Review: “Can’t Slow Down,” Foreigner

Front

After 1970s rock heroes Journey made a successful comeback with their Wal-Mart-only deal last year, Foreigner hopes to hit it similarly big with their new one, Can’t Slow Down.  Of course it’s available only at Wal-Mart (unless you want to download it), and of course it sounds like the old Foreigner.  And of course, there’s a new lead singer.

That’s Kelly Hansen and although he’s no Lou Gramm, he is certainly no slouch.  The title song has the pole position on the first CD (there’s two CDs and a DVD) and you should know it’s some kind of NASCAR tie-in.  No matter: it accelerates out of the gate, propelled by the guitar work of Mick Jones, Foreigner’s only remaining original member.

Even better is “In Pieces,” a cruisin’ song that they don’t make any more.  By the time you get to the third song, “When It Comes To Love,” you know you’re locked in.  Hansen’s voice feels just right, and the sax work (by Tom Gimbel) is just the right hook for this 21st century power ballad.

The rest of the album moves along in a nearly rockin’ mode, offering highlights “I’ll Be Home Tonight,” which sounds like it could have part of Foreigner’s back catalog, and the rocker “Too Late,” which appeared on another Foreigner collection last year.

Now because this is a Wal-Mart special you get a second CD of hits, but these haven’t been re-recorded (as they were in the case of Journey last year and the new KISS package, coming next week to a Wal-Mart near you).  These are 10 original Foreigner classics, sung by the leather-lunged Lou Gramm and remixed for maximum punch.  And the DVD is a recent live show, complete with interviews and annoying footage of band members ass-kissing some Wal-Mart stockholders.

So you have this recession-busting package (about 12 bucks) that you can pick up when you make your next beer and frozen chicken fingers run.  It has some nice new songs and hey kids, this is what Foreigner sounded like back when … when we didn’t have these big guts from beer and chicken fingers.

MP3: “When It Comes To Love” by Foreigner

Foreigner official website

Listen to songs from the album and purchase download at Rhino.com

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