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Glass Houses

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Album Review

The back-to-back success of The Stranger and 52nd Street may have brought Billy Joel fame and fortune, even a certain amount of self-satisfaction, but it didn't bring him critical respect, and it didn't dull his anger. If anything, being classified as a mainstream rocker — a soft rocker — infuriated him, especially since a generation of punks and new wave kids were getting the praise that eluded him. He didn't take this lying down — he recorded Glass Houses. Comparatively a harder-rocking album than either of its predecessors, with a distinctly bitter edge, Glass Houses still displays the hallmarks of Billy Joel the pop craftsman and Phil Ramone the world-class hitmaker. Even its hardest songs — the terrifically paranoid "Sometimes a Fantasy," "Sleepin' With the Television On," "Close to the Borderline," the hit "You May Be Right" — have bold, direct melodies and clean arrangements, ideal for radio play. Instead of turning out to be a fiery rebuttal to his detractors, the album is a remarkable catalog of contemporary pop styles, from McCartney-esque whimsy ("Don't Ask Me Why") and arena rock ("All for Leyna") to soft rock ("C'etait Toi [You Were the One]") and stylish new wave pop ("It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," which ironically is closer to new wave pop than rock). That's not a detriment; that's the album's strength. The Stranger and 52nd Street were fine albums in their own right, but it's nice to hear Joel scale back his showman tendencies and deliver a solid pop/rock record. It may not be punk — then again, it may be his concept of punk — but Glass Houses is the closest Joel ever got to a pure rock album.

Customer Reviews

Good album!

this is a good album--not just the obvious hits. I still remember all the songs--good stuff!

The Best Joel Album, And One Of My Favorite Albums In General

....Just incredible!
This album is responsible for introducing me to the wonderful music of Billy Joel.
Not a bad song on it! Take my advice and buy this album, you won't regret it!

Love it!

The genius of Billy Joel is that he never writes bad songs! Some of my favourites (Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, for example) never made it on the radio, yet are wonderful songs - tune and lyrics seamlessly intertwined. "Glass Houses" is another perfect example: apart from the obvious hits, there is so much to discover and love in this album! I first got it in high school (more than 30 years ago!) and I love it even more today than I did then!

Biography

Born: May 09, 1949 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Billy Joel never was a critic's favorite, the pianist emerged as one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the latter half of the '70s. Joel's music consistently demonstrates an affection for Beatlesque hooks and a flair for Tin Pan Alley and Broadway melodies. His fusion of two distinct eras made him a superstar in the late '70s and '80s, as he racked an impressive string of multi-platinum albums and hit singles. Born in the Bronx, Joel was raised in the Long Island suburb of Hicksville,...
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