Saturday, 31 March 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #123 - Extreme, "Extreme II - Pornograffiti"

One for the missus and another challenge to the frightened, little snob that lurks within my proud brow. I hated hair metal with a fiery passion, my friends. When Nirvana swept all those hair-spray-obsessed, sexually-successful, velvet-dope-partying fucknuggets into the sea, I was the happiest lad in the junior common room.

"Trying so hard to keep up with the Joneses" it starts on "Decadence Dance" while all the metallic squeals and dancing fingers fill out the signature raawwkkk business underneath. Conscious metal? Was there ever such a thing? It's not Gang of Four; but it's sort of not not Gang of Four either, if you catch my think. But then 1990 was not 1987 in anyone's book. Years - what the fuck mean years anyway?! I'm collapsing under the flimsy weight of signifiers.

Should I read too much into the Catholic subtext of "Mama says boys will be boys/Little Jack Horny", seeing as they were Portuguese Americans or something. "When I'm President" has a bit of horribly-aged rap-metal crossover abortion that Living Color and Red Hot Chili Peppers were better at and were still shit. I don't know what the technical term for that Bill & Ted's overamplified squealing guitar production is; but this album is thick with it. Was it something Van Halen invented? *Shrugs*

"Get the Funk Out" also falls into that Chilli area. Except the punning title which belongs in the worst Def Leppard/Chuckle Brothers circle of wordplay Hell. Brass instruments, all very cheerful. I can see why the missus liked it in particular. Then "More Than Words", which she didn't, and which I feel obliged to listen to through gritted ears out of some sense of a complete experience. Balls of cheese crashing in through the outer atmosphere, threatening the planet with great tsunamis of vom. I always, ALWAYS hated the "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" token slow-dance track for the fucking ladies that these poodle clowns would crank out. Even if there's a hint of fado and neat harmonies, they can still get themselves to High Fuck.

"Money (In God We Trust)" could almost be Pearl Jam (to my uncultured ears). I approve of the unusual punctuation of "It ('s a Monster)", but I don't quite understand what is a monster. "Pornograffiti" is another mass of portentous funk, a genre of my own curation. More of that there cartoon social commentary; but it beats singing about tits and that. (Or does it?) These boys are even more Catholic than I thought. (If they were straight-edge Pentecostal types, the guitars wouldn't sound so sleazy.)

"I was shaking/You were breathtaking/Like the Empire State" he croons on "When I First Kissed You", fingers snapping silently - "Not quite Sinatra" (no, not quite) - over a Bugsy Malone jazz background on nasty synths. Misguided. Following that crud, the traditional misogyny finally surfaces on "Suzy", explaining how she "wants an all-day sucker" before a strangely splay-fingered solo moves things into a stranger direction. Perhaps I was looking for the lady-hating a little to hard, as next up is...

The Holy Grail that Lw held up as something different: "He-Man Woman Hater". It starts with a fly noise and then some very intricate guitar work, all very trebly with tiny hi-hats. Then a voice croaks "No woman allowed". She sold it to me on the basis that it was a critical reading of metal in that the genre demanded misogyny, but all I hear is "Sooner or later/You'll be a He-Man Woman Hater/It's inevitable/And to become them/You've got to really hate to love them." It's not clear whether this is a result of industry expectations, or maybe something else: "He-man's behaviour doesn't need no explanation/We've all got a one track mind/He-man have always had a sexual preoccupation" - it's that Catholic thing AGAIN?! It must've been hard to be Catholic rockers back in them Eighties there. With all the Protestant kids enjoying guilt-free sex and drugs and rock and church roof renovations.

"Song for Love" is Eurovision balls with descendent chords and swirling strings. For singalongs in Moldovan pubs. A kids' cartoon theme tune. "Hole Hearted" is better. Sounds like it could've been in the Young Guns soundtrack.So it puts me in mind of scruffy cowboy types and sub-Peckinpah shootouts. I like that.

Where did the invisible colon disappear to on "Extreme II" anyway? And doesn't the guy on the left of the picture, almost certainly the bassist, look like Andreas Villas-Boas?

Far less hateful than the clown clones like Poison and Motley Crue and all that Hollywood anti-music jizz. But I'm still very glad Kurt and Francis and the Seattle lads came and kicked them to touch.

Rating: Dressed Like Gypsy Douches out of Catholic Guilt

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