Just last week, we reported that Just in time for Valentine’s Day Foreigner (via earMUSIC) were to release “I Want To Know What Love Is – The Ballads”. A part of me (the very much addicted to Rock of Ages part) was pleased at this news. The other part, the one that has heard “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You”so often that I feel that the sugary sweet balladry of Foreigner has hidden from me what is considered one of the greatest AOR bands of the last 30 plus years. To make matters worse, I’ve never really seen the point of reviewing compilations. So what was I to make of this release?
Featuring 14 tracks previously never released on one album of Foreigner’s best and most timeless ballads (and, of course, “I Want To Know What Love Is” originally released on 1984’s multi platinum album Agent Provocateur), the tracks on the album also include “Long, Long Way From Home” from 1977’s self-titled debut album, as well as some modern masterpieces of their most recent albums Can’t Slow Down from 2010 and Acoustique from 2011, all of which are state-of-the-art new recordings featuring Foreigner lead singer Kelly Hansen. What a voice Mr. Hansen has – as I listened to the album it became clear why Mick Jones first chose him as the voice of modern Foreigner. The perfect balance of rock “balls” with a clarity that enables him to sound, to me at least, as if he was the only man to sing these songs. Coupled with that, I was delighted to see the inclusion of my favourite Mick Jones composition “The Flame Still Burns”, originally released on the Still Crazy soundtrack (possibly the greatest rock movie ever made!). This version, along with the song “Save Me”, are worth the purchase of the record alone – not to mention the other tracks (and the bonus disc if you by the Special Edition).
The new recordings sound current (although, in places, the drum sound doesn’t quite float my boat) and provide just the right tone. Moreover, the acoustic versions here are fantastic. Such a great collection that I can’t wait for the upcoming tour to hit the UK shores when, I am sure, the band will provide the UK with more of their rock numbers to counter balance the romance on show here.
So, if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other you won’t go wrong with this one. Embracing over thirty years of award-winning creativity, “I Want To Know What Love Is – The Ballads” will be released in the UK on Monday February 3rd in two different editions: as a standard jewel case, and as a 2CD Special Edition-digipak. The Special Edition release is a must-have for all the die-hard Foreigner fans. Produced by noted Foreigner bass guitarist, Jeff Pilson, in December 2013, the bonus disc contains previously unreleased performances of all the hits and fan favourites, recorded from an acoustic show for the German radio station SWR1 in July 2013.
The album precedes Foreigner’s April 2014 UK Tour with special guests Europe and FM, which kicks off Thursday April 3rd at Manchester o2 Apollo, followed by dates in Newcastle, Glasgow, Nottingham, Sheffield, Portsmouth, Bristol, London and Wolverhampton. Tickets can be booked from Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Foreigner will also play two Irish dates with special guests FM at Dublin Olympia (March 31) and Belfast Waterfront Hall Auditorium (April 1).