Saturday, March 04, 2006

The College Years

III Sides to Every Story came out when I was in college. It was an ambitious record and mostly misunderstood, at least by the many reviewers I read. Most simply didn't know what to make of it.

Part of the problem had to do with the band finding their identity, which it took them a couple of records to do. By Pornograffiti, Extreme was beginning to shed the stupid glam metal trappings of their first record, while still being a hard rocking band. Of course when your first record fits nicely with the typical pop metal stuff, it's easy to miss the satirical nature of your follow-up. Thus a brilliant commentary like Pornograffiti can come across as another rock-n-roll record about sex.

III Sides is full of biblical allusions and straight up quotations and Am I Ever Gonna Change is essentially Romans 7. There's the plaintive prayer (not on the CD version) Jesus, Don't Leave Me Alone as well as more social commentary on race and war. The concept is of 3 sides, yours mine and the truth, (a humble premise) and musically the record is divided in three parts, with the last side incorporating a full orchestra. Gary Cherone isn't outspoken about his faith, but it comes through on this record and as usual, Nuno is impressive.

I think the lack of critical understanding and commercial success of III Sides is what ultimately led to Extreme's split. I have no evidence to support that claim, but for such a monumental record to be completely missed and misunderstood by the majority, I think was a bit hard to take. Their final record together lacked the drive and focus of the previous two. I think they were burned out.

Still, III Sides is a great record and well worth the listen.

Favorite Tracks: Warheads, Tragic Comic, Color Me Blind, Am I Ever Gonna Change, Rise and Shine, God isn't Dead


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