Monday, July 23, 2012

#2: Billy Joel - 52nd Street (1978)

While I enjoy finding new music through this project of reviewing albums I also would like to take some time to revisit some of my all-time and current favorites. Billy Joel has been a huge influence on both my career and life. His lyrics are both full of emotion, thought, and they strip back the bull from the absolute truth.

I was flipping through the channels and caught Billy Joel Live at Yankee Stadium performing 'Scenes From an Italian Restaurant'. It was then I knew I wanted to play music for the rest of my life.

My Life:
It's impossible for me to be impartial to not only this album but this song. Only a man from New York would be so brutally honest about things you probably shouldn't be so honest about. I'm not one to usually dwell on lyrics, however, some songs have both the unique blend of amazing lyrics and music that together melds into an amazing song.

Quite possibly my favorite Billy Joel song. What's always amazed me is that Joel can sing, growl, and howl at the moon in anger and then the next track sing, "Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue." Nothing about this song is over the top, I can easily fake the piano part just by glancing at the chords. Maybe that's the appeal - it's simple, effective, powerful, and just breaks it down to the basics as honestly as possible.

What's cooler the opening sax or the ba-dun-dun of the piano? While this is an amazing song, I think after the song got road tested it got even better. He released this same song on Kohuept as a live version and it rocks just that much more. Versions aside it's an incredibly well crafted song with lyrics such as, "When she says she wants forgiveness, such a clever masquerade." From the rock/bounce of the verse to the march of the chorus this song keeps the listener entertained for a solid four and a half minutes.

Billy Joel makes me wonder why I bought a guitar. No other musician has made the piano quite as cool as Billy Joel. Again, I don't claim to be viewing this album impartially. In fact all of these reviews are based upon music quality, some historical quality, and just how much the album really resonates with me. If you're a fan of either Billy Joel, Elton John, or any type of piano based rock then you really need to own this album. For me, there's not much better.

Tomorrow's Album: Elvis Presley's Self Titled Album (1956)

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