Saturday, November 22, 2014

Foreigner, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" (1981)

Oct. 17, 1981, #2

Following the playbook of hard-rock / metal bands of the late '70s and early '80s, Foreigner breached top 40 charts with this "power ballad," by which is meant a soft-rock or adult contemporary ballad performed by a band with a stake in continuing to appear hard and macho, though the song isn't at all. Consider "Beth" by KISS as primary model, or "Love Hurts" by Nazareth. Also note: that's Thomas ("She Blinded My With Science") Dolby on the cascading synthesizer keyboard, which as much as anything makes this song—in the break leading to the chorus, when it wells up into the grinding plodding and impossibly gorgeous doo-dee-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo-dee, etc. Sublime moment. Evidently I was waiting for a song like this because it struck hard. I'm not a Foreigner fan, but "Waiting for a Girl Like You" arrested me totally and completely. If pressed, I would probably still have to categorize it as that most useful and evasive pleasure, the "guilty" one. It's certainly a coincidence—I would swear to this—that I had just taken up with a new girlfriend at the time, someone I considered very special (though no one else I knew then, including her, particularly liked this song). It came late in my career as a dedicated follower of top 40, when radio stations in the US were already busy carving up hits across new and different formats. It came creasing out of the radio in the delivery van I was driving at the time, echoing through parking garages where I made my stops, and it never failed to stop me cold, moody, sweltering, and so fine. It still affects me that way. The nights are cold but the song is warm.

1 comment:

  1. As radio-friendly hard rock goes Foreigner are due some respect. Loved their first album and they put together solid collection of greatest hits.