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The Afghan Whigs - Congregation (1992) The Whigs were always down for drama. Here the shock of naked flesh comes second fiddle to the deliberate strangeness of the image itself, though it's probably more a jokey reference to the band's black-music roots than anything especially deep.

Tapping the taboo appeal of physicality is nothing new — there’s a long history of using nudity to move product. The music business, like any business, is no exception. If a well-placed buttock gets you to pick a record up off the rack (or click through a blog header), the cover has done its work.

The world was reminded of the joys of NSFW album covers earlier this week when Bat For Lashes unveiled her latest album, The Haunted Man. It’s not the dirtiest thing you’ll ever see, but it’s fun, it gives the vague impression of being artistic, and it grabs the eye.

There are a million terrible NSFW covers floating around the world. No one needs to see them (though you can if you want). But the fun ones, the rad ones, the tasteful and the hilariously distasteful ones, are well worth a look.

Here are 40 of the best in alphabetical order. Albums were selected based on three criteria: overall awesomeness, potential for hilarity, and relative quality of their NSFW attributes. Covers featuring underage kids (Blind Faith, Virgin Killer, Bow Wow Wow) have been left out because we’re not pedobears. But before you proceed, be warned that there will be a whole bunch of male and female nudity, as well as … some strangeness. Adjust your brain accordingly.

Did we leave out your favorite? Share it in the comments with a URL that ends in .jpg or .png. Sexy comment party!

 
Comments (59)
  1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy! Oh wait, did you say coolest NSFW album covers?

  2. The Dwarves “Blood, Guts and Pussy” deserves some consideration.

  3. you’re obviously forgetting Megapuss

    featuring Devendra Banhart’s dick ♥

  4. You guys were just inspired after the comments on the Bat for Lashes cover/video…hilarious. A story sprouts from the strangest places.

  5. You guys are forgetting my *Nsync CD which my sister drew sharpie dicks all over.

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  7. Someone should re-read the Scorpions blurb. It reads a touch creepy. Like, a touch with two hairy molester hands.

  8. check out Night Music by Tones On Tail (1999) – Import

  9. Lest we forget Bloodhound Gang’s seminal release, Hefty Fine?

  10. Maybe I would add “Songs About Fucking” to the list. No nudity, but the cover is still just really abrasive…and also NSFW.

  11. The Lennon quote makes no sense. Both he and Yoko were getting into heroin in ’68, and neither looks overweight.

  12. Where the fuck is liars “it fit when i was a kid” or the one i never listened to but found funny when I was a kid in the record store NOFX – heavy petting zoo???

  13. Wow guys. Nevermind didn’t make the list…..

    • Baby penis isn’t NSFW Brandon. I think a penis needs to be at least 3 years old to be inappropriate.

      • One would think. However, at the record store where I used to work, we had a lady write us a letter threatening to call the FBI on us because we had a huge Nevermind poster on the wall. We solved the problem with a post-it note.

        I wrote a letter back saying that, in the two years the poster had been on the wall, we never found anybody masturbating to it in the aisle, that she was the first person to view the poster in sexual terms and should probably seek therapy, but my manager wouldn’t let me see me the return address. In retrospect, he probably did the right thing.

  14. i would like to go to electric ladyland, please.

  15. A few recent ones I didn’t see here…

    Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (it was banned, so it’s a technicality…)

    http://optimisticunderground.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/my-beautiful-dark-twisted-fantasy-deluxe-kanye-west-28132129.jpeg?w=604

  16. I heard that jimi hated that cover and that made me like jimi more

  17. It is SFW, would you really wanna pedowork there?


  18. Late 70′s, early 80′s Jazz Fusion entry.


  19. Ohio Players. Every Album was NSFW.

  20. How about Life, Sex, & Death – “The Silent Majority” ?

  21. That Tom Waits cover is the coolest thing ive ever seen

  22. This one always made me laugh:

  23. die for da funk

  24. I think the most important thing I learned from this article is that there was once a band named “Witchfinder General”.

  25. The Rush description is pretty hilarious.

  26. If this doesn’t work, bury me with my Tijuana Brass Band vinyls

  27. obvious omission is obvious.

  28. i feel as though the boobies are being over-represented here.

  29. Crooked Fingers

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