Melody Maker | Album | 15 December 1990
TO THE EXTREME
Until he hit number one with "Ice Ice Baby", Vanilla Ice's major claims to fame were going to school with 2 Live Crew and looking like Dolph Lundgren. Oh, and winning the US national motocross championship three years running. He's unlikely to last quite so long in the music business if "To The Extreme" is anything to go by. It's impossible to take such an abysmal record seriously.
The first obstacle is the recycled electro sound, the fusion of weedy melodies and irritatingly tinny beats. Strip away the vocals and some tracks could be mistaken for early Depeche Mode demos. The few attempts at something different fall flat. "Rasta Man" is a dreadfully insincere reggae tune and "You're Hooked" is a drippy jazzy dawdle. Ice's version of Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music" is also included but instead of looping the song's brilliant guitar line, the track is based around the chorus, around the dumb bit.
The rhymes are equally lame, totally lacking in substance – "You're so fine, let's wine and dine / I'm so happy that you are mine", I mean, Jesus, come on – and delivered with the competence of a hippo on a trapeze. If the line "I'm steppin' so hard, like a German Nazi" comes as a shock, the countless stories about girls are not unexpected. Only one, "Stop That Train", boasts any humour and that's because it's a copy of Ice-T's "The Girl Tried To Kill Me". And what the hell is he trying to prove by yelling "Yo!" every other word?
Ice, I can't do nuttin' for ya man. On your bike.