Extreme: III Sides to Every Story (Review)
Band Name: Extreme
Album Name: III Sides to Every Story
Members: Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger and Paul Geary
Release Date: September 22nd, 1992
Genre: Hard Rock, Funk Metal
Recently on my way to work, I stumbled upon this album. I hadn't listened to it in a very long time and it dawned on me that it was been 25 years since its release. I decided to listen to every track on my commute in order to see if it was as good as I remembered. I know that back when this album was released, not many of my friends listened to Extreme. It was the time of grunge and alternative rock. The hair bands of the 80's were starting to become a thing of the past. In fact many groups such as Warrant, Skid Row and Poison, changed their sound to make it sound less 80's. Although I never considered Extreme as a hair band, I can understand where people were coming from. Let us see if this album still holds up today.
The album title is play on the phrase, 2 sides to every story. III Sides of the Story in this case is, Yours, Mine, and the Truth. This album is considered one of their best albums and it is also considered by their fans as one of their most creative. This is a true concept album from song #1 to the last track. Below are the songs and sections on the album.
2."Rest in Peace" 6:02
4."Color Me Blind" 5:01
5."Cupid's Dead" 5:56
6."Peacemaker Die" 6:03
7."Seven Sundays" 4:18
8."Tragic Comic" 4:45
9."Our Father" 4:02
10."Stop the World" 5:58
11."God Isn't Dead?" 2:02
12."Don't Leave Me Alone" 5:43
13."Everything Under the Sun: I. Rise 'N Shine" 6:23
14."Everything Under the Sun: II. Am I Ever Gonna Change" 6:57
15."Everything Under the Sun: III. Who Cares?"
The first section Yours, talks more about politics, racial issues, and war. Basically it is common themes that we see in the world today. From this section, "Peacemaker Die", is one of my favourite songs and find that it is very relevant in regards to the times that we live in today. At first, from the title, you may think that it is a hate song. However, when you listen to the lyrics and understand them, you see that it is about someone that is confused. The phrase that summarizes the song very well is "Peacemaker die, I don't know why". This always stuck with me cause as a teenager, I could never understand how people can have so much hatred. It deals with racial matters and also features part of the Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream speech. This section is also the rockiest part of the album.
The second section deals with personal issues. It goes through different personal issues that one can go through such as in "Our Father" about a father that is leaving his family from the point of view of a younger kid. Tragic Comic is probably the lightest song on the album. It is about a hopeless romantic that can never get it right. It is a good break in an album which is mostly dealing serious topics.
The Truth is basically a masterpiece. Depending on the album purchased, some will have it as 3 tracks and others will have it as only 1. In the end it does not matter because it is a 22 minute awesome piece of music. Nuno Bettencourt arranged all of the string arrangements. The writing is very strong and the accompanying music goes perfect with it. The way that I interpret this opus is the following. "Rise 'N Shine" is the positivity of when you wake up. The song actually starts with a music box like when one is sleeping and then when the music starts, it is when the person wakes up. No matter how negative the world can get, there is always a silver lining.
The second part, "Am I Ever Gonna Change" is about one questioning about the choices that one makes and in being truthful in what we say and do. Throughout our everyday, we always try to be better, but sometimes we lie to ourselves to make ourselves feel better. Does it actually work? You can feel the pain in the voice of Gary Cherone.
The third part, "Who Cares" is like after a long days work, you get to reflect on your day. In the end, who does care about your problems and troubles, not many people. Then it ends with the music box which is fitting, if you think about going back to bed to start all over again the following day.
In addition to that the music is exceptional. It takes parts of rock, Progressive rock and classical and puts it together really nicely. Although all 3 songs are 22 minutes, it never feels that way to me. Every time, I am drawn in and go with the journey. I can never listen to just one track. I always have to listen to all three as they go so well together.
The Truth (Complete 3rd Part)
This album is very underrated and I believe victim of the success of the previous album. It does not have a radio friendly "More than Words" type song. People were expecting something that this album is not. For those who stuck with this album, they were rewarded. It is very possible that people bought the album and did not like it. Then picked up again a few years later and fell in love with it. Do not get me wrong, the topics are strong and the music is very good. However airwaves want the love songs and easy on the ears music. This is not that type of album.
Gary Cherone's voice is very powerful. Especially on tracks like "Who Cares" and "Isn't God Dead".
Nuno's guitar playing and producing abilities really shone throughout this album. Pat Badger which was always a silent partner in this group played a great solo in "Cupid's Dead". Every player peaked on this album as it comes through the quality of the music and lyrics.
I am not sure if an album like this would ever come out on top today. Music today is consumed differently. it is the ear worm more than the quality of the music. Although sales for this album has never been that high, it is a favourite amongst the fans of the group. Hopefully, people will discover it and will take the time to truly enjoy the artistry of the album.
To answer the question in my intro, does this album hold up after all these years? Yes, and if it is possible is even more relevant today then it was back then. It is one of those albums in my collection that I can always listen to and never get tired of it. I do know that not everyone feels that way about this album. However I challenge you to listen to this album just once and judge for yourself.
Rating: 10 Nuno solos out of 10
What do you think? Did you ever listen to this album? Did you like it or hate it? Let us know at the coordinates below.
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