on May 19, 2003
It's the fourth album, with only four bandmembers left....may as well call it "4"! 1981's "4" was the commercial peak for Foreigner, not only becoming their best-selling album, but also one of the best-selling albums in Atlantic Records' history. Foreigner had a lot to prove with "4," having to bounce back from the disappointing sales of their previous album, "Head Games," and the band itself shrinking down from a sextet to a quartet (those pesky "creative differences" were said to be the blame). But the remaining members, singer Lou Gramm, guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Rick Wills, and drummer Dennis Elliot, with the aid of some excellent studio musicians (including keyboard wiz Thomas Dolby and sax extraordinaire Junior Walker), delivered a rock classic with many hits to spare. "4" is such an enduring Foreigner album because the songs ROCK so good and so memorably. The powerful "Juke Box Hero," the great rock w/saxophone rave-up "Urgent," and the gorgeous "Waiting For A Girl Like You" are all Foreigner signatures, and the band serve up more great tunes like "Break It Up," "Luanne," "Woman In Black" and "Girl On The Moon." The guitars crunch, the keyboards are heavenly, Lou Gramm's strong lead vocals are incredible, the tunes are all melodic & catchy, and the album's production shines like a newly-waxed floor. Foreigner's "4" is without question the band's masterpiece, and one of rock's greatest albums.
on June 2, 2003
What was famous in the 1970s & 80s as AOR is more the subject of ridicule today, being a way of conjuring up old memories courtesy of songs that couldn't & wouldn't stay out of your head no matter how unoriginal or catchy they were. Bands like Styx, Journey & REO Speedwagon (in some eyes, the unholy trinity of AOR) are now groups one admits to hating in public, but liking in secret. One AOR band that I'm sure is still "alright" to admit to liking is Foreigner.
Those aforementioned three bands started out making music that was somewhat more "respectable" (jazz fusion, progressive rock, etc.), but languished for years before finally finding success with something a little more accessible to the public. But Foreigner began their career making rock music with more polish than Mop N' Glo, and yet made no apologies. It was because of that they still remain reputable in this AOR-free climate of today's popular music. Even now, their crowning acheivement is their 4th album, appropriately titled 4 (1981).
By this time, Foreigner had recorded 3 platinum albums and were one of the biggest bands in the world. When they recorded 4, only four members were left & as a result, the music had to be augmented with session players. Have no fear though, 4 still contains music to rock the arenas with as well as apply to what is now called soft rock radio. That combination resulted in Foreigner's largest-selling album of their career with 5 hit singles & a rare high-selling album that is considered to be one of the greatest ever made.
The first single was the scorching rocker "Urgent", with a smoking saxophone from Motown legend Junior Walker & a vocal from master Lou Gramm that literally oozes sexual frustration. The unholy trinity of AOR could only dream of creating a song this delightfully raunchy. Peaking at #4, the stage was set for 4's full-scale assault on the pop charts for the next year or so.
If Lou thought he was in need of some quick satisfaction on that song, the second single was a little more commitment-minded: "Waiting For A Girl Like You". The song topped out at a respectable #2, yet stayed there for 10 weeks thanks to the juggernaut called "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John. However, the ethereally beautiful keyboards by future solo artist Thomas Dolby help make Foreigner's song much more memorable & a surefire heart-melter even 20 years later.
The third single "Juke Box Hero" is the one classic rock radio still plays regularly to this day, despite the fact it only peaked at #26. However, it shows the way Lou can move from romantic balladry to strutting hard rock in a heartbeat. Mick Jones' guitar work is among his best, proving that while Lou may have been the voice of Foreigner, he wasn't its only talented member.
The rockers "Break It Up" & "Luanne" were the other singles taken from 4 and although they only peaked at merely respectable positions (#26 & #75, respectively), they are no less strong than their more famous predecessors. As for the album tracks, they are just as stellar & helped make 4 the blockbuster album it became. Whether it was rockers like "Night Life", "Woman In Black" or "I'm Gonna Win" or ballads like "Don't Let Go", Foreigner could do both fantastically whereas most AOR bands only found success with the latter.
But the album track that is the most memorable and could easily have been the 6th hit is "Girl On The Moon". Lou Gramm recorded this song when he had a cold, thus explaining the rather rough performance he gave on this haunting number. Also, it just happened to be recorded on the night John Lennon was shot, making it ironic that such great art can be made even during a time of tragedy. In fact, the band could even hear the sirens of police cars arriving on the scene as the song was being recorded. That alone should make hearing the song a humbling experience for the listener.
4 would eventually sell more than 10 million copies by the time it ran its course, and is probably still selling high today. While Foreigner has itself not been so lucky in recent years, at least they can take heart in knowing that they've created a true masterpiece like 4. It was their most successful album, but definitely not their biggest single, which would come on their next LP. Who knows, with bands like Journey seeing a bit of a resurgence in their popularity (even if it is on the touring circuit), Foreigner might still have their best work in them. A new album is said to be in the works, and it just might be like 4: a record that in spite of its title is more like a 5 in terms of its greatness.
on October 30, 2005
Are you looking for a great rock album(CD), look no further then Foreigner 4. This album has it all : rockin' guitars and silky smooth ballads. Every song on this album is good. "Urgent & Woman In Black" being the best songs(my favorite)and "Luanne" the worst song(my least favorite).
