Feels Like The First Time – Foreigner Debut Album Spotlight

From small acorns, big oak trees grow!   Foreigner released their debut album in 1977 on the Atlantic Records label.   Who knew then they’d go on sell close to 100 millions records worldwide and earn a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?    The half American/half U.K. band was formed by veteran rocker, Mick Jones, who added a member of the progressive rock band, King Crimson (Ian McDonald), and an American lead singer (Lou Gramm) who won the gig after they auditioned over 50 other singers!   The debut album by Foreigner was recorded at The Hit Factory in New York City and critics (including those at Rolling Stone) gave it a “thumbs up”.   It wasn’t until the singles started exploding on the charts when Foreigner became the rock and roll force we’ve all come to love over the years and sold over 5 million copies.   Let’s see if the album holds up after almost forty years. (Check out my interview with Foreigner)

SIDE ONE:

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME   – Not sure if there is better song title to kick off your debut album.   An instant sing-along rocker with a killer groove that played well against Disco tracks on the radio.  Plus who can’t deny a strong sexually fired lyric like “I know it must be the woman in you that brings out the man in me”.   Went to #4 on the Singles Chart.    A+

COLD AS ICE   –   Mick Jones dominates the track with a killer keyboard solo and Lou Gramm establishes his vocal range with a true Foreigner all-time classic.   It cracked the Billboard Top 10 and it’s still a crowd favorite!     A+

STARRIDER  – You can feel the Progressive Rock influence of Ian McDonald here.   Mick Jones takes on lead vocals here.  They released this one as a single but the dreamy atmospheric track works best as an album track.     B

HEADKNOCKER –  A little cheesy, Headknocker has a little Stones’ swagger with a repetitive chorus but fun backing vocals.  For many long-time Foreigner fans, this one is one of their favorite underrated songs.       B

THE DAMAGE IS DONE  –   A dramatic kiss-off track that could have been released as a single.  Lou Gramm gave us a foreshadowing of Foreigner’s future with a song that would have fit nicely on their Foreigner 4 album five years later.      A-

SIDE TWO:

LONG, LONG WAY FROM HOME  –  The third single from the album went to #20 on the Billboard Charts and introduces the saxophone on their rock singles (see “Urgent” later on!).   Foreigner’s ability to create that unforgettable “riff-verse-chorus-riff ” combination shines brightest here.   A-

WOMAN OH WOMAN  –  From here on the album loses a little steam.  But those first six tracks are smoking!  “Woman Oh Woman” does have a David Bowie/John Lennon style.      B-

AT WAR WITH THE WORLD   – A “sleeper” track that Gramm carries with a great vocal.    Most bands would love a song this good, but it doesn’t quite live up to the big singles.    B

FOOL FOR YOU ANYWAY  –  A softer, almost folk rock sound, that just misses the mark.   Got to love Lou Gramm’s falsetto though!     C

I NEED YOU –  It’s got attitude, killer vocals, but the chorus just doesn’t live up to the buildup.   If you’ve got to name one song “filler”, this one gets that honor.      D+

 

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