Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs
Like many bands, Foreigner's vast body of work defies quantification in a mere Top 10 list ... unless you compile several lists to include all of their great songs. So even though Ultimate Classic Rock is pretty darn happy with its earlier list of the Top 10 Foreigner Songs, that particular exercise revealed just how many great Foreigner songs were immediately rendered underrated almost by default. To fix this injustice, we give you this list of the Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs.
We begin our list with perhaps the standout cut from one of Foreigner’s most underrated albums, Unusual Heat, in which guitarist Mick Jones attempted to replace original singer Lou Gramm with Johnny Edwards. While it displays most of the ingredients that had graced countless Foreigner ballads before it, "Safe in My Heart" has been roundly, if somewhat unfairly, downgraded by history.
It’s hard to salvage anything with staying power from Foreigner’s insanely overproduced, keyboard-drenched late-‘80s stumble Inside Information. But "Heart Turns to Stone" features enough redeeming qualities to sneak into our list of the Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs. Still, the track's production overkill almost makes it indistinguishable from songs by every other commercial-leaning rock band (Survivor, Journey, etc.) of the era.
This lovely ballad (the B-side to the monster hit "Urgent") was hopelessly overshadowed by the other big ballad on 4, "Waiting for a Girl Like You." Under different circumstances, it could have been, and should have been, a huge hit in its own right, or at least “a contender,” as Gramm himself told UCR. But as it stands, the wistful, yearning ‘Girl on the Moon’ instead makes a perfect addition to our list of Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs.
This surprisingly confrontational album cut from 1979’s Head Games epitomizes the old maxim “revenge is a dish best served cold” by calmly cataloging the narrator's grievances against his faithless lover. And he does it without ever breaking a sweat. Come to think of it, maybe the song's restraint is the reason it's on this list. After all, hit singles are provocative by nature, ruffling feathers and titillating emotions.
Like "I'll Get Even With You" (see No. 7 on our list of the Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs), this gem from Foreigner’s 1977 debut album takes a path of restraint. But the story here pulls a complete 180 by acknowledging the narrator's helpless affection for his unfaithful woman. When it comes to rock 'n' roll, it seems that the only guarantee in the game of love is that neither side will have the upper hand for long.
Tucked away on side two of Foreigner’s triple-platinum Agent Provocateur album, the synth-powered cry of desperation "A Love in Vain" was dwarfed by the hit single "I Want to Know What Love Is" and, to a smaller degree, the solid but safe "That Was Yesterday." The song's fate is so unfair that it's become a dark-horse favorite of fans and a perfect choice for our list of the Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs.
Head Games' penultimate track is one of the few Foreigner songs not written by Mick Jones. Lou Gramm and keyboardist Al Greenwood co-penned the song, but that doesn't stop Jones from contributing a sizzling solo. This elegy to weekend drag racing -- the flip to the "Dirty White Boy" single -- ranks among the band’s best-ever B-sides.
World domination and commercial success didn’t neuter Foreigner’s less-prevalent, but ever-present, dark side. And the group rarely got darker than it did on this ominous offering from 1981’s multi-platinum 4. With Jones’ threatening guitars and Gramm’s willing enslavement to a “mysterious mistress” guiding it, "Woman in Black" also doubles as one of the most underrated tracks overseen by master producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange.
Lou Gramm's autobiographical account of leaving the small town he grew up in for the big-city lights of New York often gets overshadowed by other classic songs (like "Feels Like the First Time" and "Cold as Ice") from Foreigner's first album. But the LP's third single is pure underrated gold, which is why it places so high on our Top 10 list.
It’s only fitting that the track that tops our list of the Top 10 Underrated Foreigner Songs would be a number that most fans would place on their list of the band’s all-time best. One of Foreigner's fiercest rockers, "Dirty White Boy" was the first single from the third album, Head Games. But for some reason, it doesn't get mentioned in the same breath as the band's other classic cuts. It should. And that's why it's No. 1 on this list.