I love this album! Definitely, a top 5 of all time! I've gone through an 8 track, 1 album,2 cassettes & and a CD. I would definitely recommend this CD.
on September 20, 2002
Ah, to be back in the days when rock and roll was just called "rock and roll," instead of the myriad of genres it falls into today. Nowadays, we're bombarded with albums of 15 tracks or more (and only about 3 or 4 of those tracks worth anything. No wonder downloading music for free is so popular). This album came out at a time when you didn't have more than 10 songs per album, although even at that time, only 3 or 4 of them were worth anything. Foreigner "4" changed all that, as every track is a winner. With great rock encompassing slamming guitar riffs along with tuneful vocals, you have a one-stop shopping disc here. Mutt Lange had produced AC/DC's masterpiece "Back in Black" the year before (another rare album with no filler), and this album put him in the stratosphere. In fact, when you look at albums that Mutt's produced, whether it be "Pyromania" or "Come on Over," he's got a pretty high batting average. With the remastered sound, this disc is indispensable, and everyone with an ounce of sense will get it.
In my estimation there are only a few "Classic Rock" (Pop-Rock) albums from the 80's that are worth owning, this is one of them, I have it, and you should too. Sure, there are other good Pop-Rock albums from the 80's, but most I can't stomach in their entirety, as very few stand the test of time. There are no bad songs on this album, and in fact they are all excellent, and not just excellent for their time, but excellent for today. It's now 2007 and this album from 1981 never sounds corny or shrill to me, as so many albums from the 80's do, this album stands the test of time. I certainly think that the listenability of '4' is in large part due to the fact that John "Mutt" Lange was brought in to produce the album, who is arguably the best Rock producer of all time. Yeah, I know Mick Jones was co-producer, but I have no doubt that Lange is the reason '4' turned out to be the revered "Classic Rock" album it is. To date '4' has sold more than six million copies in the US, which is almost as many copies sold as AC/DC's 'Highway To Hell', which Lange also produced. How can you argue with six million copies sold, this is a very good album.
on November 4, 2005
This was one of the first albums I'd ever heard when I was little and I remember getting very excited about this. Until I heard "4", I'd never heard an album where almost every track sounded like it would be an American Top-40 charter. I got the album for the tour de force, "Urgent" which still sounds like a great track today and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the other tracks: "Night Life", "Break It Up", "Luanne" etc. The only "weak" tracks are the last 2 and I personally don't like "Juke Box Hero" as much but overall still a very good album. Now in this version, Rhino has masterfully remastered the tracks for a great sound although I'm not sure the extra 2 tracks do anything to improve upon the overall package. I guess I could always turn the stereo off after "Don't Let Go". The liner notes contain all the lyrics and a great write-up on the genesis of the album. Recommended for 80's rock lovers.
on January 14, 2015
Foreigner is one of those bands that does not have a perfect 5 star album. 4 was as close as they came to a perfect album. I would give this album 4.5 if Amazon allowed its not perfect but it has great songs throughout.
On every Foreigner album I own, each one has several tracks that are filler or has subpar songs on it. The difference between Foreigner and its contemporaries is that the bands singles were some of the best ever recorded for radio. You can call it pop/rock AOR music all you want, the point is Foreigner made some great music, and this album is full of wonderful songs. I would much rather listen to any of the songs on this album than the current dreck on top 40 pop radio where the majority of musicians are talking or rapping rather than actually singing. To me Lou Gramm's voice is fantastic. Like Steve Perry's from Journey you can dislike the guys all you want but they can definitely sing a rock n roll tune.
I would buy this album for the song "Break it Up" alone, that is one of the best radio songs ever in my opinion. 4 has some good rocker tunes on it as well "Night Life" and "Luanne" will get your heartbeat going every time. "Urgent" and "Juke Box Hero" were the big radio hits off the album but most of the other tunes are worth listening to as well. I thought the first half of the album was better than the last half. The first 6 songs on the album were great flowing from one after the other. But on the 2nd side for those that own this album on cassette as well as cd. Songs 7, 8 and 9 I did not really care for. I thought "I'm Gonna Win" was a dud. But I ended up loving the last song off the album "Don't Let Go".
The album contains 3 great songs
Juke Box Hero
Break it Up
4 really good songs
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Don't Let Go
and 3 filler songs
I'm Gonna Win
Girl on the Moon.
Overall I think the album is worth buying I have gotten a lot of use out of this album in my stereo CD player and cassette tape back in the day. The music is signature rock n roll mostly about cars, women, goodtimes etc. If you are looking for deeper music buy something else but if you like any of Foreigners songs. I would definitely pick this album up.
