Foreigner 4 on Numbered Edition 180g LP
#1 1981 Album Teems With Hits: “Urgent,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Juke Box Hero”
Want to be a juke box hero? Here’s your chance. Featuring Mutt Lange’s spotless production, contributions from Motown legend Junior Walker and new-wave icon Thomas Dolby, no less than three huge singles, and Foreigner’s most economical performances, 4 is classic-rock nirvana, a model of crystalline pop-rock melodies and lighter-flicking balladry. More than six million copies later, the 1981 record is still rightly discussed as a front-to-back masterpiece of precision, power, and economy. It’s an album that demands to be experienced in the highest-possible fidelity.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes, MoFi’s 180g LP presents 4 in a room-filling, stadium-big sound that simply crushes what’s heard on all prior versions. Replete with energetic rockers such as “Urgent,” “Night Life,” and “Woman In Black,” the record benefits from a sonic facelift that opens up the previously compressed dynamics, expands the dimensions of the soundstage, dials in a clear path to the instrumental images, and erases the ceiling that pressed down on Lou Gramm’s superhuman vocals. For the first time, Lange’s obsessive, detail-oriented production can be enjoyed in all its splendid glory.
Fresh off blockbuster success with AC/DC’s Back In Black, Lange uses his magic touch on 4, pairing with guitarist Mick Jones who, armed with the best batch of riffs of his career, shared the producer’s sentiment for discipline, efficiency, and cleanliness. And so, on crisp tunes like “Break It Up,” pianos and hard-hitting guitars share the same space without ever impinging on one another or overstepping boundaries. The winning formula also propels Top 5 hits like the wildly funky “Urgent,” sent to new heights by Walker’s dazzling saxophone solo, and the touching “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” a crossover smash that introduced Foreigner to soft-rock and adult-pop audiences.
Simply stated, 4 has everything: Rowdy frustration-releasing cuts, fiery rock n’ roll tunes, heartfelt torch songs, and synth-drenched pop numbers. The playing throughout positively smokes, as the one-two punch of Gramm and Jones lands with both emotional and musical impact every time. There’s not a single wasted note. And, reduced to a quartet, Foreigner seems bent on making more with less, just as Lange does with the polished production. This is 42 minutes of hard-rocking bliss.