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Feels Like the First Time B+
Hey, say what you like about Foreigner, but you can't deny that this song is catchy. Damn catchy. It's not ABBA-catchy, but it's catchy enough to be featured on commercials all the time. Alright, so it might be an overly polished piece of pap. Seriously, they could have made those guitars sound a little gruffer. Maybe they could have put in a better solo than that stupid, rapid two-note solo this guy tries to pull of. There's no point in a guitar solo if you're just going to do that. Those synthesizers in the interlude are a bit cheesy, although I sort of like those funny, dramatic wails from Lou Gramm. What a freaking cheesy band!! ...Even though I suppose this song is pretty catchy, there's no point in listening to it more than twice. Therefore, we get more than enough of it from commercials. Seriously, don't buy this album.
Cold as Ice A-
Hey, I can be fair! This is a really good song! I would say that this song is worth hearing, maybe 10 times in a lifetime. Of course, I hear this played all the time on the radio, so this is still not a good reason to buy the album! (...OK, you can buy this album if you really want to.) This is a fun little ditty they concocted, starting as a bouncy Billy Joel style piano-pop song and then sort of ending epically with layered vocals in the background. While I find this a nice song, I seriously wish they would get off this light pap stuff and just rock out. Come on. One of these guys used to be in King Crimson!
This is a typical case of a band trying to be all powerful and mystical when they just don't have anything particularly interesting to say or do. I sort of like that introduction with the Medieval chord progression and the flute synthesizer. The melody isn't bad, although it certainly could have stood to be stronger. By the middle, they sing louder in hopes to be all powerful and glorious, but I ain't getting much from it except boredom. There's a pretty lame electric guitar solo at the end that bends and whooshes around I suppose in hopes that it brings us into outer space. But it's pretty weak.
Should be retitled “Fartknocker.” (Ah! There's my excuse for wit today, apparently!) Again, this could have been a good song, but these guys just couldn't rock out. I don't know what's stopping them! They came out with a perfectly generic bar-rock riff, and their guitars crunch around appealingly. Their guitarists, I believe, had enough talent to rock out a bit, and I don't know what's stopping the rhythm section from putting more kick into the proceedings. ...Argh! This is so tame that it's frustrating! And no, it doesn't even have a good melody to make up for its lameness.
The Damage is Done B-
This acoustic power ballad wouldn't be so bad if it didn't suck!!! Alright, it doesn't suck, but seriously I wish it was just slightly more imaginative. (That's probably too much to ask when it comes to these guys.) It starts out extremely dully, but the chorus comes in and it gets better. That three-note riff they play occasionally is about as plain and bland as it could possibly get. The obligatory electric guitar solo in the final third is a little better than they have been in this album, but it's no Jimmy Page. (Is it unfair of me to review Foreigner at the same time I'm reviewing Led Zeppelin?)
Long, Long Way From Home A-
I called this glam-rock in my original review, and it's funny that I thought the exact same thing the first time I put this on again. It has those crunchy guitars, a swinging sax section, and a trashy drum beat. I'm giving this an A- just for the swinging saxes. Those saxes are a good example of something that was probably unnecessary, but it completely made the song for me.
Woman Oh Woman C+
Oh, this isn't a half bad ballad. The melody is passable and they make an OK use of the synthesizer at the beginning there. But it never really does anything interesting. There's nothing that makes me remember this later on! So, why does it exist? And how did I ever get into the predicament that I'm trying to force myself into writing something about this? Oh yeah. I'm torturing myself on purpose.
At War With the World B-
They pick up the pace a bit to deliver this more stompin' and guitar heavy song. It makes a perfectly OK listen since it sounds nice, but it's not memorable at all, and I'm not likely to ever listen to it again. The riff is pretty flat and so is the main melody. ...Again, it feels like I'm forcing myself to write about this, and that's not a good feeling.
Fool For You Anyway C+
This little ole love ballad might have been more memorable if the rhythm section were improved slightly. This just seems pretty standard. Guitar. Drums. Singing. Melody? Eh... It's not terrible, and it doesn't insult my intelligence as a rock lover. I just wish they would TRY. I really want to say something nice about this, but it's doing absolutely nothing for me. At least bad Styx ballads give me a distinct vomitty sensation.
I Need You B
Oh, a power ballad. That was these guys' specialty! Even though it was pure formula, it's pretty obvious why they wanted to stick with it: they actually sound halfway decent at it. Again, it would have helped my poor little brain from growing tedious if they could have unearthed a melody that's at least somewhat liable to stick around in my head. But whatever. This is Foreigner! They're gonna get better in subsequent albums, but not by much. (Well, I could always change my mind... I do remember their subsequent few releases did show marked improvements.)
Double Vision (1978)
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Hot Blooded A-
A hit! It's pure pap from beginning to end, but considering I consider myself (shockingly enough) to be a mild Barry Manilow fan, it shouldn't come to any surprise that I can take some of Foreigner's pap as well. Its cutesy riff is catchy, and it has a beat that you can dance to. What else do you want? Philosophy? Well, it does contain the lyric “You don't have to read my mind / to know what I have in mind.” That's deep.
Blue Morning, Blue Day B
At least they're getting off the guise of being a “hard-rock” band. This is a perfectly adequate Billy-Joel-style pop song with a memorable chorus. The verses are pretty forgettable, though. Billy Joel at least came up with stronger verses. I'm pretty sure I hear this one played on the radio sometimes, so I guess people like it. It's not terrible.
