The 10 Best Grunge Music Album Covers

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

From Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ to Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten,’ these are the best grunge music album covers of all time.

Nirvana – Nevermind

Nirvana’s Nevermind was released on September 24, 1991, and it would go on to become one of the most iconic and influential albums of the 1990s. The album’s artwork, designed by artist Robert Fisher, featured a baby swimming after a dollar bill on a fishhook. The image was meant to symbolize the band’s dissatisfaction with the music industry and society as a whole. Fisher’s artwork perfectly captured the mood of Nirvana’s music, and it helped make Nevermind one of the most iconic album covers of all time.

Alice in Chains – Dirt

Alice in Chains’ second album, Dirt, was released on September 29, 1992. The album has been deemed one of the most important albums of the grunge genre and one of the greatest albums of all time by multiple publications. The cover art, designed by AIC bassist Mike Inez, features a close up of a grave with the band’s name and the album title carved into the dirt. The dark and somber image is a fitting reflection of the album’s themes of addiction and despair.

Pearl Jam – Vs.

Pearl Jam’s sophomore album Vs. was released in October of 1993, and it would end up becoming the band’s best-selling album. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and it has been certified seven times platinum by the RIAA. The album artwork was designed by Eddie Vedder and Photographer Glen E. Friedman. The two photos on the front and back cover were taken during Pearl Jam’s tour in 1992.

Soundgarden – Superunknown

With an otherworldly painting by Josh Graham serving as the album’s artwork, Superunknown is the fourth studio album by American rock band Soundgarden. The album was released on March 8, 1994, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 310,000 copies in its first week. The album was nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

Stone Temple Pilots – Core

Stone Temple Pilots’ debut album, Core, remains one of the best grunge album covers ever made. Featuring a close-up of a human skull entangled in barbed wire, it perfectly encapsulated the dark and heavy sound of the band’s music.

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Grunge struck a nerve with the young people of the early 1990s because it was the perfect music for angsty teens. It was gritty and real, and the album covers reflected that. Here are 10 of the best grunge album covers.

1. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
2. Nirvana – Nevermind
3. Alice in Chains – Dirt
4. Pearl Jam – Vs.
5. Soundgarden – Superunknown
6. Stone Temple Pilots – Core
7. Screaming Trees – Sweet Oblivion
8. Mudhoney – Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
9. Melvins – Houdini
10. Hole – Live Through This

Green Day – Dookie

Dookie is the third studio album and the major label debut by Green Day, released on February 1, 1994 by Reprise Records. The album was a commercial success, selling over 10 million copies in the US alone and reaching double platinum status in the UK. It was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards and is widely considered to be one of the greatest punk albums of all time.

The album cover features a close-up of a dog’s bottom half, with its hind legs in the air and its testicles exposed. The dog is either dead or sleeping, and the owner (or possibly artist) has left a message written in feces on the ground next to it. The message reads “Green Day – Dookie”.

The album cover caused controversy upon its release, with many people finding it vulgar and offensive. In response to the criticism, Green Day released a statement saying that they didn’t intend to offend anyone and that they thought the cover was “cool”.

Offspring – Smash

Smash is the second studio album by American rock band The Offspring, released on April 8, 1994 by Epitaph Records. Along with Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten, Smash has been credited as one of the albums that brought alternative rock to the mainstream. It was a major commercial success, selling over six million copies in the United States and becoming the first punk rock album to achieve diamond status. The album is considered The Offspring’s most successful album. It was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1995.

The cover artwork features a fist with a number “#1” sign held up in front of a car crushed into a tree. This is supposed to be a commentary on how easily things can be destroyed.

Bush – Sixteen Stone

Few grunge album covers are more iconic than the one for Bush’s debut album, Sixteen Stone. Released in 1994, the album quickly went multi-platinum and established Bush as one of the biggest grunge bands of the 90s. The cover features a close-up of a stone statue with 16th century carvings. It’s simple but effective, and it perfectly captures the raw power of Bush’s music.

Foo Fighters – The Colour and the Shape

Foo Fighters’ second album features one of the most iconic and well-designed album covers of the 1990s. The image, created by photographer Kevin Gray, features a close-up of a toy gorilla clutching a pair of bloody red dice. The gorilla is set against a stark white background, making it appear even more gruesome and dramatic.

The album cover was so controversial that it was actually banned in some countries, but that only helped to make it more iconic. It perfectly encapsulates the band’s raw and powerful sound, making it one of the best grunge album covers of all time.

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