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The artwork shows a woman, looks like a housewife, hanging her laundry on a clothesline that twists and turns into the distance.

But the laundry isn't clothes, it's babies. Now don't instantly jump to the wrong idea. The babies are smiling with no harsh violence done to them at all, although I suppose you could call being hung by your toes with a clothespin a form of violence.

Yes, the image is kind of disturbing in a well-that's-kind-of-cool way, and I'm pretty sure that's what Megadeth, the hard-rock band that uses this image on the cover of album "Youthanasia," was planning.

Back in the day when music came inside 12- by 12-inch LP covers and dinosaurs roamed the earth, an eye-catching cover could be the difference between a sale and sitting in the racks forever. Sometimes the cover was better than the music inside. Sometimes, though, bad covers hid good music. A few come to mind.

some text Shawn Ryan

» Queen, "Sheer Heart Attack": I'm a huge fan of Queen, but I don't need to see them all sweaty and lying in a pile.

» Montrose, "Jump on It": The band hated the cover and deservedly so. The record label thought it was a clever visual to go along with the title. They were wrong.

» Barenaked Ladies, "Barenaked Ladies Are Me" and "Barenaked Ladies Are Men": The band had so much material that it released these two as companion albums at the same time in 2007. The covers are a jumbled mess of images, almost like giving a kindergartner a blank piece of paper, crayons, old magazines for tearing up and telling him to "make something."

» Billy Joel, "Piano Man": With Joel's dull, googly eyes and the overall fuzziness of the image, the straight-on portrait of Joel is unnerving, not inviting. He kind of looks like an alien.

» Whitesnake, "Ready an' Willing": Recorded in 1979, long before Whitesnake turned into a hair-metal band for the oh-so-cleverly-titled "Whitesnake" in 1987, the cover is just a silver and black and white shot of the band. Boring.

» Tonio K, "Romeo Unchained": What do an iron, a mannequin, a well-dressed lady and a dog wearing sunglasses have in common? I don't know either.

» AC/DC. "If You Want Blood": Don't really want it.

I've had a few friends mention the Beatles' "White Album," officially titled "The Beatles." I see their point, but I just can't go there. The cover is so iconic it raises itself above the pack. But that may just be my love for the Beatles skewing my opinion.

Contact Shawn Ryan at mshawnryan@gmail.com.

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