You're All I Am D-
Obviously, this song is about a man talking to a plate of food. OK, it isn't really, but if you pretend it is, it makes listening to this barf-worthy song more tolerable. This is absolutely one of the worst songs in existence. The melody is bland, the lyrics are stupid, the pacing is boring, the instrumentation is clunky. Its only redeemable quality is that it has an ending. ...Man, this song ballad is so freaking crappy that it makes Styx ballads sound good. I must be close to suicide. The more I listen to Foreigner the more I believe that Billy Joel is Mozart. Which of course would indicate that Elton John is God. And Paul McCartney is ... uh ... whoah.
Back to Where You Belong C+
Oh kick my head in with a steel toe boot. I think the whole point of “You're All I Am” was to make this bland mid-tempo pop song seem like it actually has substance. And, well, it does. It actually has a melody, and a pretty nicely flowing chorus. Most of all, it simply bores me instead of making me think evil thoughts about my own mortality. That's quite a substantial step up, I say! Maybe I also like the way they do that echo effect in “back to where you belong-ong-ong-ong.” Yeah, that's pretty cool.
Love Has Taken Its Toll C
Again, they're composing straight pop music, but they don't seem to have much talent for melodies. There's no real point in listening to straight pop music if you're crap at melodies. They can't even seem to come up with a chorus that gains much ground. I suppose that pounding bass and drums keep the pace alive pretty well. That, and I find that saxophone solo awkwardly tacked in there strangely compelling. (At least the saxophone solo indicates that they tended to favor RAW sounds instead of elevator sounds. Believe me, I appreciate that!)
Double Vision A
Oh! I know this song from the radio, too! ...How come “Double Vision” is such a solidly produced song with a good melody whereas most of the other songs in this album have none of these qualities? Could it be that these guys are rip-offs???? ...Well, this is a good song, and like everything else on here it's pure pap from beginning to end. But this time it has such a memorable melody that I can recall it upon demand, and I actually enjoy letting it run through my head. That's right. I like this song.
...Now they're just making up words... Oh, I just checked on Wikipedia that a tramontane is another word for “Northern Winds.” There you go. I just learned something. ...This is a synth-heavy instrumental that is bland and forgettable, but at least it doesn't offend me. Given that this song has no lyrics in it, it's the most intelligent song of the album. That's worth something. (I guess we're supposed to marvel over the guitar solos. ...But if you're at all into real heavy rock 'n' roll, you're going to shrug your shoulders and say “What guitar solo?”)
I Have Waited So Long D+
For pete's sake. Your ballads suck. The melodies are bland. The development is boring. The lyrics are dumb. These things make regret my existence. ...If you are bored sitting through this song, like I am, you can pretend it's about the man waiting for his bowel movement to come after eating that plate of food from “You're All I Am.” It's pretty funny, then. ...Ha! He's been waiting so long to POOP!!!
Lonely Children B+
Alright, it's Led Zeppelin lite! I've never been much of a Led Zeppelin fan, but listening to Foreigner does make me appreciate them more. While Foreigner came up with a fairly commendable riff, they sound like little weaklings playing this. ...Geez, how can this band have Ian MacDonald in it???? I mean, couldn't he at least have been in the studio demanding they give this a little bit of POWER??? ...Man oh man. This isn't a bad song at all. It's catchy. It's fun to listen to. But it's a lost opportunity.
A boring, melodiless song with a clunky rhythm. That thumpy bass is so boring that I want to kick it in the balls. And where's the lead guitarist? He's just snoozing over the verses section and letting the bass and minimalist keyboard do all the work. God, if I was the bass, I'd be pissed.
Head Games (1979)
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Dirty White Boy B+
Hey, this is a pretty good song! As you'd probably expect by now, this is pop in the guise of hard-rock, but unlike a lot of their previous songs, this one actually has a little bit of grit in its rhythm. Also, it has a pretty hooky melody, which is great. I think other bands out there, like Blondie, had a better handle on melodies, but these guys could put together a nice one from time to time. The very brief electric guitar solo in here ain't bad, either. It actually sounds like an electric guitar solo you'd hear from a rock band. All gritty and snarly.
Love on the Telephone B+
This starts with a simple wavy synthesizer pattern. (I guess a single synthesizer sound is as sophisticated as they get!) Well, this is another solid composition, more mid-tempo pop as opposed to the faux-hard-rock of the previous. It is well-instrumented and has a OK melody, and I can listen to this song happily tapping my foot. It's only three minutes long, which means it never wears its welcome. (That is, if it didn't wear out its welcome the moment it started to play!)
I like how they're starting to pay a little more attention to their guitar tones than they used to. I'm only talking about that snarly guitar patterns they play at the beginning of this. It's hardly original, but it sounds like it has some sort of personality. All the other parts of the song are just a happy, upbeat '50s-style rocker with a rockin' piano, a chugging groove, a boring melody, and some of the most unremarkable lyrics on the planet Earth.
I'll Get Even With You B+
Wow, this is pretty good, too! They bring a distinctly Cars-ish synthesizer flavor to a fitfully catchy melody, and it makes a pretty good listen! It seems like the instrumentation is a bit thin. Surely they could have done something to beef it up. But this is undeniably a likable, mid-tempo pop song.
