Extreme has been around since 1985, but there debut album didn’t come out until 1989 and that one wasn’t as successful. However, their second album ‘Pornograffitti’ took them to the next level and brought them in to the mainstream. It was that album that I became a fan and it was through the song “More Than Words” that introduced me to the band. That song was nothing like the rest of the album and thank goodness. What I found on their records was a much more interesting band.
Extreme had an intelligence to their music and lyrics. For the first couple of albums, there was a childlike whimsy to the lyrics, but musically they were heads and shoulders above everyone else. They were lumped in to the Hair Band genre which was unfair as they weren’t anything like those bands. What I also loved about them is their use of Portmanteau. They way they would meld two words together to make a new one. They did this on all but one album…you have Pornograffitti, Politicalamity, Evilangelist and Americocaine. These songs always tackled a very serious topic in a very intelligent way.
The band broke up between 1996 and 2004, but thankfully got back together. They have only released 5 albums to date which is way too few. We need more. Until then, we will rank their 5 albums from the Worst to the First. I hope you enjoy.
WORST – SUADADES DE ROCK (2008):
If this is the band’s worst album, then dang, the rest must be incredible because this is a really great album. So why is it at the bottom? I will tell you. First, I have only had 10 years with this album and the rest I have had 25-30 years. Second, there are more tracks I didn’t like on this one then the others. Simple enough. I didn’t like the opening track “Stars” for starters and a few others, plus I actually had a few issues with Gary Cherone’s vocals. They weren’t as crisp as before. Musically though, this thing is great.
I really dig the songs “Comfortably Dumb”, “King of the Ladies”, “Take us Alive” and “Run”. I even liked the song “Ghost”, I don’t want to forget that one. When the songs worked, they worked great. When they didn’t, well I skipped right over. Never a good thing. Still, a fantastic release.
#4 – EXTREME (1989):
Man, what a debut. This was probably their most straightforward rocker. It is nothing like the rest. They had a childhood theme as a lot of the songs and references were based on childhood themes and it was all a little whimsical. With songs like “Little Girl”, “Kid Ego”, “Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today)”, “Teacher’s Pet”, “Big Boys Don’t Cry”, “Rock a Bye, Bye” and “Play With Me” they really played on the kid theme.
There were only a couple songs I didn’t like and they were “Watching, Waiting”, “Smoke Signals” and “Flesh N Blood”. The rest, yeah, they were pretty great. The best being “Kid Ego” and I really dug the lullaby song “Rock a Bye Bye”. But the best thing was it was a solid rock & roll album and Nuno’s guitar work, yeah, that kid can play.
#3 – WAITING FOR THE PUNCHLINE (1995):
This is where it gets hard for me. I could flip these top 3 albums around at any time. They are all that good. The only reason this ended at three as there are two songs I don’t care for which were “Shadow Boxing” and “Unconditionally”. Outside of that it rocks out.
It is a very cynical look at the world and the themes are pretty dark at times, but this was 1995 and bands were going darker. Songs like “There is No God”, “Evilangelist” said a lot that a lot of people were feeling. I really loved “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”, “No Respect” and “Leave Me Alone” and they were probably my favorites. What also makes this one a great one is the instrumental “Midnight Express” which really highlighted Nuno’s stunning guitar playing. The man can play…did I mention that!!.
#2 – EXTREME II: PORNOGRAFFITTI (1990):
The album that really broke the band and is not actually their best (depends on the day). The hits off this one were “More Than Words” and “Hole Hearted” which were not indicative of the rest of the album. However, “More Than Words” is really a great song. People looked at it as a love song, but in today’s #MeToo movement…is it really? It is the guy saying, if you really loved me, you would sleep with me…the psychological pressure guys put on girls. Awesome!
The opening track “Decadence Dance” and “Get The Funk Out” were some rocking tunes. Hard and heavy and got this thing moving. They continued some of that childish themes in this one but in a more dirty way with “Lil Jack Horny” and “Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)”. They had a couple other slow songs that were really great including “Song for Love” and the jazzy “When I First Kissed You”. A great variety and for me a heck of an introduction to the band.
#1 – III SIDES TO EVERY STORY (1992):
Their 3rd album was more of a concept album. It was broken up in to the 3 sides of every story…yours, mine and the truth. Yours was the heavier more political side with songs about War, the government, racism, the media and a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Side 2 was a little softer side and more introspective where Side 3 was more progressive rock and took a more religious tone. The blend of the three make for a pretty intriguing album.
The best songs on the album were “Rest In Peace”, “Stop the World”, “Peacemaker Die” and the 2nd part of the three part final song “Am I Ever Gonna Change”. Maybe those are my favorites and not the best because you can’t leave out “Color Me Blind”, “Cupid’s Dead” and the fantastic “Tragic Comic”. Really, there is no wrong with this thing. This is an album that shows they were not your typical band to come out of the 80’s (well, very late 80’s). There was so much more substance to them along with the fact they could rock out.
And there you have it, the Extreme studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!