Sunday, August 2, 2009

Foreigner -- "I Want To Know What Love Is"

EDIT 9/5/09: As has been pointed out in the comments section, this song was actually written by Mick Jones, not Lou Gramm. So, I'm an idiot, and we can add this to the growing list of things for which I will need to apologize to Lou Gramm when we finally meet in the fiery depths of hell.

So as much as I've been enjoying this hypercritical but hopefully not mean-spirited analysis of lyrics that were written in good faith, I thought today we could try something a little different. I would like to "get real" with you, set aside this silliness for a while, and talk about something that affects us all: health care. Specifically, the reform bill currently being debated in Congress. Now bear with me, because this gets a little complicated. As I see it, the crux of the issue is --

Gotta take a little time / A little time to think things over

What the .... hold on a second.

(Muffled): Lou? Lou Gramm? What are you doing here? I see ... Well, I'm sorry it hurt your feelings but ... I mean, sure, I'd love to give you a chance to redeem yourself, but right now I'm in the middle of talking to these nice people about health care ... Can you come back tomorrow? ... OK. OK. See you then.

Hey, everyone! Sorry about that. So, as I was saying, the first thing we have to do in order to fix the health-care system is --

Better read between the lines / In case I need it when I’m older

Christ. Sorry, everyone. Just a minute. I'm really sorry about this.

(Muffled): Lou? What's going on? I thought we agreed that ... (sigh) ... OK, if I let you do this one song, you promise to go home? OK. C'mon over here.

Me: OK, everyone, I'm back, and we have a special surprise for you ... a personal visit from an Awesomely Bad Lyrics favorite, Mr. Lou Gramm himself!
Lou Gramm (talking like Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street for some reason): Hi, everybody.
Me: Lou wanted to come by and give us an example of some of the *good* lyrics he's written, so he'll be favoring us with a very special performance of "I Want To Know What Love Is"! Take it away!
Lou Gramm: O-kay. Here I go.

Now this mountain I must climb / Feels like the world upon my shoulders / Through the clouds I see love shine / It keeps me warm as life grows colder

(Gritting teeth, smiling politely)

In my life there’s been heartache and pain / I don’t know if I can face it again / Can't stop now, I’ve traveled so far / To change this lonely life

OK, OK, hold on a second. Lou? Don't take this the wrong way, but can I give you just a little friendly advice? See, there's this concept in writing of *showing* the reader something rather than *telling* him. You started out OK there, some good images of a mountain, a weight on your shoulders, a bright warm light. (You were mixing your metaphors and similes, but we'll just leave that alone for now.) But then, Lou ... Lou, Lou, Lou ... the little pre-chorus here is basically the equivalent of climbing to the top of this mountain that you have built out of words and jumping up and down and yelling "HEY! LOOK AT ME! I'M SAD! I HAVE HEARTACHE AND PAIN! LOOK AT ME!!"

Oh no ... Lou, I'm sorry! Come back, Lou ... oh dear. He's hiding under the refrigerator again.

I wanna know what love is / I want you to show me / I wanna feel what love is / I know you can show me

Yay! Go Lou! Huzzah! Three cheers!

I’m gonna take a little time / A little time to look around me / I’ve got nowhere left to hide / It looks like love has finally found me

Ahem. Listen. Louie boy. Old buddy, old pal. I really like this song. I even sort of the like the first half of the video because it seems like a nice portrayal of quiet desperation and yearning, and I am willing to ignore the fact that about halfway through it becomes totally bizarre and corny and includes more black people than have probably ever attended an actual Foreigner concert.

On the other hand, what are you talking about?

Here are the CliffsNotes for this song thus far: "I'm climbing a mountain to find love, which makes me warm. But I don't know if I can face it because I was sad once. But I've traveled so far to find love. Now I'm going to try to hide. But I can't. Looks like love has finally found me!"

Fun fact! Lou Gramm (and his female backup singer) say the word "love" 18 times during this five-minute opus.

Me: OK, Lou, sorry to interrupt again. Go ahead and finish up for us.
Lou Gramm: (has long since fled in tears)


  1. I think Lou Gramm alone could provide enough fodder for this site.

    It's also really making me want to listen to Foreigner.

  2. This would be funny if Lou Gramm had written the song...but he didn't. Mick Jones did. Why don't you bust Mick Jones' balls instead?

  3. People like you are only writing stuff like this because (1) you wish you wrote the song and made millions or (2) you so called brilliant song was not published. Grow up and accept your a critic who cannot publish a song that people want to hear.