Extreme – More than Words

First Hit #1: June 8, 1991

Plenty of rock bands had hits by going ballad. Extreme took the practice to the, er, extreme, by getting a ballad that doesn’t bear any relation to the album it’s on. If you bought Pornograffiti in the hopes of hearing lots of acoustic ballads, you would have been disappointed. If you bought Pornograffiti in the hopes of hearing some hair metal that Extreme normally played, you would have been equally disappointed – such as my brother, who would fast forward past the two ballad singles on the album whenever he listened to it. There’s a difference between showing range and just abandoning your style completely for a hit.

That said, I like More Than Words. I like the entirely acoustic guitar arrangement and the vocal harmonies. In an era where there is so much over-production, the stripped back, acoustic focus is welcome and something you hope will be influential. The lyrics are also really nice, all about how “I love you” isn’t the important part of actually loving someone. It could be pretty cheesy, but it wasn’t, and that’s possibly because everything is stripped down. The message is sold because it doesn’t try to over sell, it’s just two guys with guitars being sincere.

It’s a break with the band’s usual style, but that doesn’t make it bad.

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2 Responses to Extreme – More than Words

  1. RBerman says:

    A coffeehouse acoustic classic; there was indeed a major “unplugged” trend in the early and mid 90s. Guitarist Nuno Bettencourt has some serious chops he doesn’t get to show off here, and lead vocalist Gary Cherone spent some time with Van Halen after Sammy Hagar left, so neither of these guys is a slouch. The lyrics are cleverly worded, though. They could be just what you say: a gooey tribute to the things in relationships that matter. However, they can also be read as, “If you really loved me, you would let me have my way with you.”

    Weird Al parodied the video, though not the song itself. Weirdly (ha!) the official Vevo clip begins about a minute into the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWD5gdpt4Dw

  2. Pingback: Mr. Big – To Be With You | We Are Number Ones

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