Foreigner – Self-Titled

More Foreigner

More Debut Albums of Interest

  • Foreigner’s debut album ROCKS onto the site for only the second time ever with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – remarkably quiet vinyl too
  • A truly superb recording with huge, powerful, dynamic sound – the Tubey Magical richness of these sides will have your jaw on the floor
  • Includes two of the biggest FM hits from 1977 – “Feels Like the First Time” and “Cold as Ice” – and we guarantee you’ve never heard them with as much rock and roll energy as they have on this copy
  • 4 stars: “As pure rock craftsmanship goes, Foreigner was as good as it got in the late ’70s.”

What’s key to the sound of Foreigner’s records?

Obviously, the big one would have to be ENERGY, a subject we discuss at length on our blog. 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.

This vintage Atlantic pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides Of Foreigner’s Debut 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 1977
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments 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 Foreigner

  • 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Feels Like The First Time
Cold As Ice
Starrider
Headknocker
The Damage Is Done

Side Two

Long, Long Way From Home
Woman Oh Woman
At War With The World
Fool For You Anyway
I Need You

AMG 4 Star Review

Although punk rock’s furious revolution threatened to overthrow rock’s old guard in 1977, bands like Foreigner came along and proved that there was plenty of room in the marketplace for both the violent, upstart minimalism of punk and the airbrushed slickness of what would be called “arena rock.” Along with Boston, Journey, Heart, and others, Foreigner celebrated professionalism over raw emotion. And, looking back, it’s easy to see why they sold millions; not everyone in the world was pissed off, dissatisfied with the economy, or even necessarily looking for a change.

In fact, for most suburban American teens, Foreigner’s immaculate rock sound was the perfect soundtrack for cruising through well-manicured neighborhoods in their Chevy Novas. The album spawned some of the biggest FM hits of 1977, including the anthemic “Feels Like the First Time” and “Cold as Ice,” both of which were anchored — like most of Foreigner’s songs — by the muscular but traditional riffing of guitarist Mick Jones, the soaring vocals of Lou Gramm, and the state-of-the-art rock production values of the day, which allowed the band to sound hard but polished. As pure rock craftsmanship goes, Foreigner was as good as it got in the late ’70s.

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