Foreigner – 4

More Foreigner

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  • You’ll find stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides of this Radio Rock Classic 
  • This copy had the best energy, the punchiest bass, and biggest, most immediate presentation in our shootout
  • Rockers like Juke Box Hero and Urgent, along with the heartfelt ballad Waiting For A Girl Like You, are guaranteed to sound better than you ever imagined or your money back
  • “In producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange – fresh off his massive success with AC/DC’s Back in Black – guitarist and all-around mastermind Mick Jones found both the catalyst to achieve [a grand slam of a record] and his perfect musical soulmate… All things considered, 4 remains Foreigner’s career peak.”

What’s key to the sound of Foreigner’s records? Obviously, the big one would have to be ENERGY, a subject we have discussed at length here on the site. Next would be punchy ROCK BASS, followed by clear, present vocals. Those are the big ones, and we are happy to report that this copy had the best Foreigner sound in all three areas.

What Amazing Sides Such as These Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1981
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instrumenhttps://better-records.com/search?q=tag:%221981%22ts having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on 4

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Problem Areas

Number one: Too many instruments jammed into too little space in the upper midrange. When the tonality is shifted-up, even slightly, or there is too much compression, there will be too many elements — voices, guitars, drums — vying for space in the upper area of the midrange, causing congestion and a loss of clarity.

With the more solid sounding copies, the lower mids are full and rich; above them, the next “level up” so to speak, there’s plenty of space in which to fit all the instruments comfortably, not piling them one on top of another as is so often the case. Consequently, the upper midrange area does not get stuffed and overwhelmed with musical information.

Number Two: edgy vocals, which is related to Number One above. Almost all copies have at least some edge to the vocals — the band seems to want to really belt it out in the multi-tracked choruses — but the best copies keep the edge under control, without sounding compressed, dark, dull or smeary.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Night Life 
Juke Box Hero 
Break It Up 
Waiting For A Girl Like You 
Luanne

Side Two

Urgent 
I’m Gonna Win 
Woman In Black 
Girl On The Moon 
Don’t Let Go

AMG Review

Over the course of their first three late-’70s albums, Foreigner had firmly established themselves (along with Journey and Styx) as one of the top AOR bands of the era. But the band was still looking for that grand slam of a record that would push them to the very top of the heap. Released in 1981, 4 would be that album.

In producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange — fresh off his massive success with AC/DC’s Back in Black — guitarist and all-around mastermind Mick Jones found both the catalyst to achieve this and his perfect musical soulmate… Through it all, vocalist Lou Gramm does his part, delivering a dazzling performance that confirmed his status as one of the finest voices of his generation.

Three years later, Foreigner would achieve even greater success on a pop level with the uneven Agent Provocateur, but by then Jones and Gramm were locked in an escalating war of egos that would soon lead to the band’s demise.

All things considered, 4 remains Foreigner’s career peak