“More Than Words” is the fifth track and third single from Extreme’s 1990 LP Pornograffitti. It is a ballad built around acoustic guitar work by Nuno Bettencourt and the vocals of Gary Cherone (with harmony vocals from Bettencourt). The song is a detour from the funk metal style that permeates the band’s records. As such, it has often been described as “a blessing and a curse” due to its overwhelming success and recognition worldwide, but the band ultimately embraced it and plays it on every show.
The song was described by Bettencourt as a song warning that the phrase “I love you” was becoming meaningless: “People use it so easily and so lightly that they think you can say that and fix everything, or you can say that and everything’s OK. Sometimes you have to do more and you have to show it— there are other ways to say ‘I love you.'”
“That song gave us the freedom to make the record we really wanted to make when we started recording our third disc,” Cherone told KNAC. “It got us doing huge tours all over the states and around the world… As the nineties went on, however, we really started to resent the song. We were tagged ‘the More Than Words guys’. We didn’t like the perception of the song created by the band. I remember being on tour with Aerosmith in Poland… it was on that tour we decided we would not play the song. We just didn’t do it. A couple of nights into the tour, Steven Tyler writes in big letters on our dressing room door, ‘Play the fucking song!’ His attitude was almost father-like. He was like, ‘Look, this is your first time in Poland. When do you think you will be back? They want to hear it, so play it!'”