“This is some amazing guitar work…” was the first thought I had when listening to Extreme’s Pornograffitti.
However, the album as a whole failed to blow me away. While the music was enjoyable at times, it eventually got on the verge of becoming overbearing and burdensome. At certain points, I just wanted the songs to end.
The album as a whole has an interesting arrangement of 80s rock, hair metal, heavy metal, and even some funk. The band’s guitarist, Nuno Bettencourt, really knows his way around a guitar. The sounds were exhilarating and the only part I consistently enjoyed across the album. Unfortunately, most of the other musical elements just didn’t hold up next to Bettencourt’s masterful and engaging riffs. It should be noted that Bettencourt also did the piano, keyboards, percussion, and backing vocals for Pornograffitti. Nevertheless, the drums and bass seemed irrelevant for most of the record. I was left wanting more with each song with no delivery.
The tracks I enjoyed the most were actually the less rock heavy ones. “More than Words,” When I first Kissed You,” and “Hole Hearted” were more acoustic in nature and delivered a more sentimental element from the band. With these songs I really enjoyed the vocals, and not coincidentally they all dealt with love. Gary Cherone really shines in these songs. Elsewhere the lyrics become non-sensical or at least slapstick of words referring sex and money, although this should come as no surprise given the name of the record.
Some of my favorite guitar parts where in “Pornograffitti,” “Hole Hearted,” and “Money.” I loved the riffs and speed and just the awesome edginess to it. The record was released in the year 1990 and you can definitely see the 80s influence on this band. However, the album became such an undistinguishable conglomerate of 80s rock style that I started to find myself bored by the album. The songs became repetitive and by “Suzi” I was already exhausted. I did enjoy “Decadence Dance.” It has this nice piano opening that transitioned into a pretty catchy song. However, it is the longest song on the album, and it too grew repetitive.
This album brings to light the idea that there is no I in band. No matter how good a guitarist or vocalist or drummer may be, they can’t make up for every other aspect of the band. I would have enjoyed listening to a guitar instrumental of this album, but that was not the intention with this record. Everyone has to do their part to make the music come to life and that did not happen with Extreme in Pornograffitti.
Overall rating: 2 and a half out of 5 stars
Full Disclaimer: This is just my opinion