Mr. Moonlight (1995)


  
1. Under the Gun 2. Rain 3. Until the End of Time 4. White Lie 5. Big Dog 6. The Real World 7. All I Need To Know 8. Hole in My Soul 9. I Keep Hoping 10.Running the Risk 11.Hand on My Heart

 

Foreigner fans could breathe a sigh relief - Lou Gramm was now back in the band. He appeared on a few new cuts on 1992's greatest hits package The Very Best and Beyond, but sometimes those instances can be "temporary". This record confirmed that he was back. On a side note, Dennis Elliot and Rick Willis were now gone, but, with all due respect to those guys, the absences are not really noticeable. For Foreigner to truly be Foreigner, the ingredients of Mick Jones and Lou Gramm both had to be there. Speaking of new members, it would take a phd. to keep up with all the lineup changes within this band (sadly Gramm would be gone again a couple of years after this album), and on this record, they even had to airbrush the drummer off the cover, as he was gone by the time the album was ready to be released.

Fortunately, this is a very good record, and what makes this album memorable is that the band is adjusting to the changing music scene. In the past, you could easily hear where Foreigner's music could be a bit dated. Listening to a record such as 1984's Agent Provocateur, for example, is a very well done record, but you can definitely hear the 1980's influence on that record. Had this album replicated that sound, it would have been a very big mistake.

So the band has actually adjusted will to the post-grunge 90s sound. The music here is much more organic - even including lots of acoustic guitars and pianos. Foreigner being Foreigner, the music doesn't really change, though, nor does it suffer. Jones and Gramm still know how to write very catchy songs, and Lou Gramm proves again how powerful and distinguishable his lead vocals are. This is evident on such tracks as White Lie, All I Need To Know, and Rain, the latter being one of the best things on the whole album.

In fact, the only thing on this record that you could argue replicates the earlier Foreigner crunchy sound is the brilliant album opener Under The Gun with its masterful opening and catchy guitar riff. Even the ballads on this album - Until The End of Time and Hand on My Heart are both very moving, good songs, they just don't have any of the synthesized production that we remember from some of the chart toppers a decade or so ago.

To be fair, the album is somewhat frontloaded. After about the sixth track or so, the guys seem to go a bit into autopilot, but an honest Foreigner fan will tell you that "filler" really has been present on just about everything the guys ever did - so the inclusion of some of the unnecessary bits really aren't overly offensive.

Being that it was now the 1990's, Foreigner's popularity went in the same direction as other hey-day arena rockers. They weren't burning up the charts anymore, but they managed to keep their name in the headlights by touring non-stop and churning out the same hits that everyone loved night after night. Although no one knew it at the time, this would be Lou Gramm's last record. The future would show him miraculously recovering from a brain tumor, becoming a Born Again Gospel singer, and having a bit of animosity towards his Foreigner days. His lack of presence would be missed.

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