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Unusual Heat

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Album Review

With Rick Willis on bass, Dennis Elliot playing drums, Mick Jones on guitar/keyboards, and the debut of Johnny Edwards from King Kobra and Buster Brown on vocals, the 1991 version of Foreigner actually was better than one would expect. Ten of the 11 songs on the Unusual Heat CD were written by co-producer Terry Thomas, new singer Johnny Edwards, and band mainstay Mick Jones, and they still had that bombast and brash appeal of the group which once featured so many textures brought to life by the voice of Lou Gramm. The unusual thing about Unusual Heat is that it is actually a good product and quite listenable. "Only Heaven Knows" kicks things off, and it could be the second cousin (or sequel) to Lou Gramm's solo smash from four years earlier, 1987's "Midnight Blue." Edwards is a stylish vocalist, and he, like the multiple replacements for Bad Company's Paul Rodgers, the Guess Who's Burton Cummings, and the Jefferson Starship's Grace Slick, has that tonal quality that can keep the public happy by keeping the sound consistent with what came before. "Lowdown and Dirty" actually got onto the band's Rhino double-CD retrospective Juke Box Heroes, and is another solid rocker. Everything here sounds very much like the product Foreigner was known for, but as slick album-oriented rock was fighting other genres vying for the public's attention, it may have been more advisable for the group to go into a slightly different direction — some acoustic music here might have been a nice break from the generic onslaught. The lone Mick Jones solo composition, "Safe in My Heart," is mellow, but not a dramatic departure needed to establish a new identity. But it's all hooky hard pop, from "I'll Fight for You" to the "Juke Box Hero" clone that is "No Hiding Place" and the title track, "Unusual Heat," a strong chorus surrounded by the thumping hard rock sound. It's a record Johnny Edwards, Mick Jones, and crew can be proud of. Guest appearances by Stories' Ian Lloyd (Mick Jones had, after all, worked on Lloyd's Third World Civilization solo outing), and additional keyboardists Tommy Mandel and Richard Cottle make things somewhat interesting, though the keys take a back seat on this album (you have to strain your ears at some point to hear them, à la when Flo & Eddie called Mountain's Steve Knight "the most useless man in rock & roll"). It may have been funny, but as Corky Laing came to Knight's defense, saying he kept the rhythms going, the rhythm and spirit is prevalent on this interesting addition to the Foreigner catalog. In an ironic turn of events, bassist Rick Willis departed after this for Atlantic labelmate Bad Company.

Customer Reviews

Great Album

an early 90's hit this Rochester band was made famous by many of it more famous songs. this album is chalked full of song for the hardcore Foreigner fan.

No Lou Gramm = No Foreigner

I don't know how people can say this is a great album. This is not Foreigner (technically it is, I know). But, this is just a Mick Jones project titled "Foreigner" because there was no need to change the name. I cannot listen to a single song on this album because the sound is so different. Would the band have ever been so popular if Gramm was not behind the mic? And would we be even talking about this amazing band? If anything this album is overrated. DO NOT buy this if you are buying your first Foreigner album. You will be throwing your money away.

FOREIGNERS MOST UNDERRATED ALBUM

I personally love this cd . Too bad Mick Jones couldnt put this verson of Foreigner back together instead of the group he now tours with. Lowdown and Dirty and No Hiding Place are two of the hardest rocking songs Foreigner ever put out. Kinda funny when you look at why Lou Gramm left back then saying he wanted to go into a harder direction and thats exactly what MIck Jones did. You put both this album and Gramms Shadow King together and you have a classic Foreigner album that would still be played to this day.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While quite a few arena rock acts of the '70s found the transformation into the '80s quite difficult, several acts continued to flourish and enjoyed some of their biggest commercial success: Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, and especially Foreigner. Foreigner's leader from the beginning has been British guitarist Mick Jones, who first broke into the music biz as a "hired gun" of sorts, appearing on recordings by George Harrison and Peter Frampton, and as part of a later-day version of hard rockers...
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Unusual Heat, Foreigner
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