Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is

First Hit #1: Feburary 2, 1985

I Want to Know What Love Is couldn’t sound more different than Like a Virgin. While often dismissed as a bit cheesy, it is an unexpectedly dark synth ballad which a redemptive chorus – pushed very over the top by the inclusion of a gospel choir. Like a Virgin, of course, is a poppy little dance number. But thematically, they are the same thing, two songs about people whose romantic pasts are influencing their current relationships.

Interestingly, the chorus in both is perhaps their most memorable part and the one thing that separates them. Like a Virgin is about a young woman who is allowing herself to fully commit to a lover. Foreigner is having much more difficulty. It’s a song about wanting to commit, wanting desperately hard to finally connect with that other person. The song could sound like either a precursor or distant sequel to the previous hit. If he’s finally shown what love is, the man of the song could be just like Madonna’s virgin, in a fresh relationship. Or, if Madonna’s relationship goes south, it could be about picking up the pieces in the next relationship down the line. How appropriate that these two songs were connected, if only by sheer coincidence.

This entry was posted in 1985 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is

  1. RBerman says:

    Foreigner in their late-singles career ballad phase, the flip side of the hopeful sentiment of “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” The burned former romantic, who now sees a potential relationship as a potential threat, “this mountain I must climb.” Heavy synth pads all around.

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