[Review] Foreigner: Double Vision (1978)

Foreigner doubles your pleasure with another classic album featuring “Double Vision” and “Hot Blooded.”

Kronomyth 2.0: Cold as twice.

How do you follow up a multiplatinum smash like Foreigner? By doubling down on what made the first album so great. Double Vision was even more successful than their first album, eventually selling seven million copies in the US alone. It doesn’t show up on a lot of “greatest rock albums of all time” lists, but that’s because the people who make those lists are inveterate weenies. It was one of the earliest Mobile Fidelity remasters, and that’s a far better indicator of greatness.

Foreigner’s second album comes roaring out of the gate with the classic Hot Blooded. Heavy on sexual innuendo, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Lou Gramm is a Cyrano of the libido, a marvelous hybrid of poet and pick-up artist. And it doesn’t hurt that the guitar riff behind “Hot Blooded” is white hot. This is followed by two songs that invite comparison to Queen’s grandiose rock music, Blue Morning, Blue Day and You’re All I Am. Back Where You Belong sounds like a mix of Styx and Paul McCartney. The first side ends with Love Has Taken Its Toll, which may be my favorite song on the whole album.

Although Double Vision is front-loaded with its best songs, it has the good sense to start off the second side with another classic rock track, Double Vision. The lyrics from Lou Gramm are quoteworthy good, the production spot on. The rest of the songs on side two revisit the feel of “Hot Blooded” (Lonely Children, Spellbinder) and provide a vocal cameo for Mick Jones (I Have Waited So Long) as well as an instrumental, Tramontane, that airs out any remaining traces of prog.

Their next album, Head Games, felt a bit thin on ideas by comparison. Foreigner and Double Vision, however, stand as twin towers of guitar/synth rock that hold their own with anything from Boston, Styx or Kansas. I didn’t much care for this music when it came out because I was fascinated by the emerging punk scene, but in retrospect Lou Gramm and Mick Jones were the Hal David and Burt Bacharach of hard rock.

Original elpee version

A1. Hot Blooded (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) (4:20)
A2. Blue Morning, Blue Day (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm) (3:06)
A3. You’re All I Am (Mick Jones) (3:19)
A4. Back Where You Belong (Mick Jones) (3:20)
A5. Love Has Taken Its Toll (Lou Gramm/Ian McDonald) (3:25)
B1. Double Vision (Mick Jones/Lou Gramm) (3:40)
B2. Tramontane (Al Greenwood/Ian McDonald/Mick Jones) (3:52)
B3. I Have Waited So Long (Mick Jones) (4:04)
B4. Lonely Children (Mick Jones) (3:31)
B5. Spellbinder (Lou Gramm/Mick Jones) (4:43)

CD reissue bonus tracks
11. Hot Blooded (live)
12. Love Maker (live)

Original 8-track version
A1. Hot Blooded
A2. Lonely Children
A3. Tramontane (part 1)
B1. Tramontane (part 2)
B2. Back Where You Belong
B3. Love Has Taken Its Toll
C1. Double Vision
C2. Blue Morning, Blue Day
C3. Spellbinder (part 1)
D1. Spellbinder (part 2)
D2. You’re All I Am
D3. I Have Waited So Long

The Players

Dennis Elliott (drums), Ed Gagliardi (bass, vocals), Lou Gramm (lead vocals), Al Greenwood (keyboards, synthesizers), Mick Jones (lead guitar, piano, vocals), Ian McDonald (guitars, keyboards, reeds, vocals) with Ian Lloyd (backing vocals), David Paich (string arrangements). Produced by Keith Olsen, Mick Jones & Ian McDonald; engineered by David DeVore, Keith Olsen; mixed by Jimmy Douglass, Mick Jones, Ian McDonald.

The Pictures

Photography & design by Norman Seeff.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on June 20, 1978 in the US (Atlantic, SD/CS/TP-19999), the UK (Atlantic, K50476), Canada (Atlantic, KSD-19999), Germany and the Netherlands (Atlantic, ATL 50476) and Japan (Atlantic, P-10523A) with picture sleeve. Reached #3 on the US charts (RIAA-certified 7x platinum record) and #32 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-released on remastered elpee in the US (Mobile Fidelity, MFSL-1-052).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1988 in the US (Atlantic, 82797).
  3. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc on August 6, 2002 in the US (Atlantic, 78187) with 2 bonus tracks.
  4. Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc on February 28, 2007 in Japan (Atlantic, WPCR-12562) with 2 bonus tracks.
  5. Re-packaged with Foreigner, Head Games, 4 and Agent Provocateur on 5CD set in 2009 in the UK (Warner Bros.)

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