Back to the cheesy hard rock. If they're going to do this, why not find a less processed tone with that electric guitar? Ah, whatever. I've been complaining about that for several review now, and they ain't never gonna change! The riff is OK, but dumb, and the melody is equally as boring. The chorus, comprising of a simple “Se-ven-teeeeeeen!” being repeated over and over is about the only thing that's memorable about this. The Chuck-Berry-isms in the outro are pretty neat. (Give them credit for improving their guitar sound monstrously over the previous releases.)
Head Games B-
Ugh... I guess if we're going to play it that way, the melody isn't poorly written, and the instrumentation is pretty rudimentary for a power ballad. (The typical polished guitar sound and some tiny synthesizers in the background.) The chorus is pretty memorable, although that's probably because it's two notes they keep repeating over and over!
The Modern Day C
This isn't really a bad song. I'm just sick and tired of these dumb base-level songs. There wasn't a whole lot of thought put into the instrumentation, and the melody sounds like some stupid thing some hack wrote for a kid's show. I don't hate listening to this, but it is about as basic as mid-tempo rock 'n' roll quasi-ballads get.
Blinded By Science B-
This makes that Thomas Dolby song look genius! (Actually, it probably was genius. I love that song!) But this dumb song is a power-ballad. We're supposed to listen to it holding back our tears, but of course this is so overblown and pretentious that all I can really do is groan. (The lyrics pertain to some vague notion of technology leading us astray.) I can at least appreciate that it has a strong enough melody that I can sort of get into its melodramatic pomposity...... on one of my less cynical days, that is.
Do What You Like B
I used to think this song was the great shakes, but I don't anymore. What happened to me? I dunno. I previously categorized this melody as “perfect,” but now I think it's sort of dumb and repetitive. What I will say about this song is that it has a very pleasant folky vibe, and it's enjoyable to listen to. This is something I wish that Foreigner would have tried more of instead of just milking that wimpy hard-rock stuff.
Rev on the Red Line C-
It's bad enough that they found one of the world's dumbest riffs for this, but they made it even worse by playing it with a cheesy synthesizer. It's basically two notes. ????!!! Have some pride in your work, willya?? That riff grates in my brain and ends up ruining an experience that otherwise decent chorus. It even has a guitar solo in the final third that isn't too bad.
A bonus track? This is a terrible ballad. The instrumentation is weird, featuring some of the most vomit-inducing keyboard sounds that I've ever heard, and that melody is dreary and nightmarish. I wouldn't go out of your way to search for a copy of Head Games with this song on it......... if indeed you have to find a copy of this at all.
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Night Life A-
This at least shows that Foreigner were far more ready to synthesize their sound than a lot of other formerly guitar-heavy rock 'n' roll acts were at the time. I like how that heavy synthesizer is integrated with the main riff. Speaking of the main riff, it's not half bad! The guitar tones are heavy and well-produced, which automatically makes it seem more awesome than many of their previous hits. It's fun to tap your toe with, and if you're that type of person, perhaps sing along with. My only complaint is that they surely could have written a more sing-a-long-able melody with it. Even the most ardent Foreigner fans would have to admit this is a little bit weak. (But maybe Foreigner fans are slightly crazy, anyway?)
Juke Box Hero B-
Wow... This is one of those songs that I hear on the radio all the time that I don't actually recognize until the chorus pipes up. I don't particularly like the chorus, though; it's just nine-syllables long, and they sound retarded singing it. Maybe that would have been good for Kiss, but I would have thought these guys were better than that! (Well, my guess was that Foreigner had at least a little bit of intelligence since they used to have an ex-King Crimson member in their midst, and they refused to wear face paint. AND they didn't have idiotic fantasy imagery on their covers like Journey.) But truth be told, this isn't bad. It was produced nicely at least. The guitars are crunchy!
Break it Up B
This album is produced well. I suppose we have Mr. “Mutt” Lange to thank for that! The '80s synthesizers were very well integrated into the heavy guitar sound without sounding overly cheesy, and those heavy guitars are booming right out of my speakers with deep intensity. Unfortunately, there is nothing intrinsically interesting about the instrumentation; it's all straight out of the book as far as I can tell. And the songwriting is pretty bland as well. Come on, guys! Songwriting is your sandbox! Are you going to make a castle or are you just going to settle for this pile?
Waiting For a Girl Like You C
Ah. We knew this was coming. A corny '80s ballad. The '80s produced some of history's finest dance songs, but when it came to ballads, most of them sucked beyond our wildest dreams. This is one of the sucky ones. It's incredibly boring, the production and instrumentation is stale, and the melody is so stupid that it sucks the life out of me. Listening to stuff like this everyday is the same thing as drinking distilled water everyday... It's going to give you osteoporosis.
Thank God the ballad is over. Give me this stupid cheeze-rock over that any day of the week! But what's with this thing, anyway? It makes “Break it Up” seem like a great song. Listen to that stupid little rhythm guitar going “chuggy chuggy chuggy” and that drum going “ba-thump ba-thump ba-thump” and that bass going “da-da-da-da-da-da-da” and that lead singing going “Luanne, Luanne/ Why do you run and hide?/ Luanne, Luanne / Don't keep your love inside.” Why do they even bother?
