Friday, September 14, 2007

371. Billy Joel - The Stranger (1977)

Track Listing

1. Moving Out
2. Just The Way You Are
3. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
4. Vienna
5. Stranger
6. Only The Good Die Young
7. She's Always A Woman
8. Get It Right The First Time
9. Everybody Has A Dream


Imagine Meat Loaf and Rufus Wainwright had a bastard love-child who did Broadway shows. If you can then you are not far off the content of this album. I can really see a lot of people loving this album, and I can see it being a guilty pleasure of people who should know better.

Joel is infectious, he is fun and his songs have all the catchiness of said Broadway shows. This is not to say that just like those shows it isn't a bit crap. It is. Joel lyrics have all the emotional maturity of a 12 year old kid with a severe case of misogyny, his songs are sometime trite but never unexciting.

IF there is one good thing that can be said about this album is that it is never boring, either you are marveling at the over-the-top that Scenes from An Italian Restaurant is, or being offended by the fact that he doesn't like clever women in Just The Way You Are, or equating women with bitches in She's Always A Woman, you are never left indifferent. This is a good thing, but it sometimes comes about due to bad reasons, Joel's incompetence as a writer mainly. Still a good bit of fun by someone who would have loved to be a good composer and has pretentions to do it but in the end fails miserably, yet entertainingly.

Track Highlights

1. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
2. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
3. Only The Good Die Young
4. The Stranger

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Singles released from the album include "Just the Way You Are" (which won the Grammy for Record of the Year), the acoustic ballad "She's Always A Woman," the mildly controversial "Only the Good Die Young," and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," which later lent its title to Movin' Out, an acclaimed hit Broadway musical based on Billy Joel's songs.

Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) at the Old Grey Whistle Test:


Anonymous said...

I'll admit to Billy Joel as a guilty pleasure. I was also a bit surprised he made it into the 1001 Albums book, as I never really saw anything particularly innovative about his music.

Catchy? Sure. Groundbreaking? Nah. But that doesn't stop me from singing along to "Only The Good Die Young" when it comes up on the radio.

-- Lance.

Anonymous said...

Billy Joel actually did write some pretty good songs (Longest Time, New York State of Mind, Still Rock & Roll to Me). This just isn't his best album (or even second best). When he was on target (and before he became a drunk), Joel was easily as good as many of the songwriters on this list.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought Innocent Man was a more worthy inclusion in the list - a reasonable attempt to imitate the musical styles of pre-Beatles 60's rock.

I am also ashamed to be able to compare and rate two Billy Joel albums. I blame my sister's record collection

Anonymous said...

If Joel is,as you, say an incompetent songwriter, how did he manage to have 33 top 40 hit singles, sell over 100 million albums,garner 26 Grammy nominations, break box office records,get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Songwriters Hall of Fame,win the Johnny Mercer Award for songwriting, and have a career that is still viable after 40 years? Also, your interpretation of his lyrics reveal that it is you, not Billy Joel, who is the misogynist.

Francisco Silva said...

Anonymous II: I'd direct you to the logical fallacy of Argumentum Ad Populum.

2 billion Muslims can't be wrong!

3 Billion Christians can't be wrong!

100 million Pedophiles can't be wrong.

Yes they can.

Francisco Silva said...

Anonymous II again:

I have no problem with misogyny per se if it is well done (i.e. Stranglers for example).

Now if you google 'Billy Joel misogyny' you'll see I'm not the only one, hey just search 'Joel Misogyny' and most articles will be on Billy.

Now you will also have to take up those accusations with my wife who was the first to point out to me the content of "She's Always a Woman".

I also quite dislike your immature attitude of saying, "who dealt it smelt it", "If you think the KKK is racist is because you are a racist" kind of logic.


Anonymous said...

It would appear that on your website, there is one Portugese Teabag who can't be wrong. If googling the internet and your wife's opinion is the basis of your premise that Billy Joel is a misogynist,and if you believe that your personal taste defines what reality must be -rather than what reality is, then YOU are an ass. (And, sadly, still a misogynist)

Francisco Silva said...


Are you 12?

Anonymous said...

Are you 8? If 2 billion muslims,3 billion Christians and 100 million pedophiles can be wrong, then 10 billion google articles can be wrong as well. Before you go labeling people as incompetents and misogynists, you need to argue your premise with logic and intelligence. I'm not impressed with your academic pedigree. That only makes your opinions less credible.

Francisco Silva said...


I am right, because this is my blog with my opinions on the albums I listen to. I don't presume to be impartial, actually it says so on the first post of them all.

If you don't like it fuck off. I am replying because this is my blog, but what is your motivation for making these comments? Don't you have a life?

I labelled Billy Joel as a misogynist by listening to his songs, not by looking it up on google. This is enough, any more comments by you will be deleted.

Yes, it is censorship, but this is my dictatorship and I am not doing it for your benefit. So fuck off.