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Foreigner: I Want To Know What Love Is - The Ballads

What with singer Kelly Hansen stating that there's little time, or sense, in Foreigner making a new record, and that their previous Acoustique contains more than a smattering of rather similar sounding content to this new compilation, you have to ask exactly what "14 tracks previously never released on one album" means in terms of value for Foreigner-fan money? However, let's be kind and concentrate on the music contained on the rather cumbersomely (and erroneously) titled I Want To Know What Love Is - The Ballads album.

The aforementioned Hansen really has to go down alongside Bruce Dickinson, Brian Johnson and Sammy Hagar as one of the most successful replacement vocalists Rock has ever heard, with the ex-Hurricane man more than ably stepping into the rather enormous shoes of Lou Gramm. Live his energy and enthusiasm, married to an assured delivery and impressive range, have found him gaining plaudits from all quarters, while his one and only album of new material with the band, Can't Slow Down, was a country mile better than anyone dared hope.

So here we have a collection of straight reinterpretations and interesting reworks of classic Foreigner, sitting surprisingly comfortably next to six from Can't Slow Down. Of the other eight, it has to be said that Hansen really does thoroughly convince on the likes of "Waiting For A Girl Like You" and "I Want To Know What Love Is", although even with sparkly new recordings, beating the originals was never going to happen. Where the album really delivers though is through "Feels Like The First Time" which positively thrives as an acoustic number, "Say You Will" which gains gravitas and poise via piano, a capella vocals and a neat swing, and "Double Vision" which captivates with what sounds like a mandolin taking the lead on occasion. "Fool For You Anyway" surprises by shining as a Soulful horn infused piece of R&B.

So in the end the strike rate here is impressively high, with the rerecorded and reworked tracks all having merit and interest, however with the press sheet rightly claiming this album is just in time for Valentine's Day, there's no denying that it may not be exactly aimed at the Foreigner diehard and in that light, there's maybe a market for this release. Whoever is enticed to part with cash for it will find a band reinvigorated, although those with an extensive Foreigner collection may struggle to find a reason to actually play it over what they've already got. There is a special edition digipack version featuring a bonus disc of "previously unreleased performances of all the hits and fan favourites, recorded from an acoustic show for the German radio station SWR1 in July 2013", which sounds appealing and may add value, but not having had the opportunity to hear it I can't comment either way on that.

Track Listing
1. I Want To Know What Love Is
2. In Pieces
3. Waiting For A Girl Like You
4. When It Comes To Love
5. Feels Like The First Time
6. Say You Will
7. The Flame Still Burns
8. Save Me
9. I Can't Give Up
10. Fool For You Anyway
11. As Long As I Live
12. I'll Be Home Tonight
13. Double Vision
14. Long, Long Way from Home

Added: February 2nd 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Foreigner The Ballads Web-Page
Hits: 1603
Language: english

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