4 (Expanded Version) [2002 Remaster]
The Mick Jones and Lou Gramm–led band were hugely successful yet deceptively songwriterly. They could outline moments, even if those moments involved a bad breakup or a night of unrequited sexual longing. This 1981 album features riffy hits (“Jukebox Hero” and “Urgent,” which features Junior Walker on sax), some old-fashioned rockers (“I’m Gonna Win,” “Woman in Black”), a prom-night weeper (“Waiting for a Girl Like You”), and a Knack-like popper (“Luanne”). Streaks of synthesizers appear but never at the expense of Jones’ heavy riffing, and each tune is reinforced by Gramm’s vocals, which effortlessly alternate between the muscular and the tender.