Everyone knows music is the perfect mood setter and we all have that sexy album that we turn to when we are ready to get down. But, have you ever thought about how sexy an album’s artwork is?
While there are hundreds of head-turning album artworks out there, here are our top ten sexiest album covers of all time.
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Given that Jagger was regarded as the sexiest man in rock, how could we not include this straight-up crotch-shot? In early 1969, Andy Warhol agreed to design an album cover for the Rolling Stones and while Jagger requested “nothing too complicated,” Warhol set out to make one of the most complex, memorable and of course sexy album covers in rock history. It was this album and its sexy appearance which teleported the Stones from stars to legends. The initial release actually featured a real zipper on the cover. What’s even better is that when you pulled it down, you saw the model’s underwear! While it is commonly assumed to be Jagger’s crotch, the identity of the well-equipped jeans-wearer has been a mystery for over 40 years.
The Strokes – Is This It
Is This It. Perhaps one of the most iconic images of the garage rock revival of the early 2000s. And if one thing’s for sure, The Strokes’ dirty guitars and vocals aren’t the only things dirty about this legendary album. Photographer Colin Lane’s seminal “ass n’ glove shot” was used, almost by chance. While the photographer had been working with the band for some time, after showcasing his old portfolio, Julian Casablancas stumbled upon the beautiful butt shot and fell in love. ‘That would be a cool cover, would you mind if we used it?’ While Lane was shocked, of course, he said yes, although he might have had to ask his ex-girlfriend for permission first.
Blink 182 – Enema of the State
Okay, but how can an album cover get sexier than a porn star dressed in a nurses uniform? The album cover for Blink 182’s Enema of the State is one of the enduring images of the late ’90s. Adult actress and exotic dancer Janine Lindemulder posed for the cover, donning a blue latex glove and a suggestive expression which surely ignited much more than just the imagination for many teenage Blink 182 fans. Surprisingly, the glove was what actually inspired the album’s working title. “Up until the very last minute, the album was going to be called Turn Your Head and Cough,” says photographer David Goldman. “And that’s why I came up with the idea of the glove. Obviously, an enema is not really a glove type of thing. I thought it was a good visual.” And he’s right. It’s a good visual indeed.
Basement Jaxx – Remedy
Remedy is the debut studio album by English electronic music duo Basement Jaxx, released in 1999. Speaking about the album, Felx Buxton said: “For me, Remedy was always about togetherness, which is the appeal of house music. You may be black; you may be white; you may be Jew; you may be gentile. It doesn’t matter in our house.” This is perfectly reflected in the album cover, with some pretty sauce imagery of spooning naked bodies. That’s togetherness, alright. Adorned with glistening typography, fit for a porno, how could you turn this bad boy down?
Grace Jones – Island Life
The iconic image of Grace Jones on the cover of her 1985 album, Island Life is both incredibly impressive and ultimately impossible. The photograph which was collaged by art director Jean-Paul Goude helped transform Jones into an international superstar and established the strikingly sensual identity for which Jones is now renowned. Goude photographed Jones in a variety of positions using boxes to hold up parts of her body. Goude then combined the images in a montage that showcases Jones’ beauty and artistic sensuality. While the work has been considered controversial, creating exoticised, hyper-sexualised imagery, many believe it is an iconic cultural image which represents black female empowerment in the 1980s.
Bjork – Vespertine
Bjork is perhaps one of the most intriguing artists when it comes to sexuality, drawing from nature to emit her sensuality: “I like bestiality. I get turned on by nature. I don’t find urban brothel situations very hot. But that’s just my taste… like, National Geographic porn.” While this might seem a little bit weird, her heavenly album artwork for Vespertine mirrors the delicacy of her romance with nature as well as with artist Matthew Barney. While Björk has never been a stranger to creating beautifully sensuous sonic otherworlds, this album truly showcases this and the beauty of her sexuality through a visual medium.
Scissor Sisters – Night Work
Okay, so we all loved the Rolling Stones’ sexy straight-up crotch shot. But we are also all for the Scissor Sisters juicy butt shot. The 2010 album Night Work features a provocative close-up of a clenched man’s behind. More specifically, that behind belongs to Broadway dancer Peter Reed and was snapped by late American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1980, probably adding to the “classic-ness” of the album artwork. Speaking on the artwork, guitarist Del Marquis said: “The cover’s been blown up on billboards all over town and it’s really exciting for me to be driving through religiously conservative neighbourhoods and seeing this giant gorgeous clenched man’s ass!” We sure wouldn’t mind seeing this beautiful buttocks blown up on a billboard, that’s for sure.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ blend of funky rock, their fondness for tatts was ahead of its time. And this was encapsulated in their sexy album cover art for Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The cover features the central image of a red rose, an iconic symbol of love, sex and tattoos. Surrounding it is a tangle of tribal style tongues, designed by tattoo artist, painter and writer Henk Schiffmacher, a.k.a. Hanky Panky. To top it off, the album’s accompanying booklet consisted of a collage of each band member’s many and varied tattoos, weaving together the disparate cultural threads that would come to define male sexuality in the 1990s.
Tricky – Blowback
Blowback is the fifth studio album by English rapper and producer Tricky released in 2001. This album cover gets close and personal, featuring a female blowing smoke into Tricky’s mouth. The image concocts all kinds of sauciness and even faced a bit of controversy at the time. So much so that promotional posters were banned because authorities believed they may advocate drug use and sexual misbehaviour. While the album itself received mixed reviews by critics and fans alike, all we can say is that we think the album artwork is bangin’.
Blood Orange – Coastal Grooves
Devonté Hynes, the man behind Blood Orange, is no stranger to creating sexy works for a wide array of artists. In particular, he manifested some pretty epic visuals for his album Coastal Grooves. The fact that he was inspired by transgender icons, like Octavia St. Laurent while he was producing the album really translated to the imagery on the album cover. On artwork features a glamorous androgynous model, possibly a found vintage photograph, a gorgeous, sexy shot that is all about the fun and irresistible early 90s vibes of post-Art Deco and lace body stockings. Damn.