9 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Billy Joel survived punk and new wave, giving it a good shot with Glass Houses. But by 1982, Ronald Reagan was president and baby boomers were settling into a reality of an America that was producing less and consuming more. John Lennon had been shot little more than a year earlier, further coarsening the atmosphere. Billy Joel set out to make the most ambitious album of his career, one that could stand together as a thematic whole; it'd end up as the best-sounding album in his catalog. He succeeds on most counts. It's among his favorites and was among the first albums to be recorded, mixed, and mastered digitally. On "Allentown," Joel was remarkably in sync with another East Coast rocker, Bruce Springsteen, who released Nebraska the same year. "Pressure" inhabited John Lennon's rage and spread it with Paul McCartney's sense of melody. "Goodnight Saigon" addressed the Vietnam War. The full chime of "She's Right on Time" and the synth textures of "Surprises" proved Joel was, above all, a peerless craftsman who could write and layer music like few others in pop music. 

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Billy Joel survived punk and new wave, giving it a good shot with Glass Houses. But by 1982, Ronald Reagan was president and baby boomers were settling into a reality of an America that was producing less and consuming more. John Lennon had been shot little more than a year earlier, further coarsening the atmosphere. Billy Joel set out to make the most ambitious album of his career, one that could stand together as a thematic whole; it'd end up as the best-sounding album in his catalog. He succeeds on most counts. It's among his favorites and was among the first albums to be recorded, mixed, and mastered digitally. On "Allentown," Joel was remarkably in sync with another East Coast rocker, Bruce Springsteen, who released Nebraska the same year. "Pressure" inhabited John Lennon's rage and spread it with Paul McCartney's sense of melody. "Goodnight Saigon" addressed the Vietnam War. The full chime of "She's Right on Time" and the synth textures of "Surprises" proved Joel was, above all, a peerless craftsman who could write and layer music like few others in pop music. 

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
63 Ratings
63 Ratings
iTunessmith ,

Where do you people come from?

Lyrical shortcomings!!!??? Waterlogged second side!!!??? Anyone who doesn't appreciate the achingly beautiful metaphor in "Where's the Orchestra," the album's closing track, should have their reviewer's licensed revoked. Step aside, sonny, and let someone who knows how to drive take the wheel.

Lounge Rat ,

Solid Work

A highly under-rated album. Solid writing that offered a nice break from the techno-disco crap that was all over the place in the early 80s.

Joey Z 23 ,

Thank you iTunessmith!!!

My head just about exploded on "lyrical shortcomings" as well. In terms of making you feel like he's singing about you, if there's been a better lyricist in the last 30 years, I don't know who he/she is. Chuck Klosterman said that the reason he never thinks of Billy Joel as "cool" is because, when he listens to him, all he can think about is himself--which is about as high as praise can get, I think. Klosterman also loves "Where's the Orchestra." "The Nylon Curtain" is quite simply Billy's Magnum Opus.

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