Foreigner

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Between 1970 and 1972, Cat Stevens recorded and released four albums in the same manner, using the same producer, Paul Samwell-Smith, and many of the same musicians, particularly second guitarist Alun Davies, painting the album covers, and assigning the records ponderous titles - Mona Bone Jakon, Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat, and Catch Bull at Four - that usually referred more to the paintings than the albums' contents. Things changed with his next album, Foreigner, beginning with the title, which invoked his status as a tax exile, and the cover, which displayed a photograph of the artist. The recording itself had been produced by Stevens and recorded in Jamaica, with overdubs done in New York. A ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Between 1970 and 1972, Cat Stevens recorded and released four albums in the same manner, using the same producer, Paul Samwell-Smith, and many of the same musicians, particularly second guitarist Alun Davies, painting the album covers, and assigning the records ponderous titles - Mona Bone Jakon, Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat, and Catch Bull at Four - that usually referred more to the paintings than the albums' contents. Things changed with his next album, Foreigner, beginning with the title, which invoked his status as a tax exile, and the cover, which displayed a photograph of the artist. The recording itself had been produced by Stevens and recorded in Jamaica, with overdubs done in New York. A couple of Stevens' usual backup musicians, drummer Gerry Conway and keyboard player Jean Roussel had been retained, but New York session musicians like Bernard Purdie appeared and Alun Davies was gone. With him went the acoustic guitar interplay that had been the core of Stevens' sound, replaced by more elaborate keyboard-based arrangements, complete with strings, brass, and a female vocal trio featuring Patti Austin.

It's easy to look at the 18+-minute "Foreigner Suite" that took up the first side and accuse Stevens of excess and indulgence. What should be kept in mind, however, is that his peers in 1973 were acts like Jethro Tull and Yes that were penetrating the Top Ten and selling millions of records while creating elaborate musical suites, and that they in turn were taking their cue from landmark recordings like the Beatles' Abbey Road and the Who's Tommy. Call Foreigner ambitious, then, rather than indulgent. Actually, the suite is full of compelling melodic sections and typically emotive singing that could have made for an album side's worth of terrific four-minute Cat Stevens songs if only he had composed them that way. As it is, the suite is a collection of tantalizing fragments. But the album's second side, featuring the Top 40 hit "The Hurt," demonstrates that, even in the four-minute range, his songwriting and arranging were becoming overly busy. Lyrically, he seemed more concerned than usual with the vicissitudes of love, as if a love affair weren't working out, but as ever he struggled for a positive viewpoint while frequently expressing frustration.

On the whole, Foreigner marked a slight fall-off in quality from Catch Bull at Four, which itself had marked a slight fall-off from Teaser and the Firecat. The decline seemed more extreme, though, because Foreigner clearly was intended to be better than its predecessors. That's the risk of ambitiousness. A similar slight fall-off was taking place commercially. The album became Stevens' third consecutive effort to lodge in the U.S. top five, and it went gold, though it spent fewer weeks in the Top Ten than either of its two predecessors. (Foreigner was reissued as a remastered CD on July 25, 2000.) ~ William Ruhlmann

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Between 1970 and 1972, Cat Stevens recorded four albums in the same manner, using the same producer and many of the same musicians, painting the album covers, and assigning the records ponderous titles. Things changed with his next album, Foreigner. The recording itself had been produced by Stevens, and while a couple of Stevens' usual backup musicians had been retained, New York session musicians appeared, and second guitarist Alun Davies was gone. With him went the acoustic guitar interplay that had been the core of Stevens' sound, replaced by more elaborate keyboard-based arrangements complete with strings, brass, and a female vocal trio featuring Patti Austin. It's easy to look at the 18-plus minute "Foreigner Suite" that took up the first side and accuse Stevens of excess and indulgence. What should be kept in mind, however, is that his peers in 1973 were acts like Jethro Tull and Yes, who in turn were taking their cue from the Beatles' Abbey Road and the Who's Tommy. Call Foreigner ambitious, then, rather than indulgent. Actually, the suite is full of compelling melodic sections and typically emotive singing that could have made for an album side's worth of terrific four-minute Cat Stevens songs, if only he had composed them that way. As it is, the suite is a collection of tantalizing fragments. But the album's second side, featuring the Top 40 hit "The Hurt," demonstrates that, even in the four-minute range, his songwriting and arranging were becoming overly busy. On the whole, Foreigner marked a slight fall-off in quality from Catch Bull at Four, which itself had marked a slight fall-off from Teaser and the Firecat. The decline seemed more extreme, though, because Foreigner clearly was intended to be better than its predecessors. That's the risk of ambition.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/25/2000
  • Label: A&M
  • UPC: 731454688727
  • Catalog Number: 546887
  • Sales rank: 15,109

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Foreigner Suite (18:21)
  2. 2 The Hurt (4:19)
  3. 3 How Many Times (4:29)
  4. 4 Later (4:46)
  5. 5 1001 Dream (4:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Cat Stevens Primary Artist, Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Guitar, Piano, Strings, Keyboards, Electric Piano, Vocals, Clavinet, ARP, fender rhodes
Patti Austin Vocals, Voices
Phil Upchurch Guitar, Electric Guitar
Herbie Flowers Bass
Tasha Thomas Vocals, Voices
Gerry Conway Percussion, Drums, Vocals
Paul Martinez Bass
Barbara Massey Vocals, Voices
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie Drums
Jean Roussel Bass, Strings, Keyboards, Electric Piano
Tasha Voices
Technical Credits
Patti Austin Contributor
Cat Stevens Composer, Producer, Contributor, String Arrangements, Brass Arrangment, Woodwind Arrangement
Phil Upchurch Contributor
Herbie Flowers Contributor
Tasha Thomas Contributor
Mike Bobak Contributor
Gerry Conway Contributor
Ted Jensen Mastering
Paul Martinez Contributor
Barbara Massey Contributor
John Middleton Engineer
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie Contributor
Jean Roussel Contributor, String Arrangements, Brass Arrangment, Bass Arrangement, Woodwind Arrangement
Vartan Reissue Art
Roland Young Contributor, Cover Design, Cover Art, Cover Assembly
Mick Rock Cover Photo
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I always thought this was his greatest accomplishment...

    His singing is brilliant, lyrics poignant, melodies lilting...I had his previous two albums, and I felt that Foreigner was a very natural progression from them. Your Cat Stevens collection is not complete without this album.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    FOREIGNER BEST SONG EVER

    AT THE TIME I HEARD "FOREIGNER SUITE", I WAS IN MY VERY EARLY TWENTIES... AND EXPERIENCING A LOST LOVE... WHEN I HEARD FOREIGNER SUITE I SAID TO MYSELF THAT IF I HAD WRITTEN IT... I WOULD THEN HAVE RETIRED FROM WRITING. GREAT STUFF.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not at all top par Cat Stevens

    Foreigner Suite is 18 minutes way too long. Stay away from this record

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews