Billy Joel
An Innocent Man



by Kenneth E. Rathburn USER (100 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2011 | 7 replies

Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An Innocent Man is what you've come to enjoy in Joel's music; if in a less-than remarkable light.

Billy Joel during the 80's has brought much division of opinion and quality, even when strictly making note of how Glass Houses and The Nylon Curtain transitioned between each other. Where the former felt like a karaoke-oriented album more than anything, the latter (re)incorporated more of what made Joel's best albums so great. Then we have An Innocent Man, which feels like it should've bridged the aforementioned albums.

Not unlike Glass Houses, there's a surprising lack of Joel's signature piano-playing on this album. Conversely, the vocal orientation on display here is far superior to its infamous grand-predecessor. The title track shows just how this plays out and, though definitely not a preferred approach, is still enjoyable. Except, just like Glass Houses (again), this still makes it tough to fully enjoy the album when less is given to appease our ears. Thankfully, the almost-always reliable voice behind the Piano Man here is more consistent than anything he gave us after 52nd Street.

Now, the music itself is more in-line with The Nylon Curtain; and not just because the rock 'n' roll vibe is on the sparingly used side. As before, the nostalgic effect of earlier decades is definitely present; if in some points more than others. For instance, An Innocent Man's lady-track "Christie Lee" sounds like it would have fit right into the original Back to the Future soundtrack. We see this occur on either slow or upbeat songs, and they work with varying degrees of execution. Although the title track does an excellent job focusing on Joel's voice (as noted above), it's tough for that to fundamentally carry a song that lasts for over five minutes. On the other hand, we see the music used very effectively on "This Night," which turns out to be the best song on the album simply for the rousing vocal combination in the chorus.

Most of what you've come to enjoy and expect of Joel is still present in An Innocent Man, but that's really all that needs to be said. Little truly distinguishes this album from Joel's other works, aside from the rather heavy emphasis on love (which is a lot, considering who we're talking about here). In fact, much of this album can easily get stuck in one's head before asking a girl out or actually attending a "hot date." Essentially, we have another Joel album that shows he still had charms to work on us, even if they were beginning to run out.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 3rd 2011


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Things might get interesting after this album. We shall see, though.

July 4th 2011


You and me, buddy. It's a lonely word for our discography reviews.
I saw this album at work today.

July 4th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, it's a shame not many people here seem to bother with Billy Joel. He's really got one of the more consistent and solid discographies out there.

I'm trying to decide who will be my next discography review, there are actually a lot up for grabs that I'd take.

Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2011


well written, have a pos.

Never bothered with the man.

So many zillions of artists make tremendous music, there's no way of catching up with all of them though....

Digging: Inhumatus - Terran Genocide

July 4th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Well if you at least want to hear something, I'd suggest (in order): The Stranger, Turnstiles, River of Dreams and The Nylon Curtain foremost.

March 27th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

This is exactly what I expect from Billy Joel, and I do like it a lot for what its worth. Nothing really to groundbreaking but its a welcomed addition to the Billy Joel discography.

September 28th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

such a fucking good album

Digging: Gottfried Huppertz - Metropolis, Op. 29

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