Great Rock Albums of 1985: Foreigner- Agent Provocateur

While in 1985, most of the world was excited about Foreigner releasing their first studio in nearly four years, I was a little skeptical. My skepticism was based on the logic that my final memories from Foreigner “4” was their famous ballad, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and when my introduction to the new “Agent Provocateur” album was another ballad, I concluded that Foreigner had gone the way of REO Speedwagon and was simply content to achieve commercial success through ballads. No matter how good everyone thought “I Want to Know What Love Is” and it is a good song, I had prematurely drawn the conclusion that the new album would be mainly ballads and that Foreigner had foregone their hard rock roots which had brought them so much success in the past.

Fortunately, my sister did buy the album and gave me a listen to it and my skepticism was removed. Let me be frank, in my mind, “Agent Provocateur” comes nowhere close to classics like my personal favourite, “Double Vision,” but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album. True, there are more ballads on here than I would have liked, the previously mentioned single and “That Was Yesterday,” another song which brought Foreigner top 40 success. Plus, “Growing Up the Hard Way,” while not a ballad is over done with the synthesizer and I can’t help thinking how much better that song would have been if there was a stronger power chord from a guitar on it. However, there is evidence a plenty on “Agent Provocateur” to show that the band hadn’t totally forgotten where they came from.

Opening track, “Tooth and Nail” dispels any ideas that “Agent Provocateur” is going to be an album of ballads. It does its job of hooking the listener and is a good steady rock track. Even though the next three tracks after are the ballads and synth pop singles, one doesn’t lose interest as that opening tracks gives hope that there is more like that on the album. “Reaction to Action” does exactly that and it has the best guitar solo on the album. Therefore, it’s awarded the hidden gem for the album. I have a theory about the track “Stranger in My Own House.” I theorize that Lou Gramm and Mick Jones worried that people like me would think this album would be chuck full of ballads, so they recorded this song with that in mind. “Stranger in My Own House” is a good hard rocking track, probably the hardest on the album with another cool guitar solo. But I think they try too hard to be hard rock with Gramm doing more screaming than singing. While it’s a cool track, I want to say to Lou, “Relax man, you don’t have to prove you can still rock.”

“A Love in Vain” may return to the ballads but there is some good keyboards work on the track and a little guitar making a good 70s style progressive rock sounding song. Maybe that one should have been released as a single as it’s better than it successor, “Down on Love” which was. This one, while not bad, has too much of an 80s synth pop sound for me. “Two Different Worlds” is a definite ballad and it sort of combines the previous two tracks without the synth pop which is replaced with a decent guitar solo. That leaves the closer, “She’s Too Tough,” and though it brings the album full circle, the song reminds me too much of the Kenny Loggins single, “Danger Zone.”

Track Listing:

  1. Tooth and Nail
  2. That Was Yesterday
  3. I Want to Know What Love Is
  4. Growing Up the Hard Way
  5. Reaction to Action
  6. Stranger in My Own House
  7. A Love in Vain
  8. Down on Love
  9. Two Different Worlds
  10. She’s Too Tough

Foreigner

Lou Gramm- lead vocals, percussion

Mick Jones- guitar, synthesizer, keyboards, backing vocals

Rick Wills- bass, backing vocals

Dennis Elliot- drums

Like with Heart, the question here is, “Was Agent Provocateur” a sell out album for Foreigner?” Okay, they did have a number one single on it and while I might not think so, many other people out there did and it’s probably why it didn’t sell as big as some of their previous. My belief on the lack of sales was that Foreigner were trying to be all thing to all people and in a 1980s society which like to put things into nice neat categories, that didn’t sit well.

Next post: Marillion- Misplaced Childhood

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1985: Foreigner- Agent Provocateur”

  1. I used to have that !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Source: Great Rock Albums of 1985: Foreigner- Agent Provocateur | 80smetalman’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfect and smooth.

    Liked by 1 person

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