Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Billy Joel: The Stranger (1977)

B-1 is for the good girls
It's Only the Good Die Young

- Certain Songs, The Hold Steady

Let's clutch and kiss and sing and shake tonight let's try to levitate
You Catholic girls start much too late

- Both Crosses, The Hold Steady

If you had to evacuate the planet and there was only room to take one Billy Joel record on your trip to Alpha Centauri, The Stranger is the one to take along on the journey. Wikipedia tells me that Rolling Stone ranked this record at number 70 in its list of top 500 albums of all time. I could easily name 200 or 300 hundred better records, but I think the ranking speaks to my argument that this is indeed his best record.

This album reminds me of my sister. I remember sitting in her room in her bean bag chair, listening to her records. Sometime she was there; sometimes, she was out on-the-town. She is four years older, so her musical choices weren't always mine. I never liked her Cleo Lane records but I loved Some Girls from the Rolling Stones, and her Led  Zeppelin records. I was nonplussed by Jean Luc Ponty, couldn't care less about ABBA, but this record found a partially sympathetic ear. It's another record that is mostly about nostalgia.

This record was produced by Phil Ramone (no, he wasn't the eighth Ramone).

I quite enjoy a few tracks on this LP, like Movin' Out (Anthony's Song), The Stranger, Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, and Only the Good Die Young, for example. I would pick the title track as the best song on the LP and I would also nominate Just The Way You Are as the worst. I'm also not a fan of She's Always a Woman.

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