EXTREME — Extreme II: Pornograffitti

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EXTREME - Extreme II: Pornograffitti cover
3.95 | 38 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Funk Metal


1. Decadence Dance (6:49)
2. Li'l Jack Horny (4:51)
3. When I'm President (4:21)
4. Get The Funk Out (4:24)
5. More Than Words (5:34)
6. Money (In God We Trust) (4:11)
7. It ('s A Monster) (4:24)
8. Pornograffitti (6:16)
9. When I First Kissed You (4:00)
10. Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?) (3:38)
11. He-Man Woman Hater (6:20)
12. Song For Love (5:55)
13. Hole Hearted (3:39)

Total Time 64:26


- Gary Cherone / lead vocals
- Nuno Bettencourt / lead guitar, harmony vocals, backing vocals
- Pat Badger / bass, backing vocals
- Paul Geary / drums, percussion

About this release

Released by A&M.

Thanks to negoba, Lynx33, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
After catching the attention of the metal scene with their eponymous debut mostly due to the guitar wizardry antics of Nuno Bettencourt as well as the childhood themed syncopated funky metal sound that even got the track “Play With Me” included in a couple films including “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, EXTREME rode the momentum and cranked out their second album EXTREME II: PORNOGRAFFITTI which technically is followed by (A FUNKED UP FAIRY TALE) but absolutely nobody including me knew that it was the case and seems a little excessive actually. The band found huge success with this album as it cashed in just before the total collapse of the glam metal scene that was increasingly becoming more cheesy pop than metal. PORNOGRAFFITTI is no exception to that trend however EXTREME carried out the marriage of glam metal and cheesy pop with more sophistication than say Poison, Warrant or other kitschy purveyors of cheese of the day. Add to that the funk infused compositions and they were ready for primetime.

Nuno Bettencourt was a bona fide guitar hero of the day with technical chops so bold and daring that he was admitted into the big boys club that included the neoclassical greats such as Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteem and Steve Vai. His sophisticated riffing and soloing sequences were the wet dreams of guitarists of the day and he was admittedly brilliant in juxtaposing extreme speed and seemingly improvised techniques into some of the catchiest pop infused melodies in all of 80s metal. On the pop metal side of the equation, the band wrote some incredibly catchy funk metal tunes with addictive multi-part harmonies and ear worm quality melodies that the public ate up which catapulted the album all the way to the #10 position on the Billboard charts and earning them a double platinum release.

To say the least, PORNOGRAFFITTI is quite a diverse release however the tracks basically fall into two categories. The heavy funk metal rockers that display the assiduous riffing with funky syncopation and include extraordinary complex soloing and then… there are the others. The remaining tracks are softer, sweeter and more pop oriented. These tracks include the huge #1 hit “More Than Words” which was basically a duet between vocalist Gary Cherone and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt playing on an acoustic guitar. The track was so friggin’ popular during the day that it created a very unique situation in all of metal history that had 80 year old grandmothers lining up at record stores to buy a mostly metal album based upon the one song that touched them like grandpa never did! They most likely assumed that this was some new version of Simon & Garfunkel which led record store employees to have to convince them to buy the single rather than the album!

The followup single “Hole Hearted” was also a huge hit peaking at #4 on the charts. While also an acoustic number, this one sounded more like Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit” as it was based on a 12 string guitar with an upbeat mid-tempo stomp sort of groove. Also on the album is a totally left-field turn in the form of “When I First Kissed You” which is a cheesy synthesized Frank Sinatra type of tune that showcases Cherone’s gift for crooning. Given that these mellower pop tracks were so popular makes me realize that Cherone was actually a better crooner on ballads than heavy rock vocalist because when he rocks out he sounds a lot like Paul Stanley of KISS while on ballads like this he displays more sophisticated subtleties. Sometimes on the heavier tracks his vocals just didn’t fit the bill but he always got the job done.

Lyrically speaking, the band utilized the same sort of childhood fantasies laced with nursery rhymes as heard on the debut such as on tracks like “Li’l Jack Horny” and “When I’m President” but on PORNOGRAFFITTI they also developed a sense of political satire as heard in the title track, “Get The Funk Out,” “Money (in God We Trust)” and “He-Man Woman Hater,” the latter of which opens with an outstanding display of Bettencourt’s sizzling guitar playing virtuosity before breaking into the main song. Some of the tracks are head scratchers like the lyrically WTF moment on “Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)” which are the lyrics followed by “Suzie wants her all day sucker.” Perhaps the biggest cheesefest on the album comes in the form of “Song For Love” which is a rather hilarious sort of kumbaya moment where hippie ideals unite with sunshine pop embellished with metal backings. Pretty funny but amazingly addictive at the same time!

PORNOGRAFFITTI portended quite a few trends in the music scene that were about to unfold. Firstly, this album was perhaps the death knell for the glam metal world that was about to get dethroned by the grunge scene once Nirvana’s “Nevermind” hit the market. While glam metal of the 80s started out with a raw and gritty sound as heard on Motley Crue’s earliest albums, throughout the MTV years it continued to get more and more infused with cheesy pop hooks and uninspired ballads that eroded its credibility. While bands like W.A.S.P. and Guns N Roses gave it some sense of legitimacy, EXTREME’s “More Than Words” went the final step and completely eliminated any trace of hard rock or metal altogether resulting in nothing but a Simon & Garfunkel sing along type of guitar and vocal piece. While well performed, it didn’t exactly sit well with metalheads of the day.

