If you spy an image of something to eat on album artwork, chances are it’s symbolizing anything but food. Sex, juvenile humor, or the commercialism rampant in modern society? With album artwork, rarely does food simply look delicious. Album covers are not giving the food stylists at Bon Appétit a run for their money.
Raw meat, hunks of butchered animals, or processed uncomfortably out of context are often stand-ins for a cheeky barbarianism that’s been pod and parcel to rock music from the get-go: NOT FOR PARENTS OR SQUARES, they broadcast.
Sometimes it’s not about a mind-fuck, but a fuck of another kind. There’s a big link between depictions of women’s sexuality and sugar or candy (think Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream or Madonna’s Hard Candy), but we don’t see scantily-clad men sweetened up too much—though I’m sure such examples exist somewhere, and I’m sure they are gross. But to be fair, no one smears food all over a naked body to be tasteful.
Every now and then, we see food featured in album artwork simply because it’s significant to the musician. Not because of sex or a political statement or clever graphic design, but because they dig eating it. Whatever the case, here are some examples—both totally obvious and somewhat obscure—of edibles prominently featured in album art.
Sara Bir is Paste’s food editor.
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The Beatles - Yesterday and Today
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Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
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The Posies - Frosting on the Beater
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Hot R.S. - Forbidden Fruit
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Shonen Knife - Get the Wow
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Guns N' Roses - The Spaghetti Incident?
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Jimmy Smith - Home Cookin'
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Hoodoo Gurus - Electric Soup: The Singles Collection
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Leroy Holmes - Hawaii with a Bongo Beat
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The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed