Vin Diesel Mr. Gary Cherone and Ms. Mr. Nuno Bettencourt Dear sir and madam Dear sirs, many of the women who work here at Crimes Against Rock have long taken issue with your early 90's song More Than Words. Besides the utter vapidity of this faux-Everly Brothers song, it's also probably responsible for more prom night teen pregnancies over the past 17 years than any bone-head abstinence-only program.
What makes the song particularly distressing is the complicity of the female member of the band, Nuno, the lovely guitarist who we would assume would be a strong and assured woman, given the sexist and piggish nature of most rock music. Instead she reinforces tired and worn out tropes about women shutting up and putting out in order to win the love of a man.
(We have just been informed that Nuno is not in fact a woman. Wow. Dude looks like a lady. Apologies for the gender confusion)
Extreme (left to right): Gary Cherone(not Vin Diesel) and Nuno Bettencourt (not a chick)
The essential thrust of your song is that some young woman must “show” you that she loves you rather than just saying that she loves you. Roughly translated: “if you really love me you’d shut up and have naked sexy time with me.” Yes, most young women have heard variations of this line before.
I learned this sad lesson my freshman year of college when I was shocked that my boyfriend “Chad” was not interested in hearing my thoughts about the post-structuralist theories of Julia Kristeva, and instead was only interested in my boobies. I think “Chad” even had a copy of your craptastic album, Pornograffiti. Clearly this should have been a major clue as to what a douche he was. I was young. Live and learn.
What’s interesting is that at no time do you ever promise to prove your love to the unnamed young woman. The burden of proving love falls all on her. And how is she supposed to prove her love? Naked sexy time? This equals “love” for you?
Let’s consider the words to this “love” song purportedly about more than words for a moment, shall we?
The song begins with the verse “Sayin’ I love you is not the words I want to hear from you. Its not that I want you not to say it, but if you only knew how easy it would be to show me how you feel. More than words is all you have to do to make it real then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me, cause I’d already know”
Oh my. That first verse is quite a mouthful. First of all, you make clear that you are not a man of words with the sub-literate way you express yourself here. Watch your verb tense you Neanderthal. Is should be are. Then there’s that second sentence. Talk about a confusing amount of words to explain that words don’t matter.
But let me see if I can decipher what you’re intimating here. You are saying that it would be easier for the young woman to “show” you that she loved you rather than saying the words “I love you.” Hmm. See, we have to take issue with this assertion. Saying “I love you” takes about 1.5 seconds. It’s a very easy phrase. Now I’m not sure at this point what exactly you mean by “show,” but, and I think I speak for women throughout the world here, I damn sure want the “showing” part to last a little longer than 1.5 seconds. Just sayin’.
The next section of the song is just simply confusing. You say “What would you do if my heart was torn in two? More than words to show you feel that your love for me is real.” So wait. Your heart would be broken if we said “I love you?” This is weird. You place a lot of importance on the act of love rather than the assertion of love. Honey, I have news for you, I’ve shown plenty of fellas “more than words,” and love never entered the equation. Again, just sayin’.
We now turn our attention to the rather ironic last verse of the song:
Now I’ve tried to talk to you and make you understand all you have to do is close your eyes and just reach out your hands and touch me. Hold me close don’t ever let me go”…blah, blah, blah. I think I’m going to puke.
You’re kind of slow aren’t you? So you want us to shut up and show you some action, not words, yet all you’ve been doing this whole time is throwing words at us, trying to get us to “understand” that words don’t matter! You see the contradiction here? Why do you only get to talk? Why are your words more important than ours? You know, Julie Kristeva had some very interesting things to say about this…
Anyway, you say that all we have to do is close our eyes, reach out, and touch you. You know what I hear in that line bucko? I hear: “Come on baby, just touch it…” This is right up there with the immortal line, “let me just stick it in for a second…” All this really colors what you then mean by “hold me close…” Excuse me. I have to shower before wrapping this letter up…
Let’s recap here for a second. You are uninterested in what the young woman has to say, you want her to shut up and prove her love to you by “touching it,” and you compose like 200 words in order to convince her that words are meaningless. Uh, yeah...
This last thing is, ironically, the only true insight you offer. Words are often meaningless. Especially when some hack wannabe rock star is trying to get you to shut up and “touch it.” Ick.
So, in response to your incredibly stupid song, I leave you with the immortal words of Janet Jackson (and again I think I’m speaking for all women here): “What have you done for me lately?”
The women of Crimes Against Rock
Extreme's More Than Words video here.