I wonder who came up with that awesome repetitive echoey effect? This song would have been as wholly non-noteworthy as the rest of these if it weren't for that awesomely hypnotic synthesizer texture. This thing just has class spewing all over it. It's a shame that they couldn't have written a better melody for it (it's another one of those songs that I don't recognize until its dumb chorus pipes up), but I guess we can't have everything.
I'm Gonna Win B-
This song is so slowly paced that sounds like it's played by elephants. But at least their flashy '80s arena-rock guitar soloing is dirty and gritty enough to generally keep it interesting for me. (That's right, flashy hair-metal solos impress me! Hey, as long as they have crunch to them, why the hell not?) Lou Gramm screams the lyrics at the top of his lungs like he's insane. He sounds pretty ridiculous, but I guess that's the way the kids liked it. After all, they're the ones who wrote “Any Way You Want It.” ...Oh wait, that was Journey. Was there any difference between these bands other than the album covers?
Woman in Black C
This is very well produced. I like the sound of those gritty but wholesome and accessible guitars, and the ultra-clean thwop those drums are making. Lou Gramm's voice comes through my speakers crystal clear with just the right amount of reverb to it. If I were running a music production school, this would surely get an A+. But what exactly was he polishing? Poop? Polished poop? Does this have a melody that you remember two milliseconds after it's done playing? Nope. So what good is this. This isn't even good enough to be montage music in Rocky IV.
Girl on the Moon C+
This is about as dull and stupid as the last song, but I'll give credit where it's due for a slightly involving texture involving that pleasantly thumping bass! Maybe an extra 1/10th of a point for an appealingly clean guitar solo in the middle. Very well produced, of course, as the synthesizer textures in the background meld beautifully with the arpeggiated guitars. The only problem is the melody is forgettable. It doesn't even have a chorus that pops out at you. This is like “Juke Box Hero” without a chorus.
Don't Let Go B-
This is pathetic, but there's a little bit in the chorus that threatens to take off. Of course it doesn't and you'll just forget this songs exists the second it's over playing. But as I'm listening to it, it has me legitimately wondering: “Is this song going to go anywhere?” Of course it doesn't. They are nothing but a tease. The whole point of the B- is mostly for the crunchy guitars. Guitars are 1000 times better when they have CRUNCH. It's just a shame that they're crispifying something that's flavorless. It's like a new Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal, Air Crunch.
Juke Box Hero (Nearly Unplugged Version)
They added this somewhat acoustic version of their hit song just to prove to everyone that it sucks, and it would have been nothing without the full-scale production. Congratulations! It worked!
Waiting For a Girl Like You (Nearly Unplugged Version)
What the hell is “nearly unplugged,” anyway? That's like saying this is nearly a song! ...Well, I guess if you actually listen to this, you might formulate that conclusion.
Agent Provocateur (1984)
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Tooth and Nail B+
Actually not too bad. The guitars are crunchy enough to please me as a not-so-religious admirer of that instrument. They even take the time to bring in a nice solo! The riff isn't very catchy, but it does alright. Most importantly, the overall pacing of the song is upbeat and toe-tapping. The vocal melody is even pretty good, which is a stark improvement over what I remember from 4. I'm not too sure about that drum machine, though. It sounds like someone is turning on an off a pressure washer. You can rip somebody's skin off with one of those things.
That Was Yesterday A
Good thing that I reviewed this song when I was 21 and indicated that I liked, or I'd be too concerned that my present adoration of this song is evidence of my oncoming senility. All of my complaints about the poor ballad songwriting in 4 is pretty much thrown out the window with this song, which not only exhibits a greatly memorable melody but an effective power ballad presentation. The production is excellent, too! This is about as good as mainstream synthesizer music got in the '80s.
I Want to Know What Love Is C
I cannot fathom the reason for it, but this song was a bigger hit in 1984 than “That Was Yesterday,” actually staying on the #1 spot on the charts for two weeks. Clearly every teenager in 1984 was high on cotton candy, because this song is boring as hell. It plods along boringly for the verses until it delves into its more recognizable, gospel-fied chorus. The chorus isn't too bad, but this song bores me outta my mind! ...Just to put this in perspective, I consider The Thompson Twins' “Hold Me Now” to be a pop masterpiece. (Amazingly I seemed to like this when I was 21. Maybe you need to more easily be able to hone in on your teenager instincts.)
Growing Up the Hard Way B
Actually not too bad. Most of the time, this is a fairly sterile mid-tempo rocker, but they let it develop into a chorus that almost takes me along with it. It could have used with a more memorable melody, but I guess considering this is Foreigner I should be grateful that it has a chorus nice enough to speak of.
Reaction to Action C-
This is the typical sterile '80s rocker that has no redeeming qualities. Flashy, loud-drummed music like this should at least be fun to listen to, but Foreigner amazingly manage to suck anything that could even vaguely be considered enjoyable out of this. It's just boring and loud and annoying. No melody. No fun guitars. The loud drumming sucks. I hate this.
Stranger in My Own House C+
I suppose I should be somewhat grateful that they brought out the crunchy guitars again and deliver a riff that's vaguely reminiscent of classic Led Zeppelin. But this riff isn't very catchy, and they play it so stiffly that it's rather uncomfortable to listen to. Listening to Lou Gramm's stupid over-the-top singing actually makes me appreciate Robert Plant. I didn't even think that was possible.
