyone knew who made that album anyway, so...
  • Some album covers, such as certain editions of Front Line Assembly's Civilization, list the tracks in the wrong order.
  • My Brightest Diamond's album A Thousand Sharks Teeth consists of a photo of Shara Worden playing an accordion. There's no accordion to be heard anywhere on the album.
  • The cover for KISS Creatures Of The Night originally featured Ace Frehley, even though he doesn't perform on the album.
    • A later re-issue featured an updated band photo on the cover with Bruce Kulick, who doesn't perform on the album either
  • Nick Drake's Music/PinkMoon is an extremely sparse, short folk album, but the cover makes it look more like an avant-garde jazz album.
  • A Canadian band who called themselves the "Rainbow Butt Monkeys" released their sole album "Letters from Chutney" with an extremely odd photo of three 50s looking women on lawn mowers. A total lack of moneys is noticeable, as well as the fact that you would have no idea that this is a straight up grunge record until you started it up. though seeing the band in the inlay may give you a hint
  • Out To Lunch! by Eric Dolphy: The bizarre clock on the album cover doesn't provide any helpful answer when the person will be back from lunch? It's not even clear whether it's actually in the middle of the afternoon?!
  • Jazz From Hell by Frank Zappa: The music is not Jazz at all, but computer music with one live guitar solo, recorded during a concert.
  • The cover of Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, an experimental Baroque Pop Concept Album that would heavily influence Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band among other albums and styles, was packaged with a photo showing the band in matching black, button-down jackets (plus touring member Bruce Johnston) feeding goats at the San Diego Zoo. None of this imagery has anything to do with the mood of the album.
  • The Complete Recordings by Robert Johnson. It is the most complete collection of Johnson's work around, that's true, though it's not entirely complete. There is one alternate take of "Traveling Riverside Blues" missing.
  • Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed shows Reed posing in a leather jacket, sunglasses on the nose, looking badass. So you would expect this album to be a good rock record, right? Wrong, it's nothing but droning and screeching guitar feedback that is Sensory Abuse to the ears!
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono's first three solo recordings, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions and Wedding Album attracted countless Beatle and Lennon fans, expecting great rock music. What they got was mostly random background noises, Yoko Ono's One-Woman Wail and, on "Wedding Album", John and Yoko saying each other's names for half an hour to a Heart Beat Soundtrack. Two Virgins is particularly misleading as it features John and Yoko posing in the nude, yet nothing on the album alludes to this. Most random buyers probably expected it to be a pornographic tape. Living With The Lions features Lennon alongside Yoko on the cover, but you hardly hear him on the album.
  • Brian Jones Presents The Pipes Of Pan At Jajouka is an album that was merely produced by Brian Jones and doesn't feature him on vocals or instruments at all. Instead we hear the wonderful performances by the Master Musicians of Jajouka, a Moroccan folk group.
  • Elvis Presley: Arguably the most notorious, yet atrocious concert album in his career is Having Fun With Elvis On Stage, a 35 minute collection of nothing but Elvis cracking jokes with the audience, without any music or context of what is going on? Not only is the record painfully unfunny, a lot of it is technically not even a joke, just Elvis saying random things in interaction with his audience. Half of the time he is clearly just rambling, before deciding his jokes are falling flat or his story isn't going anywhere.
  • John Zorn: Several tracks on Music For Children are definitely too difficult, noisy or scary for children to appreciate them.