Billy Joel is perhaps the most prolific singer-songwriter-composers of all time. He can almost do any genre that he wants, but what he’s best at is, of course, the jazz-rock that embodies his work. He is the quintessential son of the Bronx.

Essentially, his music is like a window into what it is like to grow up in New York City as well as experience life with its inhabitants.  This rings true on his 1977 album The Stranger. Joel metaphorically wastes no time in telling his audience that this album is a bit different with the ode to independence, Movin‘ Out (Anthony’s Song).

However, Joel kicks things into high gear with the upbeat jazz-rock piece The Stranger. It only gets better with the

Cover of "The Stranger"

storytelling of Brenda and Eddie in the upbeat Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. The interesting thing about Scenes From An Italian Restaurant is that, regardless of where you live and when, it’s still a timeless story. It’s the story about how life changes.

However, Joel hits a sour note with the anti-Christian Only The Good Die Young. Though Joel has said that it’s not necesarily anti-Catholic but rather pro lust, it still comes across as anti-Christian because he does say

“They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait

Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t

I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints

the sinners are much more fun.”

But at the same time, it is a fun “forbidden love” song.

This was Billy Joel’s breakout album. Without it, his career would be a few hits and nothing more. This made him into a legend.

B+

 

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