Jim Diamond be advised: this is what a power ballad sounds like. Even lined up next to the moral weight of Band Aid it’s like someone’s gone and parked a Hummer in the British charts’ car park – something unbelievably enormous and unspeakably wasteful has rolled into town and it’s best just to stay well out if its way, while maybe sneakily admiring quite how shiny and huge it is.
The structure of “I Want To Know What Love Is” is the same redemptive one as “Hey Jude”, except here’s there’s never any intimacy, and happiness doesn’t come through your friends, but through simply growing as vast as you have to to fill the space provided. Which is pretty bloody vast. The gospel choir? Stained glass window dressing, something else to be rolled up into Foreigner’s katamari of need that by single’s end is ready to engulf the world. “I WANT YOU TO SHOW ME”. “B-but o great one we have shown you everything.” “I KNOW YOU CAN SHOW ME.”
As is often the case, abjection is more interesting than salvation: bluster turns out to be the single’s main appeal, but there’s some lovely stuff going on in “I Want To Know”‘s first section (also the only point I can make any kind of emotional contact with Lou Gramm): the slow-breaking wave of sound at 45 seconds in, the Martian war machine stomp just after a minute. They hint at a stranger, stronger, icier single under this one’s unstoppable carapace.