Billy Joel
Storm Front


3.0
good

Review

by Kenneth E. Rathburn USER (46 Reviews)
July 7th, 2011 | 9 replies | 5,552 views


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The road to recovery is rough, one that Storm Front expresses completely.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

After releasing the disjointed and generally mediocre mess that was The Bridge, expectations for what Joel would provide next were naturally split. He'd either recover without much effort after such a slump (by his standards), or we'd watch as he'd continue to decline further on. What could have resulted was him being stuck in a rut, not unlike those many other artists wind up falling into. And though the eventual release that turned out to be Storm Front wasn't a rejuvenation, by any stretch, it at least brought back more of the Billy Joel we had come to love.

Most of the errors found throughout The Bridge were cleaned on Storm Front, though the more stiff and contrived nature of his 1986 effort still persists here and there, such as during the title track. Thankfully, these moments are far less notable, which is partially thanks to hits "We Didn't Start the Fire," "I Go To Extremes" and "Leningrad." The mix and command of vocals/keys that Joel used to handle so well and fluently is finally back, making it his first successful attempt at said combination since The Nylon Curtain. Speaking of which, the latter of the aforementioned tracks is arguably the best song on the album, thanks to a relatively mellow theme complimented by the musical melody. It has a rather abrupt ending, but fans of "Goodbye Saigon" are bound to enjoy this Cold War-inspired song.

Variety turned out to be something that The Bridge had too much of for its own good; rarely executing it well. Storm Front also has a bit of an identity crisis with how it seems to transition through tones and moods; whether upbeat or serious. Fortunately for Joel and his listeners, the shifts between songs don't feel nearly as overdone as those in The Bridge. Despite having much over his 1986 offering, however, Joel and his storm still can't accomplish as much power or majesty as he once displayed so consistently. He seemed to still be going through the motions, as if trying to make his music up-to-date while leaving traces of his earlier material present (but barely). The old, calm rock vibe from the 70's is tough to find, but when present with the then-current pop-esque sound, the results are oddly conflicted. Rather than fluently feeding off each other, this rather basic amalgamation of styles and influences leaves some of Storm Front feeling indecisive; even during its best moments.

The 80's didn't exactly turn out to be a smooth decade for Joel and his music. Despite shining well on The Nylon Curtain and occasionally getting the right groove on An Innocent Man, his short selection of albums during this period was unimpressive, overall. Really, this is what Storm Front feels like more than anything: a retread through the highs and lows of Joel during a dividing period. Quality and style are as settled here as his music was from Glass Houses until Storm Front itself. Not a bad culmination all told, but more than a few steps behind what was accomplished before.



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user ratings (51)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
July 7th 2011



317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"And so it goes..."

Yes it does, William.

RavenRock
July 7th 2011



688 Comments


Pretty good

trymedude
July 7th 2011



151 Comments


we didn't start the fiyyyyyaaaaaa

Parallels
July 8th 2011



6640 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

one of my favorite Billy Joel albums. I really need to listen to his more classic stuff rather than this and River of Dreams.

Xenorazr
July 8th 2011



317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, most of his best songs are from his albums in the 70's. I'd say something else, but I'll save that for my next review ;)

BigHans
July 8th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DARLIN I DONT KNOW WHY I GOOOO TO EXTREMES

WatchItExplode
July 8th 2011



3072 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ha! I loved this album so much when I was 10....still pretty good really

sco703
July 31st 2011



30 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I identify with a lot of what you're saying, and songs like And So It Goes do harken back to classic
era Joel. Storm Front is certainly not on the same level as The Stranger, 52nd Street, or even The
Nylon Curtain, but it's actually better than I would have expected for a release after The Bridge
(which I do like, even though I know it's far from his best work).

SadAndHolyGlow
October 27th 2013



1444 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

_"Storm Front" feels indecisive, even in its best moments._

Perfectly put.

Digging: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - IE



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