Foreigner: Can’t Slow Down

RIYL: Boston, REO Speedwagon, Survivor

Mick Jones recorded without Lou Gramm once before on 1991’s Unusual Heat. Now with the seemingly permanent departure (although in the world of sports, music and professional wrestling, never say never), Foreigner has released Can’t Slow Down, exclusively through Wal-Mart. Kelly Hansen, formerly with Hurricane, fills the large shoes of Lou Gramm rather admirably with a sincere and effective effort on the new material. Interestingly enough, Hansen, although without the same depth and power as Gramm, has a very similar voice and pulls off the classic foreigner stuff very well. The three-disc collection includes the new album, a collection of remixed classics and a concert DVD of this line-up performing the hits. The new material like the title track and “In Pieces” will fit in well within the catalog. Formulaic as it may be, complete with the big production of veteran Rock Producer Marti Frederiksen, it is full of hooks and incredibly well executed. Jones is not appreciated enough for his ability to write crunchy but catchy rock tunes. Can’t Slow Down features a couple of ballads, as Foreigner records are required to by law, to do and they are decent. The remixes take the old material and tweak them to where the audiophile will only be able to tell (they are the originals and not re-recorded by this line-up). The concert DVD is a blast, and to see the 60+ year old Jones lead his band through the classics with energy and great guitar chops, is a pleasant surprise. Watching him sing lead on “Starrider” is a gas. (Foreigner 2009)

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