Turn That Noise Down - Extreme

drawing of a small child in a red light district with stripper signs all around.

So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1990 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week, Susan scribbles some Pornograffiti...

This is just one of those albums that makes me stupidly happy and I’d forgotten how much so until I listened to it again for our 30 year retrospective. From the rain soaked piano and low strings at the start of Decadence Dance, which are glorious, to the heartfelt yee-hah at the end of Hole Hearted, I have a grin on my face. I’ve talked about my love of Extreme before [here – Ed] but this is by far my favourite album of theirs. I know it’s 1990 but this is 80s hair metal at its funky best.

In L’il Jack Horny, there are touches of brazen brass in among the virtuoso guitar work of Nuno Bettencourt, who not only played lead incredibly well but co-wrote all the songs AND produced a couple of them. Talented git. The rap at the start of When I’m President is a bit cheesy but it works well in the overall concept of the song and the harmonies are spine tingling. The bass playing of Pat Badger [this is his name, not an instruction – Ed] in Get the Funk Out is sleazily brilliant [the other virtues of the song have been extolled at length by Steve here – Ed] and I must also admit a guilty adoration of the slushfest simplicity of the acoustic ballad that is More That Words. Oh, what?

Anyway, the album continues with a heavier note and Money (In God We Trust), with some remarkable “string widdling” in the midst, and the very singable, although oddly bracketed, It (‘s a Monster). The title track itself comes next, although it never actually was a single, and is, I think, the best showcase of Gary Cherone’s rock voice on the album, even though the chorus itself reminds me so much of Was Not Was’ Walk The Dinosaur. The scene changes abruptly and brilliantly to a late night piano bar and the sublime, out of time, When I First Kissed You letting Cherone show that he really can sing the blues too. Back to the (then) present with the fun ‘n’ funk of Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?). He-Man Woman Hater is notable for the tremendous “Flight of the Wounded Bumble Bee” intro by none other than Dweezil Zappa, which is exactly what it sounds like – a dazzling rendition of the Rimsky Korsakov classic, with a Zappa twist. The vinyl album rounds out with the arm-waving anthem Song For Love (yes, I have the vinyl as well) but the CD added Hole Hearted and it doesn’t feel like too much of an “extra.”

Looking at my world today, it needs a lot more “stupidly happy”-ness in it, so Pornograffiti is going back into my play-list rotation, at least for a little while.

Image - amazon

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