March 6, 2014

Postscript: Johnny Foreigner's "Stop Talking About Ghosts"

Johnny Foreigner -- Stop Talking About Ghosts (detail, enhance)

While we ended up having enough restraint to edit the final version of yesterday's album review down from well over 1,200 words, there is still more we need to say concerning Johnny Foreigner's recent goings-on. Namely, that the Birmingham, England-based quartet issued Monday a digital single for the tune "Stop Talking About Ghosts," which includes some epic b-sides. The song is a central cut on the foursome's magnificent new collection You Can Do Better, which we unreservedly recommend. Chief among the b-sides -- in case you didn't see us raving on Facebook -- is Johnny Foreigner's scorching rendition of Swedish legends The Wannadies' rager "Hit." We've told this backstory here many times, we're sure, but it bears repeating. In early 1997, we were minding our business in Amsterdam when we were overtaken by a rainy day, and we spent that day inside doing whatever while watching MTV Europe. MTV Europe had in rotation at the time the video for The Wannadies' "Hit," and it blew us away (and, goddamnit, the clip is now region blocked for America -- THANKS OBAMA). Once we saw the video, we felt like we had little choice but to sit right in the basement bar we'd taken refuge in to see how many more times we could see the video again before passing out. It was that good. And the process, sitting and watching MTV, waiting for video to cycle around again, was a replay of a cherished experience from our youth, when we'd sit and sit and wait for a certain classic Van Halen clip, or maybe Rainbow's "All Night Long," to come back around.

So it was a brilliant day, that day in Amsterdam, and one made all the more brilliant by "Hit." The Wannadies never really cracked America, despite making some inroads with their "You And Me Song," which was prominently featured on the "Romeo + Juliette" soundtrack. And because the band never gained a footing here, they have always sort of just been "our" band, in a way not dissimilar to how Johnny Foreigner is sort of (OK, totally is) "our band." The fact that the Birmingham, England-based noise-pop giants chose to cover "Hit" is the very definition of serendipity, and one that makes us very happy. And it certainly makes the value proposition of the "Stop Talking About Ghosts" single that much greater. As if the music itself wasn't inducement enough, however, all money raised from the sale of the single goes to the Cavell Nurses Trust, which offers emergency financial support to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in the UK. So, while you could be a deadbeat and just grab these three awesome songs -- oh, right, there's also a ridiculously heavy reimagining of the Vs. Everything track "Vs. You" -- for free, well, don't do that. Instead, help Johnny Foreigner and its label Alcopop! support this very worthy cause. Stream all three tracks via the embed below, and click through to purchase and support Cavell. You can do it. For more information about "Stop Talking About Ghosts," read fronter Alexei Berrow's song-for-song breakdown of You Can Do Better right here. And in the event you are in need of some light reading, Johnny Foreigner has just published all the words to the new record right here.

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