Album Review: Inside Information

“Inside Information,” the sixth studio album for Foreigner [1], marked a notable downward trend in the band’s commercial fortunes. Despite two top ten hits, “Say You Will,” and “I Don’t Want To Live Without You,” both of them angsty romantic songs of the kind that the band had made successfully for a decade by this point, the album itself only went to platinum. There are other ironies about the presentation of this album–despite only having ten songs, the album is treated like a double album, where a large spread shows four pictures, showing off the band’s lineup at this time, along with cover art featuring a woman with an intense look on her face. There are ironies in both–the band long sang about their dysfunctional relationships about women, but by this stage in their career it was their ballads and not their rock songs that received radio airplay. Additionally, the band’s lineup would change dramatically after this album, marking a definitive end to their mid-period and ushering in the long period where the band attempted to make an album every few years and go on tour, but without the same kind of success. This album marks the end of an era for the band. A track-by-track review follows:

Heart Turns To Stone: This classic 80’s mid-tempo song sings about the end of a relationship, although this time from a third person perspective rather than from a first person perspective. Interestingly enough, in this particular song the narrator is looking at the broken relationship of someone else, and blaming a man for pushing a woman too hard and driving her away, which is a slight twist on the usual approach of Foreigner’s approach to this sort of song.

Can’t Wait: This song, with its world-weary tone, is the sort of material that is often considered “mature,” where the narrator sings that he can’t wait another moment or heartbeat for his partner, given the tired grind that he feels that he is on. The minimal instrumentation marks a clear soft/slow verse and loud/slightly faster chorus, and is the sort of album filler that appears designed to appeal to the band’s female audience.

Say You Will: This song was a top ten hit, and it deserved to be. With its paranoid music video that seems inspired by equally paranoid operatic lyrics about an indecisive from whom the narrator longs for clear and inviting and loving communication, this is a song that stands up well even more than twenty five years later. Despite the fact that this song travels familiar ground in lamenting poor communication with a partner, it is a lovely song nevertheless.

I Don’t Want To Live Without You: The second big single from this album, this song was the band’s last massive hit, and it shows the band doing what it had done so well since “Four,” singing a heartfelt love ballad with the hope of a lifelong relationship. Like most of the material on this album so far, this song aims at the heart, and appeals to feelings and sentimentality. It’s a beautiful ballad, the sort that is often popular, and is the sort that is still played for slow dances.

Counting Every Minute: This bouncy rock track is a pleasant ode to making the most of the time one has, and certainly describes how this band has treated their career. Although in terms of its music it is a rock track, in terms of it lyrics, it is in line with the rest of the album’s focus on appealing to women and singing about love and relationships. This is the sort of song that someone like Billy Squier would have sung to good effect as well, perhaps as a single, but here it is a pleasant album track.

Inside Information: This jaunty album rock track is a bit of a teasing and taunting song about a woman who profits off of her inside information to help people obtain money or power for a price. This is the sort of song that would appear on Miami Vice or another show of that period, and it is a pleasant album track that makes one smile as one listens to it.

The Beat Of My Heart: This fast-paced love song sings of the narrator’s loyalty and love for his partner, promising her that he will be there for her and that he is committed to her and asks her not to walk away, as so many others have presumably done before. This is definitely a pleasant song, and it is one that is filled with a nice guitar solo, and one that confirms the general theme of the album.

Face To Face: After several fast-paced love songs, this mid-tempo number sounds like a slightly muted but still lovely companion piece to “Say You Will,” only without the little flourishes that make that one a deserved hit single. Nevertheless, this song, which pleads for a partner to look at the narrator face to face, to not give up on him, and to see him for who he is and not who she mistakes him to be, is clearly the sort of song that Foreigner could probably write and perform in their sleep at this point.

Out Of The Blue: This lovely 80’s synth ballad, lovely in the sort of way that many such songs can be, is an ode of devotion to a partner who came into the narrator’s heart out of the blue. This is yet another song, if it needs to be mentioned, that aims straight at the heart at its audience. One could have imagined this song as part of a soundtrack to a John Hughes 80’s movie, played over the closing credits as the unlikely but successful relationship of the movie is celebrated.

A Night to Remember: The final track of this album, this rocker is sort of a parody of “Rev On The Red Line,” the album closer from 4, only in this particular case the singer is talking about his love machine and pointing to the fact that he expects to have a night to remember with his partner. As is emblematic of this album, even when the band is singing about machinery (presumably as a metaphor for his revved up libido), it is designed to appeal to women.

In many ways, this album is an interesting counterpoint to the band’s previous album. If Agent Provocateur had half a dozen failed attempts at showing the band to be glitzy but manly hard rockers in the vein of Guns N Roses and so many other similar bands, this album shows the band singing fast or slow, but seeking to appeal to women. Every song on this album, whether sung in an operatic fashion, a lovely and passionate love ballad, or a rock number designed to appeal to mainstream audiences, is singing about love and seeking to appeal in some fashion to a woman or to women in general, whether it is taking their side in a broken relationship, appealing to them to make their interest and love clear, or even in appealing to the band’s prowess in the sack. The inside information spoken of in this band appears to relate to the band’s confidence in its own inside information in how to craft songs that would make women swoon. The album was a moderate success, but not up to the band’s usual standards. The band would never have another platinum album, though, that wasn’t a hits compilation. Perhaps the efforts of this album were too little, too late.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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6 Responses to Album Review: Inside Information

  1. Pingback: Album Review: Unusual Heat | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Product Review: Foreigner: The Complete Atlantic Studio Albums: 1977-1991 | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Laurent says:

    iNSIDE INFORMATION is indeed one of Foreigner’s best albums imho. I can’t believe this album was so underrated , that’s a mystery to me. “Agent provocateur” relied too heavily on synths so it was a cold album in many ways, but this one sounds more like classic Foreigner I think.

    • Yeah, I agree that Agent Provocateur sounds cold, especially looking back on it. I’m not sure why this album was underrated, but at least its hits remain commonly heard.

      • Laurent says:

        To be honest, its seems I’m be the only one in the world to love “I don’t want to live without you” ! This song is absolutely brilliant, with a wonderful flavour and such a beautiful melody ! It’s a kind of perfect combination of “Waiting for a girl like you” and “I wanna know what love is”. Otherwise I’ve never been crazy about “Say you will”, which is an OK song but nothing special.
        And most the other tracks on this album are really worth mentioning. “Heart turns to stone” is a real cornerstone in Foreigner’s catalogue, “Can’t wait” and “Counting every minute” are both killer tracks, the title-track is something of a strange animal but it works quite well (sometimes the chorus reminds me of Urgent), “Face to face” is great, and the closer “Night to remember” is the greatest of the greatest, nothing more ! The only track I’m less fond of is maybe “The beat of my heart”, but’s just OK, not bad at all.
        All in all, Inside Information is a brilliant album, unfortunately underrated just because it would be a “commercial” failure, but artistically it’s very good !

      • I agree that it’s very good artistically, although it did mark a downturn in the band’s commercial fortunes. I think “I Don’t Want To Live Without You” is an amazing song.

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