Not one, nor two, but three discs come with the new Foreigner album and it’s an impressive look ahead at a band with “No End In Sight” (good) and a chance to get into a live performance featuring the stirring new and current lineup. New may actually be a misnomer at this point as vocalist Kelly Hansen has been with Foreigner for four years now. If you’ve seen the band during that time you’re no doubt aware that this is the best they have ever sounded. Hansen brings a vitality and energy to the group that seems to have awakened everyone else, specifically Mick Jones, Mr. Foreigner himself. Somehow in this new configuration Jones has become a legitimate shredder on guitar. Somehow his virtuosity got buried in the “serve the song” style the band employed for most of its early years. Fact is, Mick kicks ass. Born in the same general area, within a couple of miles from each other in England, in the essentially same time period, the mid-forties, amazingly are Jones, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. The odds of that happening are akin to having a health care deal everyone likes by COB tomorrow. But where Page, Beck and Clapton (not in any particular order) went on to superstardom in their own individual ways, influencing thousands of players in the years to come, Jones became a session player and then moved to France as a member of Johnny Hallyday, that country’s Elvis. Hey, Jones was twenty years old, driving a Porsche and living in Paris with all the responsibility of a teenager with an open credit card. Things came quickly and seductively and Mick was golden…for awhile. But what he needed was a band, a really good rock band. He joined Spooky Tooth, a legit band, but with little recognition. It was in 1976 when he assembled a band of superior talent, three Brits and three Yanks…how about Foreigner? Three of us always will be, no matter where we are. But we feel the world didn’t know of the true talent which lay within until just recently.
Foreigner can be accessed at ForeignerOnLine.com where you can get a taste of what some of the new songs sound like, the album is available, but we’ll dive in and let you check it out if you haven’t had a chance on your own. The third disc is a re-mix album worthy of some attention as you’ll notice the lead vocals have a delightfully different timber. Nice, Kelly. The band continues to develop and grow, but with Jeff Pilson and Thom Gimble on hand there’s long term continuity and musical wizardry with this particular band. Then there’s a completely new album featuring a new songwriting team and a different direction. The album was produced by Marti Frederiksen and Mick’s stepson Mark Ronson, a tremendous vote of confidence for them as Mick has produced the likes of Van Halen and Billy Joel. The DVD of a live show which is included serves as a wakeup call. It’s the real Mick Jones absolutely cementing his rightful place in the pantheon of great Rock guitarists. Don’t believe us? Check out “Juke Box Hero” as it segues into “Whole Lotta Love”. Or “Urgent”. What a treat it is to see him really let go.
Talk about a nice package, this is a compelling release by band at a peak period in their storied career. Join us for Mick Jones and Kelly Hansen on the next ROCKLINE!