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Extreme – Extreme [1989]

Extreme was a fresh, exciting, and talented band that arrived on the scene at the tail end of the eighties. As much as any band, Extreme deserved to survive the cultural sea change that killed almost all of the bands of their ilk in the nineties. Unfortunately, Extreme didn’t make it to the new millennium intact.

Extreme’s debut album may sport a shitty-ass cover (nice shirt Gary!) but the music inside is a roller coaster ride of axe pyrotechnics and sing-along hooks. Nuno Bettencourt was one of the best guitar talents to come along in the late eighties (maybe THE best). Like Eddie Van Halen or Vito Bratta, Nuno’s rhythm guitar tracks alone were enough to electrify the ears. Tons of tasty flourishes, nasty squeals, and creative licks peppered his rhythm tracks. And the solos? Perfection of course. Nuno also provided backing vocals and harmony vocals to beef up the excellent work of lead vocalist Gary Cherone. My favorite track is probably Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today) which features some mammoth riffing (in the Eddie Van Halen style) and an unforgettable chorus.

Other highlights include Teacher’s Pet, Big Boys Don’t Cry, and Play With Me (a song famously used in Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure). Lyrically, Extreme is a loose concept album of sorts, because almost all the songs are centered around childhood. The song Little Girls is a little creepy though, because as far as I can tell it is about statutory rape! Anywayz, this album is a really strong beginning for Extreme. Of course, Extreme’s second album, Pornograffitti (1990), was even better!

Band Members
Gary Cherone – Lead/Backing Vocals
Nuno Bettencourt – Guitars, Piano, Percussion, Synth, Vocals
Pat Badger – Bass, Vocals
Paul Geary – Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Tracks
01. Little Girls (3:45)
02. Wind Me Up (3:35)
03. Kid Ego (4:02)
04. Watching Waiting (4:54)
05. Mutha [Don’t Wanna Go To School Today] (4:49)
06. Teacher’s Pet (3:01)
07. Big Boys Don’t Cry (3:34)
08. Smoke Signals (4:13)
09. Flesh ‘N’ Blood (3:30)
10. Rock A Bye Bye (5:56)
11. Play With Me (3:38)

Jeff from Play it Loud

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