Tuesday, September 11, 2012

#52: Billy Joel - The Stranger (1977)

Billy Joel has always been a hero of mine. For years all I played was his music (albeit poorly) on the piano. The guy has an amazing catalogue, and while the songs sound at times a little dated - the songwriting is still superb. This is without question his best album.

Scenes From and Italian Restaurant
It's Joel's best song. It's a track with an epic feel and multiple changes. It starts slowly but picks up speed with a sax solo, and then all of a sudden it's a rock song. Great lyrics, great story but the music and the melody are among the best ever recorded. One of my all time favorite songs. The piano solo is especially impressive. If you've never heard it before, it's a must listen. It's not short clocking in at 7:35 but it's well worth every moment.
Is it redundant to also say this is one of my favorites? The song basically says don't live your life too fast. It's a perfect blend of musicality, emotion, and lyrics. It's one of Joel's best written songs but the performance is just ridiculous. Such an amazing piano part and it was recorded just beautifully. "Where's the fire what's the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out, you got so much to do and only so many hours in a day."

Get it Right the First Time
This is one of two songs that was not destined to be a hit off this record. However, it's still a very, very solid song. It's got a great rock feel to it, but it also incorporates a Latin vibe. Always an enjoyable track to come across and it's scary to think this is one of the weakest tracks on the album.

All in all, Billy Joel is the man. He absolutely holds up after all these years. This album is an American classic and if you've never heard it - you should go buy it. It's one of the biggest and most iconic albums in my life. It shaped my idea of what music is supposed to sound like. I don't know what my life would be like without Billy Joel.

Tomorrow's album: The Everly Brothers' A Date With the Everly Brothers.

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