The hair was big (and long), the hats aplenty and the album artwork aligned with all the stars in those days of fabulously outlandish graphics and fonts.
There was never a better (worse?) time to let your friend with a new computer and a deep knowledge of ClipArt to take a shot at album artwork. I mean, some of the graphics on the original floppy disk version of The Oregon Trail rival these covers. Harsh, but true.
21 Most ‘90s Country Music Album Covers of the ’90s:
1. Billy Ray Cyrus // Trail of Tears
First off, hard to believe someone let him name his album that. And second, that font looks like the rejected “Pirates of the Caribbean” font. And if pirates reject your font, you know it’s bad.
The faded Billy Ray on top of the map is a lot to process. And the opacity of the horse’s head is higher than BRC’s.
What a beautiful disaster.
2. Clint Black // The Hard Way
Someone saw the New Kids on the Block Hangin’ Tough album and got real inspired. They must’ve also been watching “Urban Cowboy.”
3. Tim McGraw // Not A Moment Too Soon
“Make it look like a faded out painting, but also like you’re looking at it through dirty glass.”
“Oh, add a stamp.”
“No, it doesn’t matter what kind of font the album name is in.”
4. Shania Twain
This is Shania Twain’s debut album– they wanted to scream from the mountains– “this lady is from Canada.” So, they did.
5. Reba // Read My Mind
These next three are from the “Dynasty” stage Music Row went through in the mid-’90s. Never mind that “Dynasty” went off the air in 1989, it was alive and well with Music City’s most successful women.
6. Wynonna // Tell My Why
7. Dolly Parton // Something Special
I hesitated to put two albums from the same group on this list, but these are truly fascinating. The first one is definitely playful, but what are those images? A bullet? An arrow?
The second one looks like someone won an art contest at a county fair. : (
9. Ricochet // Blink of An Eye
10. George Strait // Holding My Own
In 1992 George Strait was already The King and holding his own, so why someone asked him to pose like a toddler getting preschool portraits done is beyond me.
11. Randy Travis // High Lonesome
When you can’t agree with one vibe, just insert pieces of several ideas.
12. Lorrie Morgan // Shakin’ Things Up
Her name matches the dress pattern. Her name matches the dress pattern. Her name matches the dress pattern.
13. Neal McCoy // Where Forever Begins
Neal Coy? No, silly! Look over to the left, there’s an “Mc” right there totally doing work and looking like it’s supposed to be there.
This could double as a ’90s sitcom character intro, too.
14. Patty Loveless // When Fallen Angels Fly
There’s a lot to unpack here and I’m not talking about the theology behind the album’s name.
Is that a sheet? A window?
15. Diamond Rio
Sometimes, you gotta keep in mind that there’s a budget. When you need to come in under budget, just call Olan Mills.
16. Vince Gill // Let There Be Peace on Earth
There’s actual ClipArt on this thing! And probably some WordArt, too. Just look past the color-blocking and mullet.
17. Trisha Yearwood
If you look at it real fast you think you’re looking at a movie poster from “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
18. Clay Walker // If I Could Make a Living
Is this the ugliest shirt you’ve ever seen?
19. Alan Jackson // High Mileage
The confidence a man has to have in his team to let him pose in a sleeveless shirt for an album cover that will never die has to be high.
Like, high mileage.
20. Joe Diffie // Life’s So Funny
“What we’ll do is put three Joes on here to convey how funny life is.”
“Wait. Three?! Life is so funny, man.”
21. Brooks & Dunn // Hard Workin’ Man
As if committing to the large buttons on Ronnie’s shirt and flames on Kix’s shirt wasn’t enough, they just had to toss in that aztec line that just stops.