Top positive review
A worthy compilation from a great Melodic Rock band.
on 9 August 2016
Of the many rock bands that ruled the airwaves in the 1970's and 80's, one that is often forgotten about is the English/American Melodic Rock band Foreigner. Fronted by powerhouse singer Lou Gramm and underrated songwriter/guitarist Mick Jones and featuring a revolving line-up around those two members (with Gramm ultimately leaving the band in 2003), Foreigner were a commercially and sometimes critically successful band that scored countless rock and pop hits, all compiled into the CD "The Very Best... and Beyond", a fine introduction to those unfamiliar with Foreigner's music.
Just about all of the band's greatest hits that are represented on this disc. Selections from their 1977 debut LP (the anthemic "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice"), 1978's hard rocking "Double Vision" album (the driving favourite title track and the high-energy "Hot Blooded"), 1979's Roy Thomas Baker-produced "Head Games" (the title song, "Rev on the Red Line" and the underrated hard rocker "Dirty White Boy"), 1981's mega-hit "4" (the smash hit soft-rock ballad "Waiting For A Girl Like You", the R&B-inspired and Junior Walker-featuring "Urgent" and the truly astonishing rags-to-riches story "Juke Box Hero"), 1984's "Agent Provocateur" (the gospel-inspired classic "I Want To Know What Love Is" and the worthy follow-up "That Was Yesterday") and 1987's "Inside Information" (the band's last great anthem "Say You Will" and the easy-listening ballad "I Don't Want To Live Without You") all make this album and all stand the test of time as being great songs of not just the era but of the rock and pop genres.
In addition to many of Foreigner's greatest hits, "The Very Best... and Beyond" also has three songs made especially for this compilation that are fine additions to the band's catalogue. The first is "Soul Doctor", a high-energy rock song similar to "Double Vision" and "Hot Blooded" that is exuberant and loose. Following this is "Prisoner of Love", a mix of the energy of "Cold As Ice" and the pristine of "Say You Will" and a song that it been released at an earlier point in the band's career would have been a big a hit as some of more recognisable songs on this disc. And last but not least is "With Heaven on Our Side", a power ballad and great sing-a-long number in the tradition of "I Want To Know What Love Is", rounding off three very fine additions to the disc.
The only minor nitpick I have is a personal one. Like any fan of any band, when a compilation comes out it means that several songs that are personal favourites of yours are not present. And for me, while there is no song that I would not have put on this compilation, there are several songs that would have fit well on this disc. Whether it would be "Starrider", "Long, Long Way From Home", "Fool for You Anyway", "Blue Morning, Blue Day", "Night Life", "Break It Up", "Luanne" and "Tooth and Nail", I feel these songs would have made fine additions to the track list, but again this is just a personal gripe.
Otherwise, I would highly recommend this compilation to both Foreigner fans and to newcomers to their music. You will get a taste of the band's many different experiments in the rock and pop genres and the new songs situated at the beginning of the CD fit in alongside the greatest hits. A great overview and compilation from a forgotten band that produced some great songs in their day. Highly recommended.