Secondly, the funk metal scene and genre mixing would catch on with the ultimate culmination resulting in Mr. Bungle’s debut album the following year. While EXTREME may have been on to something as they saw the signs of a burgeoning alternative approach to metal brewing all around them, unfortunately they latched on to the most loathed aspects of the glam metal scene which would be their ultimate undoing. Personally, despite the negatives of PORNOGRAFFITTI, i actually find the compositions to be brilliant and the lyrics, while cheesy much of the time, are lighthearted and don’t irritate me like they seem to do to others. Perhaps the only problem i have with PORNOGRAFFITTI is that EXTREME are trying too hard to be too many different things and haven’t quite found their unique signature sound as they would on the followup “III Sides To Every Story.” Still though, this is a fun little spin that i’ve listened to a ridiculous number of times. While the production of the original is a little sucky, the newer remastered version makes up for it and possible the one to check out.
Extreme come at the whole funk metal prospect from a glam rock background, and as such it's rather poppier than much similar material of the era. Primus may have been "Sailing the Seas of Cheese", but this is cheesier by far than their material, and flirts regularly with reverting into full-on glam metal. For those who don't mind the more pop-metal styles of the 1980s, it's a blast, and there's certainly some wit shown in the lyrics. The Van Halen-esque guitar heroics add a bit of technical prowess to proceedings which at least helps steer things away from the most vapid and insipid excesses of the glam metal era.
Decadancing to one of Glam's Best

I picked up Extreme's Pornograffiti at the urging of Guitar magazine like many albums before, and at the time thought I'd found the best album I'd ever heard. It was that good. Along with a huge dose of phenomenal guitar playing was some of the best songwriting ever to find itself into glam. The whole album is a commentary on the already cliched scene into which the band was catching the tail.

But a sharp wit and some intelligence would never have been enough. 1990 was smack in the middle of the age of the guitar, and Nuno Bettencourt was the wunderkind of the moment after Extreme's debut and the tapping extravaganza on "Mutha Don't Want to Go to School Today." On Pornograffiti, he not only lives up to his shredder rep, but sings harmony, grooves, and basically adds music to a genre that was running on fumes even before grunge put it out of its misery.

Getting "More than Words" out of the way, I must mention that this song was much better than probably any other glam power ballad save perhaps "Wanted: Dead or Alive." The finger plucked acoustic was a huge step forward from the mindless G-C strumming that had become the norm, and on the album we even got a little clean tapping extravaganza to finish things off. Similarly, the acoustic rocker "Hole Hearted" took the unplugged formula and pushed it. Interestingly, though I bought the album to listen to guitar solos, that is fairly far down the list in reasons I admire it now. That is not say that the solos are poor. In fact, they are example of the hottest gun at the peak of the shred movement. The fact that the music bests the wankery is a testament to the band, album, and artist.

The thing that blew me away from the beginning, however, was Nuno's tone. It was friggin' huge. Sizzling with harmonics, double tracked and thick, the entire album sounded fresh and powerful. The long build to "Decadence Dance" was a tasty appetizer before the great riff and perfect hook. To this day, this may be my favorite hair metal rocker ever. At the same time, the band is easing us into the theme, which is of course slamming the sleaze sex that had become part and parcel of bands who tried to look like the bimbos they were hoping to land.

At the time, the band was proud to be infusing a little funk into their metal. It wasn't the first time, but was perhaps the first album to push the sound start to finish. While Faith No More's Real Thing would be hitting at the same time, the move got a bit overshadowed. But songs like "Get the Funk Out," "Pornograffiti," and "He-Man Woman Hater" were great rockers with plenty of syncopation.

Almost 500 words to say...metal masterpiece. I knew from the first time I heard the first song. And 20 years later my opinion hasn't changed.
Funny how many people didn't even know how Extreme really sounds because they're overshadowed by their own romanticoustic love song, "More Than Words", but you need to explore the undeniably infinite musical capacity of the quartet, especially the thunderous fingerpicking by the guitargod, Nuno Bettencourt.

"Decadence Dance", for example, showed an enthusiastic groove with hot-blooded guitar shred and anthemic chorus. "Get The Funk Out" is an inviting performance with perfectly executed rhythm. "Hole Hearted" is an instant radio hit classic. Other songs such as "When I First Kissed You" and "It's A Monster" are madly awesome as well. A strong and probably their best release!

Members reviews

This album is EXTREME, quite literally, and at its very best.

If you have never heard of the band Extreme, then you have never heard of the man named Nuno Bettencourt, and that is just plain blasphemy. Nuno Bettencourt is nothing short of a guitar prodigy, and he definitely likes to show off. With the technical mastery of Michael Angelo Batio, the funkiness of Greg Howe, and the sensibility of Satch, this album revolves around Bettencourt, and that is a very good thing.

As for everyone else, top notch. Gary Cherone is a great singer, and his unique style fits perfectly together with Bettencourt's angular playing.

Every song is my favorite. 5 stars!

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