Cover Extreme Six

REVIEW: Extreme’s “SIX” – A Symphony of Sonic Surprises and Unapologetic Authenticity

(Isn’t the album cover extremely awesome?)

As a grizzled veteran of the rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster, having clocked up a half-century on this spinning rock we call Earth, I’ve been a passenger on the Extreme journey since the band’s genesis in 1985. Their latest offering, “SIX”, is a testament to their musical evolution, a sonic tapestry that weaves together the threads of their past while boldly striding into uncharted territory.

“SIX” opens with “Rise“, a track that hits you like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. It’s a powerful opener that sets the tone for the album, a narrative about the fickle nature of fame that resonates with anyone who’s been around the block a few times. It’s a reminder that success is transient, a theme that echoes through the annals of rock history and reverberates in the hearts of seasoned fans like me.

Next up is “#Rebel“, a track that lives up to its name in every sense. It’s a rebellious anthem that channels the spirit of Marilyn Manson, a stark departure from Extreme’s usual style. It’s a bold move, but it’s this willingness to push boundaries and experiment with new sounds that has kept Extreme relevant over the years.

Banshee” and “Other Side of the Rainbow” offer a softer side of Extreme, with their intimate ballads that hark back to the band’s earlier days. These tracks are a comforting reminder of the band’s roots, a nostalgic nod to the past that old fans like me can appreciate. They’re like a warm blanket on a cold night, a familiar comfort that wraps you in a cocoon of melodic memories.

Small Town Beautiful” and “The Mask” continue this trend, with their well-crafted rock music that breathes the spirit of the 90s yet finds its place in the here and now. These tracks are a testament to Extreme’s ability to evolve while staying true to their unique sound. They’re like a fine wine, maturing with age yet retaining the essence of their original flavor.

Thicker Than Blood” and “Save Me” are where the album takes a turn. These tracks are a departure from the band’s usual style, with a modern, US mainstream rock sound. It’s a surprising twist, but one that showcases the band’s versatility. It’s like stepping into a time machine and being catapulted into the future, a thrilling ride that leaves you breathless and eager for more.

X Out” is undoubtedly the standout track on the album. It’s a kaleidoscope of influences and styles that highlights Extreme’s musical range. Bettencourt’s guitar work here is particularly noteworthy, with dazzling riffs reminiscent of Van Halen and a musical structure that echoes U2’s modern phase. It’s a sonic masterpiece that showcases the band’s musical prowess and creativity.

On the other end of the spectrum is “Beautiful Girls“, a track that can only be described as an inexplicable mishap on an otherwise flawless album. Despite the band’s obvious musical prowess, this song seems to fall out of line and doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit, a perplexing anomaly in an otherwise seamless sonic landscape.

The album concludes with “Here’s to the Losers“, a poignant ballad that serves as a fitting end to the musical journey that is “SIX”. It’s a reminder of the band’s ability to evoke emotion through their music, a skill that has remained consistent throughout their career. It’s a heartfelt farewell that leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and a longing for more.

Home Hero Desktop 3840x2159 1
Nuno Bettencourt (right) probably is the best guitarist this planet has ever seen.

“SIX” is an impressive album that showcases Extreme’s musical maturity and creative diversity. It’s a testament to the band’s ability to evolve while preserving their unique sound. It’s an album that will delight long-time fans of the band, like me, as well as those being introduced to their music for the first time. It’s a rollercoaster ride of musical mastery and unexpected turns, and one that I’m glad to have been a part of.

To further immerse myself in the Extreme experience, I plan to attend one or two live shows in 2023. There’s nothing quite like the electrifying atmosphere of a live concert, the raw energy of the band, and the collective excitement of the crowd. It’s an opportunity to witness the magic of Extreme firsthand, and I’m eagerly looking forward to it.

For those who wish to join me in this musical journey, you can purchase the album and merchandise on the band’s official website here. The site also provides updates on the band’s upcoming live shows, including dates in the US, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and several European countries.

Footnote: In my enthusiasm for the album, I sought to purchase the t-shirt featuring the striking gorilla album cover, only to find it was sold out. A testament, perhaps, to the widespread appeal of this latest offering from Extreme. Here’s hoping for a restock soon. After all, what better way to celebrate the release of “SIX” than by wearing it on your chest?

A Personal Take On Rammstein

I’ve always been one to appreciate a wide range of music, but there’s one band that I’ve never been able to get on board with: Rammstein. The German metal band has long been a source of controversy, and for me, their actions and representations have always been a step too far.

Let’s start with their performances. Rammstein is known for their grandiose shows, complete with pyrotechnics and dramatic theatrics. Generally, not really my thing. Plus, beneath the spectacle, there’s an element that’s deeply unsettling. The band’s use of Nazi propaganda aesthetics and right-wing iconography is, in my opinion, a blatant disregard for the historical trauma associated with these symbols.

As the taz article “Verharmlosung von Rammstein: Eiertanz ums Eiserne Kreuz” aptly points out, their shows “[deliver] a celebration of flame-encircled masses as updated staging strategies of the NS propagandists Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer and imitate these models under the insignia of the musical shock troop, an Iron Cross.”

Some might argue that this is all part of their artistic expression. But let’s cut the crap here. This isn’t just about pushing boundaries or being edgy. This is about using loaded symbols for shock value and, as some suggest, as a marketing strategy. And that, my friends, is where I draw the line.

But the controversy doesn’t end there. The band’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, is currently embroiled in a MeToo scandal, facing allegations of sexual assaults against young female fans. This, coupled with Lindemann’s past lyrics that fantasize about the rape of a drugged woman, paints a troubling picture.

