Great Rock Albums of 1981: Foreigner- 4
Foreigner’s fourth album has sparked a lot of debate among hard rockers. It has been said that this was where they shifted from their harder rock sound to a more commercial soft sound. The catalyst for this debate was the fact that in 1981, Foreigner’s ballad from “4” made it into the top ten. I remember my African American comrades in arms listening to this song along with their European American counterparts. “Waiting For a Girl Like You” was their biggest hit to date, even going to number one in several countries. In fact, that evening in April 1982, when I was in Israel, the song was the next one above “Centerfold” and if my mind is right on this, “Waiting For a Girl Like You” would have been number 4 in the Israeli pop charts.
So, it is fair to say that Foreigner sold out with this album? I have to say a sincere “NO!” on this one. The very first track, “Night Life” is a right hard rock awakener the way a good opening album track should be. Then there’s my favourite track on the album, “Juke Box Hero.” I love the fact that when Lou Gramm sings “that one guitar,” a guitar power chord kicks in immediately after, nice. The other top forty track on the album “Urgent” is not an abandonment from their hard rock roots. The very first time I heard it, I admit I was a little put off by the sax solo until I remember that my favourite song off the “Double Vision” album has one. What truly confirms to me that this album is a true rocker is the last four songs on the album. All of them good rock tunes and I particularly love the intro on “Woman in Black.” So no, the one ballad on this album doesn’t detract from the hard rock sound that made Foreigner an icon in the late 70s.
1. Night Life
2. Juke Box Hero
3. Break It Up
4. Waiting For a Girl Like You
7. I’m Gonna Win
8. Woman In Black
9. Girl On the Moon
10. Don’t Let Go
Lou Gramm- lead vocals, percussion
Mick Jones- lead, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Rick Wills- bass, backing vocals
Dennis Elliot- drums, backing vocals
Mark Rivera- saxophone on “Urgent” (except solo)
Junior Walker- sax solo
I think that the problem Foreigner had with getting a ballad to number one in the pop charts manifested itself after this album. Like so many bands who achieved the same in the early 80s, they thought they had to keep making chart ballads from then on. I’ll go more into that in due course but right now, let’s enjoy a fine album from Foreigner. “4” is arguably their best album and it’s easy to see why.
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This entry was posted on June 14, 2014 at 8:01 am and is filed under 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags 4, Americans, British, Centerfold, Classic Rock, Double Vision, Foreigner, hard rock, Heavy Rock, power ballads, The 1970s, The 1980s, Waiting For a Girl Like You. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.