Classic Album – Foreigner – 4 (CD review)

Foreigner – 4 (1982) – CD review
– Foreigner’s last great album, 4, finds them in transition; they’d always used synthesizers sparingly (see “Starrider” from their debut), but now the instrument was being used to great effect.  Take, for example, the excellent “Waiting For a Girl Like You”: this isn’t the typical power ballad; with its descending keyboard line, it creates a haunting mood.  More recognition needs to go to chief writer, guitarist Mick Jones, who crafted some of the greatest rock songs of all time.

“Jukebox Hero” could be the best “boy becomes a rock star” song since “Johnny B. Goode,” with its thumping rhythm that builds to the anthemic chorus.  The album’s best song (and possibly Foreigner’s greatest moment) is “Urgent,” built around a simple, repetitive riff, pulsating keyboards and single-note guitar solo, the song creates a hypnotic effect.  Then comes Motown legend Junior Walker for the sax solo and he takes it into the stratosphere.  Rumor has it that he recorded it in one take.

“Luanne” and “Break It Up” are good rockers and “Girl on the Moon” is another underrated mood piece.  While not perfect (the opening song, “Night Life,” is a clunker, and an odd choice to start the record),  4 does showcase a band at the peak of its powers.  With its next release, Agent Provocateur, the band would plunge headlong into big eighties production and synth drums, and the results would be disappointing. –Tony Peters