The taz article states, “If the just exploding scandal gains further substance in the face of the alleged pattern of sexual assaults by frontman Till Lindemann against young female fans, Rammstein would again be number one in Germany, but in the biggest MeToo case.” This is a stark reminder that we need to hold our idols accountable, regardless of their artistic contributions.

And then there’s the academic trivialization of Rammstein’s actions. A book titled “Rammstein’s ‘Deutschland’. Pop – Politics – Provokation” presents the band’s controversial actions as “complex works of art”. The taz article criticizes this perspective, stating, “The reader ‘Rammstein’s ‘Germany’. Pop – Politics – Provokation’… presents the result of cultural science research on Rammstein’s pop-cultural total work of art permeated with fascist aesthetics, right-wing iconography, and sexual violence fantasies.”

To me, this feels like a dangerous oversimplification that overlooks the potential harm such portrayals can cause. It’s like saying, “Sure, they’re playing with fire, but look at how pretty the flames are!” It’s a way of avoiding the hard questions, of sidestepping the uncomfortable truths.

While some may appreciate Rammstein’s boldness and refusal to conform, I find their actions deeply problematic. The controversy surrounding Rammstein serves as a reminder that as consumers of art, we need to keep our eyes open and our minds critical. We need to hold artists accountable for their actions, especially when they exploit historical trauma and personal boundaries for shock value.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about the music. It’s also about the message. And when that message is wrapped up in controversy and exploitation, it’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves: is this the kind of art we want to support?

a cassette player with headphones attached to it

The Best-Selling Songs of the 80s in the UK and Germany

I’m delighted to take you on a nostalgic journey again, back to the heart of my youth and a remarkable decade in music – the 1980s. Being born in 1973, my formative years were spent in the midst of an explosive era of music innovation and creativity. The unforgettable melodies, the iconic artists, and the cultural movements that framed this period have left a lasting imprint on me. Each song on this list sparks a unique memory, a moment of time encapsulated within the chords and lyrics of these classic tunes.

Back then, we saw a massive shift in the music landscape, from the raw acoustic and earthy sounds of the 70s, transitioning into the vibrant, electronic, and synthesized beats of the 80s. This era was marked by its pioneering use of new technology, synthesizers, and production techniques, a stark contrast to today’s music that thrives on digital platforms, streaming services, and social media influence. And of course, let’s not forget the extraordinary fashion statements – the big hair, the neon colors, and the shoulder pads that were as bold as the music itself!

Now, join me as we travel back in time, revisit the top-selling and most popular songs in the UK and Germany for each year of the 80s, and explore how these hits shaped the music and culture of the time.

Right before we dive into this musical journey, a little surprise awaits you at the end of this post – a link to a carefully curated Spotify playlist featuring all the top-selling songs from the 80s in the UK and Germany that we’re about to explore. Keep reading and enjoy this nostalgic trip, knowing that a musical treasure trove awaits you!


1980

  1. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” – Pink Floyd
  2. “Call Me” – Blondie
  3. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” – The Police
  4. “Woman in Love” – Barbra Streisand
  5. “Super Trouper” – ABBA

1981

  1. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  2. “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes
  3. “Endless Love” – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
  4. “Stand and Deliver” – Adam and the Ants
  5. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police

1982

  1. “Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners
  2. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
  3. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  4. “Ebony and Ivory” – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
  5. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” – Culture Club

1983

  1. “Karma Chameleon” – Culture Club
  2. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
  3. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  4. “Flashdance… What a Feeling” – Irene Cara
  5. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – Eurythmics

1984

  1. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid
  2. “Relax” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  3. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder
  4. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!
  5. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

1985

  1. “The Power of Love” – Jennifer Rush
  2. “Careless Whisper” – George Michael
  3. “We Are the World” – USA for Africa
  4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner
  5. “Easy Lover” – Philip Bailey & Phil Collins

1986

  1. “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys
  2. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” – The Communards
  3. “Take My Breath Away” – Berlin
  4. “Papa Don’t Preach” – Madonna
  5. “Rock Me Amadeus” – Falco

1987

  1. “Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley
  2. “La Isla Bonita” – Madonna
  3. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston
  4. “With or Without You” – U2
  5. “It’s a Sin” – Pet Shop Boys

1988

  1. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
  2. “A Groovy Kind of Love” – Phil Collins
  3. “One More Try” – George Michael
  4. “Orinoco Flow” – Enya
  5. “Desire” – U2

1989

  1. “Like a Prayer” – Madonna
  2. “Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Collins
  3. “Eternal Flame” – The Bangles
  4. “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” – Soul II Soul
  5. “The Look” – Roxette

And there we have it – a nostalgic look back at a decade filled with iconic hits that defined my youth and the music landscape of the 80s. Each song holds a precious memory, a flash from the past, a reminder of how far we’ve come, and yet, how these classics still manage to inspire and influence us today.

The 1980s was a decade unlike any other, a pivotal period that reshaped music and brought a fresh wave of sound that still reverberates today. Comparing the music scene of the 80s to today’s scene showcases a fascinating evolution – from record players and mixtapes to digital downloads and streaming services. Yet, the magic of music remains unchanged – it continues to inspire, unite, and empower us in so many ways.

As we listen to today’s music, we’re reminded of how it’s built on the foundation laid by these legendary 80s hits. These songs – their beats, their lyrics, their spirit – continue to influence modern artists, reminding us that even though times have changed, good music remains timeless.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, through the highs and lows of the music that marked my coming of age. Music is more than just a melody, it’s a connection to our past and a bridge to our future. I hope these songs brought back fond memories for you as well and continue to inspire as we navigate the rhythm of life.

Till the next nostalgic trip, keep the music playing!

As a special treat to accompany this nostalgic journey, I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs mentioned above.