Foreigner-4 (DVD-Audio) (1981) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||1981|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English MLP 96/24 5.1
English MLP 96/24 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
After having been somewhat disappointed with Foreigner’s self-titled debut album, I approached this review of their fourth album (hence the name “4”) with quiet expectation. Although I am certainly no die-hard fan, I always liked “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “Urgent” and was expecting the album to do or die (for me) on the strength of these two classic and much-aired songs.
As it turns out, I am delighted with the album as a whole. Although it is still fair to say that the abovementioned songs are, for me, true standouts due to familiarity, nevertheless the entire album is a collection of relentlessly energetic and passionately performed songs that all form a cohesive whole.
Lou Gramm’s vocals never miss, and combined with Mick Jones’ heartfelt (if sometimes clichéd) lyrics and blistering guitars it is small wonder that the album did as well as it did, being the band's most successful album and selling over 17 million copies to this day.
|1. Night Life|
2. Juke Box Hero
3. Break It Up
4. Waiting For A Girl Like You
|7. I'm Gonna Win|
8. Woman In Black
9. Girl On The Moon
10. Don't Let Go
11. Bonus: Juke Box Hero
12. Bonus: Waiting For A Girl Like You
The video component is of fine quality, with some nice (and quick) menus. Lyrics are easy to read, and photos are of decent enough clarity – though I do take exception to having Lou Gramm’s crotch on prominent display during “Night Life” – but that’s just me.
This album has been given the deluxe treatment, and the quality is uniformly exceptional. In a nutshell, this is precisely how a classic rock album should sound in both multi-channel and stereo. The default format when played is MLP 96 kHz/24 bit PPCM in 5.1, though a separate MLP 96 kHz/24 bit PPCM 2.0 mix has been provided, as well as a high-rate Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for compatibility with standard DVD-Video players.
My comments refer to the MLP 5.1 mix, though I did sample the MLP 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes and will comment on those a little later.
Lou Gramm’s voice is centred, strong and crystal clear. There is never a hint of distortion or stridency, and remarkably for a rock album, you can usually make out what he is saying – always a bonus. As well as being superbly rendered, Lou’s voice never becomes buried or lost regardless of how busy the sound gets around him.
The most telling sign that you are not listening to CD is the effortless extension of high frequencies present on the MLP mixes, which seemingly goes on forever. Reverb on snares and cymbals, as well as vocals, is very different to that which we are used to, and occupies its own space in the mix rather than fighting to be heard. Backing vocals are smooth and clean, and again seem effortlessly presented. Synthesizers are subtle and musical and really pad out the sound nicely, being warm and full. This really is a very nice sounding disc, and demonstrates the inherent quality of what is, after all, a 22-year old recording.
All five main channels are used to the full throughout the entire album, which means that it is critical that the centre channel of your system is up to the task of handling the full frequencies of vocals, drums and bass (unless your DVD-Audio player has bass management, which is unlikely at this time). The hallmark of a good multi-channel mix is that it creates a coherent soundfield, and doesn’t call undue attention to itself. This is one such mix, and my hat goes off to the engineers responsible. What we have here is a thoughtful approach to each song, with instruments being placed all around, often to the sides as well as the front and back. Indeed, there are times when sounds swirl around the room – but not in a simple or obvious way. Take the synthetic bass during “Juke Box Hero” which slides around and sometimes through you – it is very enjoyable and perfectly suits the song. Backing vocals are often to the sides/rears, an approach that works for me.
For those with 2-channel set-ups, the MLP 2.0 mix is also of superb quality, having all the qualities of the multi-channel mix in terms of clarity and fidelity, and will not disappoint.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is provided for DVD-Video players, and is quite good. Swapping to it and listening to “Waiting For A Girl Like You” reveals a pleasant, warm sound that would in isolation be perfectly acceptable. Changing back to MLP, though, highlights the punch, clarity and presence that makes all the difference - the Dolby Digital mix is functional, but is smoothed, homogenized and simply lacks life by comparison.
As far as I could tell, the subwoofer was not used, though as far as I am concerned this is a good thing.
A very nice 16-page affair which gives a lot of insight into the album, along with lyrics and credits.
These can be displayed whilst listening to each song.
A collection of 14 black and white live performance shots
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Both versions are identical.
Foreigner-4 is a polished album presented on a superb DVD-Audio disc. The audio quality is beyond reproach. Highly recommended for even passing fans.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DB-930|
|Speakers||Front & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500|