In 1990, when the grunge explosion was still a year off, few mainstream hard-rock bands sensed a cultural shift coming. One band that did was Extreme.
Based in Boston, they had much in common with the stars of hair metal. Their sound, while heavily influenced by funk, was pure arena rock. They had, in Nuno Bettencourt, a guitarist in the Eddie Van Halen mould. They were also very hairy.
But what they delivered in 1990, with their second album, was not just a kick-ass rock record but also a statement on American society: specifically, the greed and sexual exploitation that was so celebrated in 80s rock’n’roll.
Extreme II: Pornograffitti was, loosely, a concept album, its central themes laid out in song titles such as Money (In God We Trust) and He-Man Woman Hater.
It was, however, the route-one stuff that connected with a global audience. The simple love song, More Than Words, performed in an unplugged style, was a worldwide hit. And the cheekily titled Get The Funk Out became a party anthem.
The Deluxe Edition extras are nothing special: just remixes and B-sides. The album itself still holds up all of 25 years on: the one glorious triumph in Extreme’s career./o:p