Art on Our Sleeves: Alien Album Covers

By: Karolina Rous

Art on Our Sleeves: Alien Album Covers



Okay, so this installment of Art on Our Sleeves isn't categorized by music genre, but instead in a more aesthetically aimed vein. This time, we're going to take a look at that ever-elusive, ever-amusing album cover theme: aliens. Yup, aliens. We're going there . . . so let the seminally brilliant art critique begin!


 Joe Satriani, Surfin with Aliens

Joe Satraini

Surfing with the Alien


First on our tour of objet d'art, let's take a look at the aesthetically pop-art cover from Joe Satraini, Surfing with the Alien. Reminiscent of an Andy Warhol or, even more so, American comic pop-art icon Roy Lichtenstein, this album cover employs primary colours, sharp, speeding lines and the Silver Surfer-inspired pseudo-male futuristic character. The balance of both depth and line are well dissected by his placement on the centre of the canvas. Yeah, you didn't think we knew art at SoundProof, did you? Well, we do. 


 Iron Maiden - Brave New World

Iron Maiden

Brave New World

(Heavy Metal)

Okay, now that I've got the art-speak out of my system, let's move on to the awesomeness that is Iron Maiden (re: "Rock out yeah! MAIDEN! MAIDEN!"). You know, if there's one band that stood at the crux of the "groder rock tee" it was Maiden. See that crazy skull/Satan/alien-ish weirdo (the band's famed masoct Eddie) hovering over the futuristic city below? Yup-the sucker has been making an appearance on every other metal tee from '81 to today. Hardcore, dudes.


Alien Factor, Dark Arena 

Alien Factor

Dark Arena


There is no way Shakespeare isn't rolling over in his grave right now. Like it's not bad enough that the Bard's image has been slapped on every other hackneyed piece of overpriced art-gallery shoppe tack, now his poor Yorick is being held up for contemplation by a fucking alien. Nice work Alien Factor – we get it, you're deep.



 Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes

Guided by Voices

Alien Lanes

(Garage/Indie Rock)

Ah, a respite from the other album covers (no distain at all to note here!) – here's a nice, esoterically witty album cover from indie godfathers Guided by Voices. Why put an alien on your album's cover when you can be subtle about it? That drum could be played by anyone my friend. But I'm pretty sure it's not lying out in Kansas. Cool shit, not to mention a spectacular album, musically speaking.



 Alien vs. the Cat, Space Jam

Alien vs The Cat

Space Jam


I had to do it – I had to include one representational sample from the vast, vast pile of techno/electronica ‘sweet beats dude' genre. You've seen these before, six for a dollar, in the last-call bin at your local Value Village. But seriously, how radical is this cover? I can just visualize a DJ in Brampton putting this on at a rave in some field before the cops bust it up. That or it's sitting in every other souped-up Civic across Southern Ontario . . . and beyond. That's the power of The Cat, my friends.



 Steve Vai, Alien Love Secrets

Steve Vai

Alien Love Secrets


Holy shit, how much do I love this album cover? It's got everything a solid, esoteric alien album cover needs to have: some freaky broad (or dude? It's all very androgynous, much like, um aliens?), creepy-ass blue hands and a bizarre name. All said, it's damn well laid out and the contrast of blue imagery and green lettering really is aesthetically appealing. But Alien Love Secrets? What the? I'll be pondering what the fuck that's supposed to mean for the rest of the night, because that's more layered in meaning than an onion.



 Ian Hunter, All American Alien Boy

Ian Hunter

All-American Alien Boy


Ah, Ian Hunter, you sexy bastard, you. The All-American Alien Boy album cover is a great sample of the early ‘80s art-illustration covers (think Bob Seger, Loverboy, ZZ Top, Scorpions, etc.) that showed amazing detail and a distinctive modern-rock feel.  Ian Hunter's cover here doesn't have aliens, but the title got him in the ranking. As does the hair-sunglasses combo which is just out of this world (it was too easy, I had to write it).



Michael Jackson 

Michael Jackson



It's Michael Jackson. Self explanatory-just look at him. The theme and layout is just a bonus. I'm already re-visualizing that awesome video he did with Janet, you know, where they're in that squeaky-clean white spaceship, playing space ping-pong . . .



Spacehog, Resident Alien


Resident Alien


Now this one's creative. Like many of these covers, it's clear that the creator or band was going for some sort of double entendre, some deeper meaning or profundity that, maybe it's just me, is really pretty hilarious. Take Resident Alien-yes, you've got a faux license with some weird Japanamation character on it, and lots of reference to the United States of America. Do they mean space aliens or illegal aliens? The mystery lies with Spacehog.



 Peter and the Test tube Babies

Peter & The Test Tube Babies

Alien Pubduction

(Rock/Punk Revival)

I had to leave the best album cover for last. How badly do I wish I owned this (preferably on vinyl, so I could frame it and put it in my bathroom)? This is the crème de la crème of alien album covers: you’ve got it all: an amazing pun (Pubdication? Are you freakin’ kidding me? I’m still laughing), an alien drinking a pint and what I can only assume (having, I'll admit, never actually having heard the band) is some really insane punk music that sounds like such a parody it’s beyond comedic gold. I’m off to scour eBay for this precious gem . . .

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