Foreigner - Agent Provocateur

Foreigner – Agent Provocateur

90 / 100

In 1984 Foreigner were right up there in the forefront of the arena rock scene, leading the way in the hard rock-AOR stakes.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Foreigner
ALBUM: Agent Provocateur
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 81999-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Lou Gramm – vocals * Mick Jones – guitars, keyboards * Rick Wills – bass, vocals * Dennis Elliott – drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Love In Vain * 02 Down On Love * 03 Growing Up The Hard Way * 04 I Don’t Want To Know What Love is * 05 Reaction To Action * 06 She’s Too Tough * 07 Stranger In My Own House * 08 That Was Yesterday * 09 Tooth And Nail * 10 Two Different Worlds



Wind the clock back to 1977 and Foreigner first came to the attention of rock fans as a band of some promise. In 1984 Foreigner were right up there in the forefront of the arena rock scene, leading the way in the hard rock-AOR stakes. Despite the exit of ex members Ian McDonald, Ed Gagliardi and Al Greenwood (the latter two going to form the superb outfit Spys), the main personnel of Foreigner had remained intact up to this point.

Still very much to the fore are the creative duo of Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, both capable of penning songs at both ends of the hard rock spectrum. This then, their fifth studio ‘Agent Provocateur’ is a logical progression from their last outing ‘4’, although it’s content has similarities to all previous albums.

The Songs

There are three avenues which Foreigner explore on this album. Soft keyboard dominated songs, mid paced songs with restrained power and lots of melody, and the grunty rockers with vocal and guitar excess. In some cases there’s not a guitar to be heard. Strange you may say, but in fact the layers of keyboard and synthesizer filling in the spaces enhances the overall quality quite nicely.

The textured affair of ‘That Was Yesterday’ and the all too obvious hit single ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ are prime examples. The latter reminds me of Angel‘s ‘The Winter Song’, culled from their ‘White Hot’ album a few years earlier. Nevertheless, it makes for compulsory listening through your headphones!

‘Down On Love’ was another destined for airplay if given the chance. The insistence of ‘A Love In Vain’ stands out too, where Mick Jones’ intricate keyboard work races along in sync with some pulsing bass from Rick Wills. ‘Growing Up The Hard Way’ also demands the attention of the listener, sounding like a watered down version of Cobra. But then again again, Foreigner are able to stir up some energy on most of the other songs.

‘Tooth And Nail’ for instance features streetwise aggression in musical and lyrical structure, while ‘Reaction To Action’ is a typical boy meets girl story played over a kick ass rhythm. Unfortunately, there are some disappointments too, notably ‘Stranger In My Own House’ which growls but doesn’t bite and ‘She’s Too Tough’ is a naff rocker which is too ordinary in comparison.

In Summary

The musicianship is again outstanding from all facets, but it is a pity that Mick Jones will never truly adopt a more dominant lead guitar role. Sure he’s put out some nifty solo’s but he always stopped short of excess indulgence. However, despite my ramblings, this album went No 1 Stateside, and the single ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ became their biggest selling hit. Good on them!


I Want To Know What Love Is

Foreigner - 'I Want To Know What Love Is' [Official Music Video]

That Was Yesterday
Foreigner - That Was Yesterday (Official Music Video)

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Playlist: Foreigner - Agent Provocateur
Watch this playlist on YouTube

Contact Us | Edit User Profile | Using a VPN

What is your rating for the album (music)?

Click on a star (click twice) to rate it!

Average rating 3 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this album..

Thanks for voting.

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leave a Reply