Under The Radar: Foreigner, Agent Provocateur (1984)
Updated: Mar 25
Agent Provocateur, was the fifth studio album by Foreigner. The record was released on December 7, 1984. The album went on to become a triple Platinum seller in the U.S, due largely in part to the bands first and only # 1 hit single I Want to Know What Love Is. The record was produced by founding member Mick Jones and Alex Sadkin.
Agent Provocateur, was the highly anticipated follow up to the band's 1981 seven million selling aptly titled Foreigner 4 record.
Although Agent Provocateur, was a multi platinum smash record with a # 1 hit single, the album has for the most part been overlooked and has been deemed to be the weakest release from the group.
Granted , Agent Provocateur is in no way as satisfying a listen as the bands pop rock blockbuster 4 album, it is better than most fans give it credit for.
The hard rocking Tooth and Nail, Reaction to Action, the catchy Love In Vain and the pop rock masterpiece That Was Yesterday, definitely deserve a little more love, and rank as some of the bands most accessible songs to date.
In my opinion Agent Provocateur is a great record but it does slightly miss the mark in being a quintessential Foreigner record or worthy follow up to Foreigner 4 for the following reasons.
First, the album was released a mere three years after the Foreigner 4 record. I believe that the group just didn't have enough time to create a stronger set of songs.
Second,the record is plagued with decidedly 80's production values with a heavy emphasis on synthesizers , electric drums, and other electric elements, which buried the guitar and base too far in the mix for my liking.
Third, Agent Provocateur isn't exactly your typical AOR record. For the most part these songs are not your standard love songs or hard rockers that we come to expect from Foreigner or any band during the 80' s.
The subjects or themes were a little darker and complex then most records at the time. Provocateur deals with frustration, reflection and yearning of finding and maintaining an enduring relationship.
So if you can get passed the production value then you owe it to yourself to give Foreigner's Agent Provocateur is listen.