1990 may well have been the start of a new decade for the all-conquering rock scene of the time, but it also marked the beginning of the end for that particular period. This was a simpler time, when Kerrang! was readable from cover to cover, before Metallica brought out “The Black Album”, before Nirvana took over with “Nevermind” and a time when people were wondering when Guns N’ Roses‘ follow up to “Appetite For Destruction” would be coming out (yep, they were delaying albums long before “Chinese Democracy”). Boston-based quartet Extreme had already built up a solid fan base with their self-titled debut album but it was their sophomore release “Pornograffiti” that saw them explode into the mainstream in a way that doesn’t happen anymore, turning them into global superstars.
This 13-track “funked up fairy tale” has ben re-released as a 2-CD set which features the original album as well as a bonus disc of alternate versions, remixes and edits from the various singles that came from the album. As far as “Pornograffiti” goes there isn’t much you can really say about it that hasn’t already been said. Just over an hour of classic hard rock, rebellious (but not too sweary) lyrics, funky interludes – including guitarist Nuno Bettencourt’s frankly ridiculous ‘Flight Of The Wounded Bumble Bee’ as an intro to ‘He Man Woman Hater’ – and, of course, huge acoustic ballads. Massive hits such as ‘More Than Words’, ‘Hole Hearted’ and ‘Get The Funk Out’ helped cement their rapid rise. A great album, that still sounds as good as ever.
The second CD brings together a lot of b-sides and bonus material that unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to the quality of the other disc. It reminds me of the old singles I used to pick up where there was often little or no new material offered. While this may have been forgivable back in the day when theses were new songs, is there really any need for five versions of ‘More Than Words’? That’s nearly a quarter of the whole deluxe edition when you add the original version on disc one! The remixes of ‘Get The Funk Out’ do sound a bit dated now I guess, but they still sound pretty good to me.
Overall, it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Some live tracks would have been good, or maybe a DVD instead, but the lack of excitement for the second disc doesn’t take anything away from just how good “Pornograffiti” is. They continued to row after its release, featuring high up festival bills and making an attention-grabbing appearance at the Freddie Mercury tribute gig before it all seemed to die down as fast as it appeared. Unfortunately, the UK dates to coincide with the album’s anniversary happened before this new version was released. Maybe they will come back over again but this re-release is a great nostalgia trip for a lot of us while we wait to see if they do.