Foreigner’s “Can’t Slow Down”

Released: October 2, 2009 (Rhino)
Format: Rock

Remember back in the 80’s when you would go to the record store, buy a cassette, open it, look at the cover art, read the liner notes, slide the tape in the tape deck and crank it up? You do? Well then…you are an 80’s child…just like me. In today’s world, we don’t buy cassettes or CD’s or albums anymore. We download. And all the songs are so serious or sexual or just plain dumb. Whatever happened to love songs? Or songs about heartbreak? Or how down on our luck we can be? Back in the 80’s, that was all they sang about. And bands like Journey or Def Leppard or Whitesnake knew how to rock out and let loose. Who knew they were still doing it?

When Foreigner released “Can’t Slow Down” (available only at Wal-Mart), it had 2 things going against it. First…I hate Wal-Mart. Second…I never really cared all that much for Foreigner. Sure…I like a few of their songs from the 80’s. “Juke Box Hero” was always a good single. And then you have “I Want To Know What Love Is” which, I think, pretty much everybody danced to at their first high school dance back in 1985. So they had a few hits that I listened to, but for the most part, I was more of a Def Leppard/Journey/Sammy Hagar fan. So imagine my surprise when I was presented with a free copy of the new album and…well…I actually LOVE IT!

Here’s the thing about the 80’s…it was simple. Granted…I was a kid back then so I had no stress. But even then, it was a different time. And the music that was coming out then was simple. Huey Lewis & The News, Hall & Oates, Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, on & on & on. Artists were releasing FUN music. And even when the music was heavy, it had a simple pop sensibility to it (“Billie Jean”, “Papa Don’t Preach”). So much music now is so over-complicated with technology. Beeps & whistles and overdubbing. It can all get in the way of a good, simple rock song. It’s not needed. And Foreigner proves it on this album.

With new singer Kelly Hansen joining the band (Lou Gramm is gone), Mick Jones & crew have never sounded tighter. Every track is a great pop nugget and could have been included in just about any 80’s John Hughes film. When I first listened to this album, the film “VisionQuest” came into my head. With rockers like “Ready”, “Angel Tonight” & the title track, they could have easily fit into the action scenes where the guy takes the girl on a motorcycle ride through the city. And then you have the love songs like “Fool For You Anyway”, “I’ll Be Home Tonight” or “As Long As I Live” where the guy is racing to stop the girl from leaving. And then the end titles could be “In Pieces” or “When It Comes To Love”, with their sweeping guitars & keyboards (and a surprise sax in the latter). Simply awesome…

Everyone is gonna laugh at me about this…but I miss this kind of music. The lyrics are simple (sometimes TOO simple) and the hooks are powerful. They are melodic and carefree and fun. This is an AWESOME album and so far, it’s possibly my favorite album of 2009. Imagine that…an 80’s band releases an album that SHOULD have been released in 1987 and I love it. Go figure. And go buy “Can’t Slow Down” at your local Wal-Mart. It might be the only time I ever say you need to go to Wal-Mart…but you won’t regret it. And I bet once you listen to this album you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about here. And you’ll wish it was 1987 all over again…

Rating: A


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