After the disappointing showing of their previous album, Head Games, Foreigner came back strong with the best album of their careers. 4 has it all, strong rockers, power ballads and things in between. "Urgent" was the album's first single and it has a percolating beat that is spurred on by a ravaging sax solo by guest artist Junior Walker. "Jukebox Hero" is a raise your hand, stadium anthem. It starts off with just a pumping bass and thumping drum beat and then crests into a fever pitched ending with a great Lou Gramm vocal. "Break It Up" is another stadium shaking rocker while "Girl On The Moon" has a new-wavish sound that floats along. The song that is the album's most recognizable is "Waiting For A Girl Like You". The song was the band's first real stab at a power ballad and it scores. The song spent an amazing ten weeks at number two in late 1981, being kept out of the top stop mostly by Olivia Newton-John's "Physical". The song did propel the album to number one on the album charts where it spent ten weeks and is the band's lone chart topping album.
on January 29, 2006
Before I begin, I believe I need to clear up a point which annoys me to no end: People who have no love of either a band OR its style of music submitting reviews denegrating an album release. This is not the point of online reviewing; the whole intent of these reviews is for people who like the artist--or at the very least appreciate the style of music this artist plays--to compare the album to the artist's other releases and/or similar releases by artists in the same vein. One can then read objective reviews and decide if the purchase is in line with and/or better than other possibilities.
Having addressed that point, we'll move on to 4 (1981). The name of the album reflects the number of members at the time--stylistic differences had whittled the number of players down to a quartet. In this release we see a continuum of the band's highly accessible and immediate appeal; one simply cannot fault Foreigner for its unique form of polished-yet-brash rock.
Though smoother than the previous, ill-fated Head Games (1979) release (yeah, the one which only sold several million copies), 4 still retains the essence of what makes Foreigner great: Driving yet comfortable rhythms, highly musical guitar work, innovative keyboard riffs and pads, interesting arrangements including wind instruments, and, of course, Lou Gramm (who some of us, myself included, consider the greatest vocalist in the history of rock music). And let's not underestimate Mick Jones's masterful songwriting; without him, there would be no Foreigner.
Generally I would do a song-by-song breakdown, but considering this album seems to be more about quality than quantity for me, I'll suffice with a listing of the songs I consider to be good. Of course these are the ones which are played endlessly on the radio, but then, there's a reason for that: They're priceless treasures. Of course, I'm speaking of "Urgent" and "Juke Box Hero."
The former is the ubiquetous rocker which has served as a radio anthem for decades; in this highly-energetic song we have a supurb saxophone solo performed by none other than Walker Junior. Apparently he had never been party to a studio session because, upon entering the studio, he wondered where the band was!
And the latter is of course a song which will live in infamy, along with Churchill's Iron Curtain and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Except that "Juke Box Hero" isn't near as depressing as all that; indeed, the song tells the story of a young man who, inspired by a performance by a rock band, became a rock star himself. The haunting strains of "He took one guitar" and "Juke box hero" ensure this song will endure for years and years to come.
As far as the other tracks, I have not given them a thorough enough listening yet, so I will likely update this review in the future. So far, they seem to be in the same vein as the remainder of Foreigner material.
I saw my opportunity to own this fine album--along with the first three Foreigner releases--one evening, and I just couldn't pass. All four enjoy excellent remastering and bonus tracks--I'm not so sure these are a real plus, but they are still a nice thought. Overall, I would recommend this release to anyone who likes AOR or just Foreigner specifically (perhaps you're afraid to admit you like AOR because of the annoying elitists who somehow feel superior to us common folk and never miss an opportunity to remind us just how stupid we are for having an opinion on...anything...which differs from their own); really, at $11.00 and change (plus tax), you can't go wrong. It's actually better to buy the first five Foreigner releases at once; no one album is sufficient to explore the brilliance of this band.
on March 10, 2001
Up until this album, Foreigner had been scoring big on many classic rock tracks (you know them) during their first four years of existence. But it was not until "4" that they put out what is absolutely their best album. Pared down to a quartet with guitarist/keyboardist Mick Jones, vocalist Lou Gramm, bassist Rick Wills, drummer Dennis Elliot (augmented by new-wave keyboard whiz, Thomas Dolby, who does a great job by the way), "4" not only represents their fourth album, but their beginning as a quartet.
"4" is what real straight-up Rock And Roll is all about, period. There is not a single bad track on this album. This collection has it all at every speed: hard rock, mid-tempo, an even a good ballad.
The first two tracks kick off the album in a full-rocking mode, the party anthem "Nightlife" and the quintessential hard-rock classic "Juke Box Hero". Much further down the CD are two other killers, "I'm Gonna Win" and "Woman in Black".
The mid-tempo songs are quite lively as well, "Break It Up", the cool and sophisticated "Girl On The Moon", the catchy "Luanne" and the Junior Walker saxaphone-laden hit "Urgent". "Don't Let Go" closes the album on a very upbeat note.
If a rock band is going to do a token ballad for an album, "Waiting For A Girl Like You" is a good example of how it should be done, smooth and not sappy. In turn, it was a big hit, reaching #2 (for 10 weeks in a row !). An unsual chart feat, thanks mostly to Olivia Newton-John's #1 "Physical". What a crime !
When "4" was released in '81, I was 14 and I played this album constantly. My high opinion of this work obvisouly remains unchanged to this day, "4" still holds up today to many Rock And Roll fans.
Regardless of how old you are or what era of rock you prefer, this is a must have album.