Foreigner helped to define AOR thanks to their huge hits. But while the likes of Cold As Ice still get massive airplay, assuring the band’s timeless status, there’s always been a lot more to Foreigner than the obvious songs. This is a look at the deep cuts that gave them substance.
10. Rev On The Red Line
From Head Games, this has all the classic Foreigner hallmarks. There’s a sublime melody, cushioning the stylish mid paced rhythm, while there’s ample opportunity for all the musicians involved to show their skills, without ever showing off. This was a band performance, albeit led from the front by Lou Gramm’s vocals.
9. Inside Information
Yes, the production here on the title track from the band’s 1987 album is very much of its time. But the song is undeniably a rollicking, powerful pop rock tune. The synth sounds get close to swamping the arrangement, but beneath this both Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones are in peerless form.
8. I’m Gonna Win
You can hear a connection here to the more celebrated Jukebox Hero from the same album, 4. But this is a little harder, with more emphasis being placed on the guitar role. It also has a skating funk embellishment, which provides a smoother arrangement. Surprisingly, never released as a single.
When you listen to this, it’s actually hard to believe it is Foreigner. It’s different to everything else on the debut album. The lyrics on this ballad come across as 50s pulp sci fi. But in reality, it’s about the quest for recognition. A beautifully developed, introspective tale of aspiration.
6. Stranger In My Own House
A tune from Agent Provocateur, it begins with an unaccompanied Lou Gramm vocal, before it opens into a mid-paced yet fiery tune. Gramm is right on the limit throughout, shuffling between anger and resignation, as he talks about tryng to adjust to domestic life after being on the road. A powerful concoction.
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5. Blue Morning, Blue Day
This song from Double Vision has a really claustrophobic atmosphere, as Gramm relates the tale of a musician who’s caught in a mental trap of his own making, and is desperate to break out of his misery. The slowly swelling rhythms and Jones’ lead work make for an effective ballast.
4. Long, Long Way From Home
A stomping anthem, led by a rising riff from Jones. From the band’s debut, it features a short, sharp sax solo from Ian McDonald, and has a striding sense of authority. The sentiments of the track talk about the struggle of making it in New York, something Gramm and Jones knew all about.
3. Dirty White Boy
From Head Games, this is a breezing rock’n’roller. Inspired by Elvis Presley and his impact on music, it moves along at a high pace, and is blessed with a distinctly distorted solo from Jones. There’s also a cascading scream from Gramm right at the finale. A convincing, high rolling stomper.
2. Tooth and Nail
For all those who think Agent Provocateur is a soft rock album, this is the antidote to I Want To Know What Love Is. Blessed with an edge and depth, it gallops along, and is among the heaviest songs the band have ever done. This shows a fiery side to Foreigner.
1. Night Life
It’s odd to think of any song from 4 as being overlooked, but that’s the case here. While it was moderately successful as a single, Night Life always suffers by comparison to the big hitters from that record. However, it’s a brightly brisk opening song to that album, and has a confident energy.