A Love in Vain B-
I really hate this band. When they're not going out of their way to offend me, they're giving me songs like this that are so bland that there's no real point in even listening to it. The bubbly technology ridden synthesizers at the beginning are OK, and I wouldn't have minded if they just forgot about the actual song just played those for the whole four and a half minutes. Might as well, since this mid-tempo pop tune is so forgettable that it's a waste of time anyway.
Down on Love C+
This power ballad threatens to turn into a memorable song, but it doesn't quite make it. It moves at an elephant pace, but those well polished power chords lends it an aura of grandiosity that I cannot ignore. It's just a shame that they couldn't have come up with a better melody, because this thing comes across as so danged bland. A lot of wasted potential. And time. You know, my 20s are slipping through my fingers!
Two Different Worlds D
Can't Foreigner at least have refrained from the cliches in their song titles? I want to turn this off before it even starts to play! But anyway... It's my solemn duty to review every single Foreigner song, so here it goes... ARGH! CAN'T THESE GUYS DO SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING?!?!? I really want to go back in time to 1984 and ask these guys what business they have making a lot of money in a creative profession if they aren't bothering to be creative. This stupid mid-tempo pop song tries to be slow and atmospheric, but it's woefully half-hearted, and the melody sucks.
She's Too Tough C+
What a bland rocker! But at least it's upbeat and poppy, which almost makes me forget about that worthless dreck we were exposed to in the previous song. The melody is idiotic and I feel as though my life has been devaluated slightly by listening to it. God, I thought Foreigner sounded dumb in their previous albums but never this dumb. Actually this reminds me of the sort of wannabe rocker I remember listening to in Tommy Shaw solo albums. If you don't know who Tommy Shaw is, then try to keep it that way. Your life is more valuable than mine.
Inside Information (1987)
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Heart Turns To Stone B
This is sort of your typical late '80s bland, polished rocker. It's well-produced, slick and generally makes an OK listen, but the melody is plastic and completely forgettable. There is a guitar solo in the final third, but even that seems bored and routine. This is something to listen to if you just want to pass the time.
Can't Wait C+
It starts out way too slow and it has my attention span immediately starting to drift away. But then these guys inject this huge sounding chorus in there that manages to jolt me awake. I want to say that the chorus was a little misplaced, but I can't help but liking it since it actually gets me to pay attention. The melody is completely hookless of course.
Say You Will B+
Oh, finally something with hooks! I actually still remember how this chorus goes after I'm through listening to it. Of course the verses are as bland and hookless as Foreigner usually is, BUT IT HAS A CHORUS! Even with the chorus, though, this is a pretty lame song. The instrumentation is boring and plasticy as it gets. Yeah. Bouncy keyboards. Woowoo.
I Don't Want to Live Without You D+
The one nice thing about reviewing those solo-Styx albums is that they gave me the definitive look at the nadir of '80s pop music. This boring, toneless '80s ballad sounds exactly like it belongs on one of those albums. It's drab. It's boring. It's worse than Phil Collins. To its credit, I will say that this song isn't bad enough to offend me to my core (I think I'm immune to bad '80s ballads by now), the fact remains that this song sucks.
Counting Every Minute C+
Thank god for the banal rockers! Hearing those stadium drums and Huey Lewis & The News electric guitars sound nice to my ears compared to that horrible ballad I was subject to previously. This is fun in a stupid way, which is probably what Foreigner ought to have been concentrating more on at this point in their career. Lou Gramm sounds so stupid singing that chorus that I'm tempted to head-bang with it. Hell yeah!
Inside Information D-
I'm glad it's 2010 right now, because I were listening to this anytime closer to 1987, I would want to strangle this song. Still, even as I'm living in the future, I would at least like to give this song a death stare. This is electro-garbage plain and simple. They come up with such an obnoxiously canned drum machine loop and then litter it up with the world's most toneless brass-orchestra keyboard groove of all time. Blech.
The Beat of My Heart B
These song titles suck, too. I mean, just looking through the track listening should be a dead giveaway. But at least this little song is a somewhat decent bit of cock-rock. It has a bouncy, rather catchy riff that's played with appealingly dark guitars. Lou Gramm over-sings it of course, but that doesn't seem to phase me as a listener in this one case. Hardly anything I'll care to remember after I'm through with this review and that spacey 40-second intro was a total waste of time, but this is enjoyable as a whole.
Face to Face C+
OK, they took the bass-line directly from “Material Girl,” but that's a pretty cool bass-line innit? It's a shame that they couldn't have come up with a melody that has anything even remotely resembling hooks in here. I mean, this melody is so bland that it sounds like Gramm is making it up on the spot, but had the general ambition to make it sound like “Flashdance.” There is a pretty awkward key-change in here... It sort of jumps out at you... Yikes...
Out of the Blue D
WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR BALLADS?!?!???!? ...Man, I know I said that I was immune to bad '80s music, but maybe I was wrong. While this ballad doesn't start out too awfully, it just drags on and on and on seemingly forever and I start to notice that it has been eating at my brain like some sort of acid. It's just over four and a half minutes long, but it seems longer. The melody is utterly toneless including the Michael Bolton esque chorus, and the synth heavy instrumentation is as bland as it gets. Blughghhh!
