Extreme: Extreme (1989)
Band Name: Extreme
Pat Badger )bass guitar, backing vocals), Nuno Bettencourt (guitar, synthesizer, piano, backing vocals, percussion, orchestration, mixing), Gary Cherone (lead & backing vocals, design, logo design) and Paul Geary (drums, percussion, backing vocals, logo design)
Album Release Date: March 14, 1989
A few years ago, I reviewed one of the best concept albums of all time in Extreme: III Sides to Every Story. To this day I listen to that album and I can never get enough it. The themes on that album are still relevant to this day. However, every band has to start somewhere and I wanted to review their very first album.
The band is mostly known for the super ballad, More than Words from their second album Extreme II: Pornograffitti .
The track listing is nothing to run home about. It is not a concept album.
Wind Me Up
Mutha (Don't Wanna Go to School Today)
Big Boys Don't Cry
Flesh 'n' Blood
Rock a Bye Bye
Play with Me
Extreme - Play with Me
When you listen to the album quickly, it is easy to brush this album off as another long haired band from the Glam Rock era, trying to take their place on the charts. However, when you listen to the album carefully, there are hints of what Extreme was known for and what fans have grown to love for years.
There are many songs that relate to when one is in school. This is evident in Mutha (Don't Wanna Go to School Today) and Teacher's Pet. I personally really like the melody of Mutha. Even as an adult, on a nice summer day, you look outside the office windows and you want to play outside.
There are a few songs that I do not think that they would be on any albums nowadays. Not because they are bad musically but due to the sketchy lyrics. Let us take Little Girls for example. It is a song about liking a younger girl. However, the way the song is written it could be interpreted in a negative way.
You might think she's too young for me (Little girls) You know I always say you're as young as you feel (As you feel) Yeah, I might be crazy 'cause I like them so young (Little girls) But with little girls the best is yet to come come (Yet to come)
Personally I do not think that this is a good song and it is not a song that people will particularly remember. I am sure that the song was written in good fun and also remember this was written in another time. Just in today's world, I am not sure that this song would not be very well received on the airwaves.
However, once you get through the songs that could make you cringe, there are hints of amazing songs that make you think that there is more to this band than sex, drugs and rock 'n roll.
One thing that sticks out are the vocals. Extreme always had a great chemistry in terms of harmonies on songs. I always thought of them initially as a more modern version of Def Leppard. This is especially evident on the song Rock a Bye Bye.
One of the best songs of the album that does include great music and harmonies is Watching, Waiting. I think that this song in particular is the Extreme sound. It has harmonies, great music and it is also well written.
Extreme: Watching, Waiting
I think that the only problem with the song is the recording quality. You can see that they were very young and probably were not given much to work with in terms of recording equipment and it shows. I think this is something that plagues the whole album. There is way too much treble and sometimes it sounds like they are recording out of a beer bottle.
On this album there was one song that was featured in a little movie called Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. The song is called Play with Me. The guitar riff at the beginning of the song is from Mozart's Alla Turca: Allegretto in A minor and it sounds amazing.
In short, I do not think that it is one of their strongest efforts. It is a very uneven album. It is not their worst but it is close to the bottom. If you want to get the best songs from this entry, just get the Greatest Hits package. It will have all the songs that are good on this album.
What do you guys think? Am I off the mark? Let us know below.