The Foreign Exchange | Dear Friends : An Evening With The Foreign Exchange [Review]

1. Fight For Love
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Authenticity” by The Foreign Exchange (2010)
You can hear me profess my love for this track here. Nothing is lost in the live rendition, which is a pretty major accomplishment if you’ve heard most of these singers lately.

2. All Roads
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Authenticity” by The Foreign Exchange (2010)
I think I actually like this song better live. It’s early, but I can really tell Phonte is taking this singing seriously as he’s continued to work on his voice. Jeanne Jolly’s voice really sounds good on the background vocals here.

3. Take Off The Blues
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Leave It All Behind” by The Foreign Exchange (2008)
I know I reviewed LIAB on one of the sites, but I can’t seem to find it. Either way, this song was one I was really digging as well. It has a little bit different feel than the album version, I’d say a lot more strings if I had to put my finger on what feels different. For those of you that haven’t heard this song, it’s about letting go and just going with a feeling…now, I think it has a double meaning. I think blues means concerns as well as blues as in bluejeans. I could be reaching, but that’s what I get from it: “Kick off you’re shoes, take off the blues and come to me / so much to do so much is meant for you to see / you might as well, come a little closer / girl don’t make me wait too long for you.”

4. Lose Your Way/Band Introductions
Originally released on the +FE Music album “City Lights Volume 2: Shibuya” by Nicolay (2009)
Not much to say here, the band plays behind Phonte introducing everyone.

5. House Of Cards
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Leave It All Behind” by The Foreign Exchange (2008)
This is another one that sounds a bit different and more musically beautiful live than it did on the album. That could be my bias for live instrumentation showing, so don’t mind me. Jeanne Jolly takes the lead on this song and her, this time, smokey sound manages to sound at home here. The vocals really sound great next to Phonte’s voice. Song is pretty straight forward, but don’t let that fool you, it’s a winner.

6. Greatest Weapon Of All Time
Originally released on the +FE Music album “SunStorm” by Zo! (2010)
Sy Smith, or “Si Smit” as Phonte jokingly calls her on this album, gives us a selection from Sunstorm. I was already won over by this song so I don’t have much new to add, I think I said it all previously. “Sy Smith is already dope in her own right, but when you back her with a soulful bass-line, throwback strings and melody that sound like a long lost early 80′s/late 70′s soul song, you get an amazing song. I don’t know if it’s the graphic designer in me, or the artistic ability of the artist, but I can’t help but see videos for the music he creates.

7. Something In The Way She Moves
Phonte takes us off the +FE train and gets us into some James Taylor. Now, I hadn’t previously heard this song, and upon hearing it I appreciate this take a lot more…even though it isn’t a favorite. I can get with the lyrics and the music is much better than the original. It’s just not my type of sound overall. Props to Phonte for even having this in his musical Rolodex of music. I think it does help me too that this song is sandwiched between Phonte’s comedic anecdotes at the beginning and end.

8. Laughing At Your Plans
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Authenticity” by The Foreign Exchange (2010)
Once again, we get another favorite from Authenticity. It’s hard for me to compare Jolly’s voice to Chantae Cann’s and say I’m being fair, I’m admittedly biased to live music. I will say that they do, even with the same shoes on, leave a different imprint on the song and make each version feel slightly different, but both great.

9. Daykeeper
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Leave It All Behind” by The Foreign Exchange (2008)
All of the things I don’t like about country music are present on this remake…so my initial reaction is to skip this one. I make it through in an effort to not to be shortsighted…but I don’t like it. The funny thing is that I know they did this in fun, but I imagine I’d like it much more without the country twang they put on it. I mean, I can even deal with the banjo’s but that twang is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Then at the 3:43 mark we get a live chopped and screwed version which again, isn’t my thing, but it’s cool to hear them do it live…especially over that Crucial Conflict beat.

10. I Wanna Know
Originally released on the +FE Music album “Leave It All Behind” by The Foreign Exchange (2008)
I like the album version of this song a little bit better, but this one isn’t bad at all. It’s songs like this that really appreciate Phonte’s ability to write good lyrics. I’d say he’s the singing version of Scarface, the rapper. Face isn’t the most complex lyricist, but he’s direct and gets the point across in ways that you can feel in an effortless way. Great song that you can’t go wrong with live or on the original. What you do get with this live version is more of Tiggalo’s improvisation and sense of humor…including the Sy Smith, ‘scuse me Si Smit, lead crowd participation.

11. Steal Away feat. Jeanne Jolly
We get a bonus song here as the live album ended with the previous song. This is one of those songs you have to hear to really appreciate. I’ll post the lyrics, but you don’t really get the feel until you hear the harmony, the string, and the tranquil music on the track.

I’m alive and all is still inside this room
In time I’ll lay with you and find the heavens in your eyes
I’m at your mercy and I’ll fall all over again
And again, and again
Kiss me on a quiet night til’ moonlight turns to day
I don’t wanna wait for you to think it through
So let’s just steal away
You take me to the highest high when all my skies are grey
There’s no other way that I would spend my time
Let’s just steal away
I’m alive and all the colors are in bloom
Summertime our lazy days fade into June into July
Don’t wanna move so we just go and do it again
And again, and again

12. All The Kisses
featuring Amber & Paris Strother of KING
So, I guess I gotta come clean here. My homegirl asked me what I thought about the group KING and I told her like I’ve told others, I’m not a huge fan. It’s not personal, but I guess I just hadn’t been wowed yet. I don’t think they’re bad, I just haven’t drank the Kool-Aid yet. So here we get two of the members backing Phonte on one of the things he does best, an 80′s sounding song. The song is about fighting for love, something else that Phonte is really good at writing about. It’s easy to give up on relationships sometimes, especially when they transition from fun and easy to being actual work. This song is about embracing the work and being committed to what you’re working on.

Bottom Line:
This is a cool way to get into the music of The Foreign Exchange. I think it’s appropriately titled “Dear Friends” because it does feel like something for us fans that really rock with them. They’ve grown a lot from the first album and I’ve enjoyed stop along the way and look forward to many more albums to come. If you like +FE like I do, this one is a sure pick up from the official +FE store. With some familiar songs and some interesting takes on things you’ve heard before, it’s a good album to add to the collection.


  1. 12kyle says:

    Great review, bruh

    I agree with you on most points. I could really get with the country version, tho. They kinda lost me on it. I know it was in good fun but I just can’t get with it. Maybe I need to listen a few more times

    Prior to this cd, I had never heard of King. So far so good. My fav joint on this cd is All the Kisses

    • saule wright says:

      Yeah, the country one threw me off a bit too. KING has been all over my facebook for the past, almost year. Check them out on youtube, let me know what you think.

      It’s hard for me to pick a fave, I like soo many of the songs soo much, live or on the albums.

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