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.