A Night to Remember C
It might have been a night to remember, but this song isn't exactly one to remember. We're back to the rockers at least, but even this is boring. It's just your ordinary '80s rocker with heavy keyboards, a pulsating bass, flashy lead vocals, barely any real guitars. It's not excruciating, but it's also extremely bland. It doesn't even have a good enough riff to inspire me to tap my foot to it at least a little bit.
Unusual Heat (1991)
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Only Heaven Knows B-
At least they got away from synth-pop and back to guitar-pop! That's not a huge surprise since everyone who went synth-pop in the '80s returned to guitar-oriented music. ...And this one isn't bad, either. It's a little bland and forgettable (thus nowhere even close to the relatively explosive openers of their three '70s albums), but that's also not a surprise. These are aging rock stars making a guitar-pop album in the '90s. THEY ALL WERE BLAND!
Lowdown and Dirty B-
In a way, these guys are making my life easy. I don't have to think too much about what to write in these track reviews, because there isn't a whole lot to think about. This is a guitar-oriented rocker that's clearly oriented to their stadium-rock past. The only way I call if songs like this are any good is if I find myself wanting to sing along with it. ...Unfortunately, I can't claim to do this. This is a mildly fun toe-tapper, but completely forgettable. NEXT!
I'll Fight For You C+
Uh oh, there's a little remnant of their synthy power-ballad immediate past here... There's just a tiny mid-'80s keyboard detectable in the background. And then of course the loud-ass drums, but those stuck around for a few years in the early '90s. Surprisingly, this being a Foreigner power-ballad, it doesn't completely bore me. The melody of course is forgettable. (Good thing I did some research the moments before I released this review! That's not Lou Gramm doing the oversinging; it's another oversinging bastard by the name of Johnny Edwards. I'll just assume that's not the same John Edwards who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife. Why did Lou Gramm even temporarily leave this band? What the hell could he have been doing that was so important?)
Moment of Truth A-
I have no idea what songs from this album Foreigner released as singles, but this sounds like it might have been one of them. This isn't quite as good as one of their hits from the old days, but there's a little bit of take-off when they get to the chorus, and this song normally piqued my ears as I made cursory listens to this album. Musically, this is another ordinary guitar-oriented pop-rocker just like they did in the '70s, so I don't have to describe it to you!
Mountain of Love B
Don't reading these song titles inspire the hell out of you? I mean, sometimes you can just tell that an album will be great just by reading the titles of the songs... (sheesh!) Surprisingly, this song isn't too bad either. Instead of making those power-ballads and arena-rocker, this is more like a crunchy guitar, smoky nightclub bar-rocker. If I may be so bold, Foreigner would have been far better off capitalizing on this sound all along. They can get thy foot tapping, and they can crunch those generic riffs as well as anyone.
Ready For the Rain C-
Echthchkthch... Power ballad... At least this is orchestrated with guitars instead of those dreadful synthesizers, but I still think their power ballads are lame as hell. The melody is really boring apart from the chorus, which follows that cookie cut-out formula to be “uplifting,” except I never actually found that formula to be uplifting. ...If you guys do another songs like this I will revoke your visas. Yes, I have power over that.
When the Night Comes Down B-
OH MY GOD, DID YOU GUYS NOT LISTEN TO ME?!?!??!?!?!??!?! NO MORE POWER BALLADS!!!!!!!!!!!!! To be fair, this is a mite better than the previous one, but that's not saying much. Maybe the worst thing about this power ballad is it sounds like it was written in the mid-'80s except, since it was 1991, they weren't allowed to heavily orchestrate it with synthesizers. Not that I like those synthesizers, but this seems somewhat under-orchestrated. That plain electric piano doesn't do enough damage, and all they do to make up for it are loud drums. No guitar floods or anything. ...There are vocal floods in the chorus, which aren't actually too bad. As a whole, I guess this thing generates enough energy for me to like it more than not.
Safe in My Heart C
What is with all these ballads? Haven't we had enough of those? To be fair, this isn't soul-sucking like a few of their '80s ballads were, but I still find this to be fairly boring. A key change in the bridge to the chorus piques my ear every once in awhile, but that's about all there is to report about this. It's an ordinary, over-sung power ballad that had might as well not exist.
No Hiding Place B-
Alright, back to the generic rockers! I never thought I would be excited about that, but with Foreigner, anything is possible (apart from releasing an album that doesn't suck). The drums are loud, the vocals are flamboyant, the guitars are cocky... Hell yeah.
Flesh Wound C
Nope, that C doesn't indicate this is another power ballad. This is a mid-tempo rocker that bores the crap out of me, apart from a mildly catchy chorus. This is a lot like the classic songs of their past like “Double Vision,” except it's not very much fun and that chorus (as much as they might try) can't get as infectious as their classics.
Unusual Heat A-
Well I like this one. Some of you might call this a guilty pleasure, but I don't use that term. This is a genuinely likable guitar stadium pop-rocker with a memorable chorus, cool bass groove, nice crunchy guitars, and it actually puts Edward's dastardly over-singing chops to good use. I tap my foot with this most agreeably indeed.
Mr. Moonlight (1994)
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Under the Gun B+
The good news is that this sounds like an entirely decent Foreigner song! The bad news: What is a decent Foreigner song, anyway? As you'd expect, this song is constructed using tame guitars that are fashioned to sound mean, and it's put to a pop melody... Fortunately, the pop melody is catchy, and I enjoy listening to these guitars. I wish it wasn't so slowly paced, but Foreigner's songs were pretty slow back in the '70s, and old age is just going to make them slower.
