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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Foreigner - 1984 Agent Provocateur
Foreigner - 1984 Agent Provocateur

ARTIST: Foreigner
ALBUM: Agent Provocateur
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 81999-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1985, Atlantic, 7 81999-2


LINEUP: Lou Gramm - vocals * Mick Jones - guitars, keyboards * Rick Wills - bass, vocals * Dennis Elliott - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Love In Vain * 02 Down On Love * 03 Growing Up The Hard Way * 04 I Don't Want To Know What Love is * 05 Reaction To Action * 06 She's Too Tough * 07 Stranger In My Own House * 08 That Was Yesterday * 09 Tooth And Nail * 10 Two Different Worlds


Wind the clock back to 1977 and Foreigner first came to the attention of rock fans as a band of some promise. In 1984 the band were right up there in the forefront of the arena rock scene, leading the way in the hard rock/AOR stakes. Despite the exit of ex members Ian McDonald, Ed Gagliardi and Al Greenwood (the latter two going to form the superb outfit Spys), the main personnel of Foreigner have remained intact. Still very much to the fore are the creative duo of Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, both capable of penning songs at both ends of the hard rock spectrum. This then, their fifth studio 'Agent Provocateur' is a logical progression from their last outing '4', although it's content has similarities to all previous albums.

The Songs
There are three avenues which Foreigner explore on this album. Soft keyboard dominated songs, mid paced songs with restrained power and lots of melody, and the grunty rockers with vocal and guitar excess. In some cases there's not a guitar to be heard. Strange you may say, but in fact the layers of keyboard and synthesizer filling in the spaces enhances the overall quality quite nicely. The textured affair of 'That Was Yesterday' and the all too obvious hit single 'I Want To Know What Love Is' are prime examples. The latter reminds me of Angel's 'The Winter Song', culled from their 'White Hot' album a few years earlier. Nevertheless, it makes for compulsory listening through your headphones! 'Down On Love' was another destined for airplay if given the chance. The insistence of 'A Love In Vain' stands out too, where Mick Jones' intricate keyboard work races along in sync with some pulsing bass from Rick Wills. 'Growing Up The Hard Way' also demands the attention of the listener, sounding like a watered down version of Cobra. But then again again, Foreigner are able to stir up some energy on most of the other songs. 'Tooth And Nail' for instance features streetwise aggression in musical and lyrical structure, while 'Reaction To Action' is a typical boy meets girl story played over a kick ass rhythm. Unfortunately, there are some disappointments too, notably 'Stranger In My Own House' which growls but doesn't bite and 'She's Too Tough' is a naff rocker which is too ordinary in comparison.

In Summary
The musicianship is again outstanding from all facets, but it is a pity that Mick Jones will never truly adopt a more dominant lead guitar role. Sure he's put out some nifty solo's but he always stopped short of excess indulgence. However, despite my ramblings, this album went No 1 Stateside, and the single 'I Want To Know What Love Is' became their biggest selling hit. Good on them!

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
This was a bit of a letdown after the greatness that was '4', but I've grown to like it more over the years. My track order is way different than the one here: 'Tooth & Nail', 'That Was Yesterday', 'I Want To Know What Love Is', 'Growing Up The Hard Way', 'Reaction To Action', 'Stranger In My Own House', 'A Love In Vain', 'Down On Love', 'Two Different Worlds', 'She's Too Tough'. I must say that the trio of 'A Love In Vain', 'Down On Love', and 'Two Different Worlds' is quite incredible. The only song that hasn't grown on me in 24+ years is 'Stranger In My Own House'. It is quite different than anything Foreigner had done before.
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 20 2008 22:12:59
That video for 'I Want To Know What Love Is' still makes me cringe....
#3 | gdazegod on April 21 2011 23:28:04
YouTube Video:
#4 | Eric on April 22 2011 00:10:10
The above was filmed at the Jefferson County Civic Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
#5 | super80boy on November 09 2014 20:36:17
Other than a few fillers, like the aforementioned vinyl version closer 'She's Too Tough', this is top grade signature Foreigner AOR melodic rock.
#6 | code4 on October 22 2015 22:37:45
Love this album. So over produced and metallic sounding, but in a delicious way. This album's production sounds medieval compared to any other foreigner album (although by that i suppose i mean mid 80's when i was a little kid hearing stuff like this all over the uk radio stations). Hey i have some great memories like watching the device 22b3 Who says video whilst playing with my he-man skeletor castle. Not gonna complain about when i was born, even if a bit earlier could have been even better
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