Hey, music industry. We need to talk. I know you’ve been having a rough go of it lately, what with declining album sales and measly streaming revenues and that U2 stunt pissing off roughly 499 million iTunes users. I understand that you’re trying to squeeze every last buck out of your Hindenburg of a business model while there are still bucks to be squeezed.
But listen. You know that whole “deluxe reissue” racket you’ve got going? Where you repackage your bestselling releases every five years into 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th anniversary editions with new artwork and bonus tracks and whatever unreleased crap you can find lying around the archives?
You need to just calm down with that shit, music industry. Take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourselves: Does the world need a 25th anniversary deluxe edition of Extreme’s Extreme II: Pornograffitti? Does it really?
You and I both know the answer to that question is no. And yet, today, that is exactly what you’re giving us.
I mean, come on, music industry. Just look at this thing:
In case you readers unfamiliar with Extreme's ouevre can't quite tell, because it’s obscured by that classy, frosted “Deluxe Edition” ribbon, let me assure you that yes, that is a boy scout smoking a cigarette and holding a can of spray paint, prowling a neon-lit hellscape of middle American strip clubs and juke joints. Rock & roll!
I of all people should know how totally unnecessary it is to reissue Pornograffitti — which, by the way, was subtitled A Funked Up Fairy Tale, because why stop with a misspelled portmanteau when you can shoehorn a lame pun in there, too? I should know because I once owned a copy of it. I was into the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Living Colour and I heard “Get the Funk Out” on the radio and thought it sounded, well, funky. Don't judge me. (OK, fine, judge me.)
And then they had that “More Than Words” song that chicks seemed to dig — and if my college years had one overarching theme, it was a neverending and mostly fruitless quest to figure out what chicks liked.
But here’s the thing, music industry: I’m not a college kid anymore. And I'd really appreciate it if you would stop reminding me that there was once a time I actually thought Gary Cherone was a talented vocalist.
I’m willing to bet many of the 2 million people who bought Pornograffitti feel the same way. Even the ones who don’t, the hair-metal lifers who still sometimes fire up tracks like “Decadence Dance” and “Li’l Jack Horny” because Nuno Bettencourt freakin’ shreds, man — even those people don’t need to own a second copy of Pornograffitti that includes five different versions of “More Than Words.” The audience for this reissue is virtually non-existent.
I know I’m bagging pretty hard on Extreme here, which isn't fair to them, really. “Get the Funk Out” still holds up well as a fusion of Chili Peppers funk and Poison-esque pop-metal, and while I’m not a fan of the schmaltz-fest that is “More Than Words,” the album’s other ballad, “Hole Hearted,” is still a fun, breezy riff on Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit.” And even on the album’s schlockiest tracks, Bettencourt’s skills a guitarist are beyond reproach. (The less said about Gary Cherone’s derivative, Axl-meets-Kiedis vocals, however, the better.)
I’m really just using Pornograffitti as an example of how far over the shark you, music industry, have jumped, Your endless repackaging of back catalog has become borderline-obsessive. What’s next? 25th anniversary editions from C+C Music Factory? FireHouse? Snap!? How deep into the 1990 dogpile are you willing to dig? (Don't answer that.)
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If you want to empty out your vaults and dump bonus material onto iTunes and Spotify, knock yourselves out. It might actually be kind of fun to add the 12-inch version of “Get the Funk Out” to an “Unnecessary Remixes” playlist. But if you really think more than a couple hundred Extreme obsessives are going to plunk down $19.98 to own it on CD – well, music industry, that’s the most funked up fairy tale of all.