This is an adult contemporary song that's only one notch up from the blandness that I associate with Christian contemporary music. The main difference is that Lou Gramm is a singer who seems more capable than most other singers to convincingly deliver this sort of song. The instrumentation is stale and strive to do nothing even remotely creative or interesting. At least in the previous song, they feigned “meanness.” There is some appeal to the cheeseball adult contemporary melody, but after listening to this song more than once, the appeal wears off quickly.
Until the End of Time D+
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I was buying your adult contemporary doodah in the previous song because Lou Gramm could cheese it up with the best of them, and at least it had a rhythm to dance to. Gramm is still cheesing the hell out of this, but there's no rhythm to dance to. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a power ballad. Again, not a huge difference between this and what you hear on the CCM radio.
White Lie C-
Oh man. I'm not claiming these songs don't have melodies that seem more or less competent, but they are so devoid of personality that they completely suck. There's no other way to put that. Of course, there's nothing interesting about the instrumentation. Even that acoustic-ish guitar solo midway through is boring.
Big Dog B
I don't even like writing these song titles. Listening to them sing the lyrics are even worse. Gramm (I presume) growls these lyrics in a low, rumbly voice: (“Big dogs scratching at the door / this big dog don't want you around no more / a mighty big dog and he bites / raawr”) I mean, it's hilarious in a Spinal Tap way, except there aren't nearly enough double entendres, but I'm assuming they were being serious. Other than that, the guitars adopt a gritter tone and play a generic riff that captures my ear more than most of these other songs. They bring in a saxophonist partway through, which gives me something else to listen to, which in a Foreigner song is unexpected and welcome.
Real World D+
Wow! I just looked up the MTV reality series on Wikipedia, and this show is still going on! What do you know? ...You know that I must be bored if I sunk so low that I'm looking up The Real World on Wikipedia! While this song might not be quite as gut-wrenching than “Until the End of Time,” it makes up for its losses by being extremely boring. This is one of those Foreigner songs that are played big as though to be epic and dramatic, but it doesn't capture my attention in the slightest, and it all ends up sounding like a big plastic show. Like the MTV program.
All I Need to Know B-
My brain turned off after the last song. This happens occasionally when I review albums, and it's more to Foreigner's credit that I lasted until the seventh track! However, as far as sterile pop-rock music goes, this isn't too bad. The melody is quasi-hooky, and Lou Gramm's plasticy vocals don't make a terrible listen. He's kind of like Phil Collins. Boring but nice.
Hole in My Soul C-
What a coincidence! That's what I'm feeling right now from listening to a '90s Foreigner album! While this song is just as polished and plastic as everything else on this album, this one just seems to have an especially difficult time catching fire. The melody is delivered choppily and is entirely devoid of hooks. At least the adult contemporary songs had those appealing cookie-cutter melodies. I'm not sure why they thought singing the chorus with all those pauses in between words was a good idea: ( “Heeey! Without! You! I! Will! Fall! Through! The! Hole! In! My! Soul!”). I mean, a bad actor usually lets out at least three words before making an unnatural pause.
I Keep Hoping D
Yes, that's my problem, too. I keep hoping that Foreigner will turn into a real band! (Actually, I'm glad that Foreigner never turned into a good band... I review way too many good bands!) This power ballad is total crap. It's like a Whitney Houston power ballad (with perhaps some gospel influences) except it's crap. And it's not like I care much for Whitney Houston. I mean, saying the words “power ballad” and “Foreigner” in the same sentence should be enough to illicit severe vomiting. If your keyboard and monitor is all pukey right now, I apologize.
Running the Risk C+
Has Foreigner ever taken a risk? NO!!!!! The funny thing about this song is it has that sounds right out of a bland '80s montage. Except it was no longer the '80s! That said, I would much rather listen to bland '80s montage music than '90s plastic adult contemporary music. The problem with this song is the melody is bland and, of course, over sung. No huge surprise there.
Hand on My Heart D+
More like hand on the heart and then grabbing it out of the chest cavity and then throwing it in my face. That's what Foreigner has done to rock 'n' roll to me. Wait a minute, this isn't rock 'n' roll! Rock 'n' roll makes you rock, and it also makes you roll. This bland adult contemporary ballad with a poor title and a fake vocal performance is as dead as a dead fish. Therefore, it's not rock 'n' roll.
Can't Slow Down (2009)
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Can't Slow Down B
Is that supposed to be ironic? Foreigner slowed down so much that they hadn't released an album since 1995! I suppose at least the pace of this song isn't that slow. It's on the upper end of mid-tempo. This sounds like it was meant to be a “Double Vision” clone, what with it being the title track, opening the album, and sounding almost exactly like it. The main difference being that the melody isn't very hooky, so don't expect to be singing this at the top of your lungs in your car ride to work.
