by Matt Karpe
– Senior Columnist —
Extreme, one of the later arrivals on the hair metal scene, are the latest to receive the anniversary re-release treatment, for their second album Pornograffitti.
By the time the album hit the shelves in 1990, a little thing called grunge was starting to take off, but this cult classic gained rave reviews upon its release and now, 25 years on, a double disc reissue wets the appetite once again.
From the piano intro that makes way for muscular guitar riffs, “Decadence Dance” is a rasping opener. The typical (for this era) use of backing vocals work well on a strong opening chorus and the bluesy chord progressions from the guitar of Nuno Bettencourt excel.
In fact, Bettencourt’s contribution on Pornograffitti is so vital, he won the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award in 1991 from Guitar World. His endless number of riffs are at times genius, and this is virtually a guitar masterclass.
The groovy jazz influenced “Lil’ Jack Horny” follows, before the lyrically political “When I’m President” features excellent solos and gives a raucous rock feel. The brilliant “Get The Funk Out,” full of attitude with an anti-censorship theme is a hard rock classic, again made special by Bettencourt’s quality axe playing.
The biggest hits from the record are in the form of slow meandering ballads. “More Than Words” finds Gary Cherone in softer and harmonious vocal form, singing over a simple acoustic guitar tune. “Hole Hearted” is similar in style, with a relaxed feel to proceedings.
The superb “He-Man Woman Hater” steals the show with a mesmerizing guitar solo to begin with, before the infectious verses and raunchy choruses make this a ‘go to’ track.
“Money (In God We Trust)” and “It(‘s A Monster)” are more decent rockers.
Pornograffitti’s bonus disc features B-sides, edits and remixes and in truth, it’s a little hit and miss. The two B-sides – the sleazy Skid Row-like “No Place To Visit” and the generic 80s’ hair metal of “Sex N’ Love” are decent additions, but the rest is fairly tedious unless you are an ‘extreme’ Extreme fan.
Out of the ten tracks there are staggeringly FOUR different versions of “More Than Words,” including an acapella form. If you aren’t too keen on the original (like a certain someone whose words you are reading), then the skip button may get used quite a lot here. There is a good 7” mix of “Get The Funk Out,” although the 12” remix, which adds a further three minutes to the original four plus seems a little excessive.
So is the reissue worth buying?
The original album is worth it alone, for the guitar artistry and the stomping glam metal on show. The second disc has a few decent moments but it may end up being left in the CD case as it is only worth the occasional listen.
Some consider Pornograffitti to be one of the last great hair metal records, before the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam took rock music in a different direction. This statement could be valid because after Pornograffitti, Extreme were never quite the same again, and neither was hair metal.
Genre: Glam, Hair Metal, Hard Rock
Gary Cherone- Vocals
Nuno Bettencourt- Guitars
Pat Badger- Bass
Paul Geary- Drums
1. Decadence Dance
2. Lil’ Jack Horny
3. When I’m President
4. Get The Funk Out
5. More Than Words
6. Money (In God We Trust)
7. It(‘s A Monster)
9. When I First Kissed You
10. Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)
11. He-Man Woman Hater
12. Song For Love
13. Hole Hearted
1. More Than Words (Remix)
2. No Place To Visit (Single B-Side)
3. More Than Words (Edit)
4. Decadence Dance (Edit)
5. Money (In God We Trust) (Edit)
6. More Than Words (Acapella) (B-Side)
7. Get The Funk Out (7” What The Funk? Mix
8. More Than Words (A Capella With Congas) (B-Side)
9. Get The Funk Out (12” Remix) (Extended Version)
10. Sex N’ Love (Single B-Side)
Record Label: A&M
Hardrock Haven Rating: 7/10