In Pieces B-
Boy, I am being really nice. If Paul McCartney ever wrote something that sounded like this, I'd take the nearest plane to England, drive up to his mansion, and show him what's what. The texture they produce at the very beginning of this is sort of nice, I suppose. Those rumbly drums and arpeggiating guitars are kind of nice. But then things go downhill the first millisecond Kelly Hansen starts to sing, particularly in the chorus where he sings loudly. Except his voice is all plastic and no passion. He reminds me of Michael Bolton singing power ballads, except he's worse. The chorus is the worst. It's generic and not catchy whatsoever. Why did I give this song a B- again? The texture at the beginning of the song, dammit! Plus, I happen to know this album gets waaaay worse than this.
When It Comes To Love D-
For example, this song! I was really hoping that plastic, generic, disgustingly radio friendly power ballads like this went out of style in the early '90s. ...Maybe they did, and Foreigner were just out of touch. It would make sense. I brought up Michael Bolton in the previous song, but that applies more here. The melody sounds so generic that I checked Wikipedia to see if Diane Warren wrote it. She didn't, but she wrote about a billion songs that sound exactly like it. God, this song even has a bedroom soul saxophone in it. Shoot me.
Living in a Dream D+
This album is so terrible that I'm only to the fourth track of it, and I'm already looking forward for it to end. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't such a by-the-book composition with a canned melody, boring electric guitar solo, and an extremely simple drum rhythm. I swear, the only saving grace these songs have is that they're less than four minutes long.
I Can't Give Up F
A piano ballad. (“So many times I've thought about / what my life would be / without you, without you / It would be easier, I know / but being all alone / what would I do, what would I do / Though you put me through it all / pushed my back against the wall / I need you / And I can't give up on you now / I've come too far to try / to get you out of my mind / I can't give up on you now / you're my heart, you're my soul / and I won't let you go / I can't give up on you now, can't give up on you now.”) Did I just make you throw up? Surely Michael Bolton isn't this bad. It's been awhile since one of his albums has graced my ears. But he can't be that bad. Even the ones Diane Warren wrote.
Oh thank goodness. Rock 'n' roll! The chorus is terrible and generic, but I don't care. It has ELECTRIC GUITARS AND A QUICK RIFF!!! Is it infectious? ...Almost! Am I tapping my foot? ...Yes! Are the lyrics stupid? ...Probably. I'm not going to pay attention to those this time. Give me that old time rock 'n' roll! (Boy, that Bob Seger was a genius!)
Give Me a Sign B-
This one's OK. This band basically relinquished its right to have thoroughly written track reviews with “I Can't Give Up,” but here I go again. This is an attempt at gospel-rock, and they definitely got the loudness of it right. The vocal hook needed some work, but it's upbeat and toe-tapping, so I'm not going to harp on them for that. ...Have you noticed that all these songs have been fade-outs? Oh, I forgot. You're not crazy enough to listen to this piece of garbage.
I'll Be Home Tonight D-
(“Every night, I've been own my own / I dream of you coming home / those empty hours spent missing you / are over now, did what I had to / I live from day to day / try to find my way / now I need to know you care / will you still be there / cause I'll be home tonight / tell me you'll be waiting / it's been way too long / yeeeahhh / you've been on my mind / and my heart has been aching / ever since I've been gone / so turn on the light / cause I'll be home tonight.”) That about sums it up. It's better than “I Can't Give Up,” because it has more guitars.
Too Late C-
Too late to redeem yourselves, Foreigner. If all you had pent up inside all these years was generic rock songs and horrible Diane Warren-esque ballads, then why did you even bother? I mean, wasn't the money touring around all these years on the coattails of your old radio hits enough for you? ...Some of the fans might be interested in this particular song, because it sounds exactly like “Cold as Ice” except without the infectious hits. It has a bouncy piano, though! It makes me want to listen to “Big Shot.” Billy Joel is 100 percent awesome.
You know, the funny thing about this album is that some of these songs start off sounding like they won't be crappy. This one starts up with some bongo drums and a bubbly, vaguely-Latin synthesizer loop. But then the song completely loses it when Mr. Personality starts to sing. It's not that he's terrible to listen to, but he's just blehhhh, and it doesn't help that these guys had long lost the art of vocal hooks. Not that they were that good at it to begin with. The verses section was bad enough, but the chorus is just a wall of nothingness. Bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh. This album is as horrible as everything else at Wal-Mart is. Except for that one time I bought a copy of Lost in Translation there for $5. I might as well have shoplifted it for that price.
As Long As I Live F
Power ballad with a piano. God, I hate these. You won't even know the power of its suckiness until you've sat through a bunch of them in a row. (“I see you in my dreams / you feel so close to me / there's nowhere in this world / that I would rather be / forever in this moment / forever in this dream / cause baby every hour away from you / is only a waste of time / I wanna give my love to you / ALLLLL MAHHH LIIIIIIFFFFEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! / As long as I live / Every day and night / I'll do anything / To keep our love alive / that's all I can / that's all I can give / as long as I live”)
Angel Tonight D
The only thing this song has going for it is it's not another one of these crappy power ballads. It has a rhythm. It doesn't have a vaguely ear-catching texture at the beginning of it. Mr. Personality gives another generic faux-metal performance. I'm just going to type random letters now. Oiheioriorporpoothpothport
Fool For You Anyway B
Holy crap! This almost sounds like a real song! It starts out with a bouncy acoustic guitar riff, and an almost catchy melody. They give it another gospelish presentation, and pretty much get away with it without me groaning. They also played this song on their debut album. I originally gave it a C+. There's inflation for you.
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