#67 on Rolling Stone Top 500 albums list
Although he may not be the best driver in the world, Billy Joel is definitely one of the best songwriters. The Stranger, released in 1977, was his second big commercial hit, the first being Piano Man(1973). This album gives the feel of an Italian family living in New York with its acoordians and such. Surprisingly, Billy's piano does not play an important role as much as in his other albums, but he still makes sure it is heard. Did I mention he writes and organizes the songs all by himself?
Copies sold: Over 10 million
They are all great, but if I had to pick 4...
Movin' Out(Anthony's Song)
Just The Way You Are
She's Always A Woman
1. Movin' Out(Anthony's Song)
- The anthem for people moving out of their house. Nice guitar driven song. You can't hear the piano hardly at all, but listen closely; its there. A song about Anthony, well, moving out. Then he mentions Sgt. O'Leary, not sure what he has to do with Anthony, but his story is basically him breaking his back working to get a Cadillac. The vocals are deliciously weird, because in a couple parts there is a strange stutter. For example: "You should never argue with a crazy mi-mi-mi-mi-mi mind" Great stuff. 5/5
2. The Stranger
- I'll describe this song in a way relating to Billy Joel. The whole song is a car crash(not literally). A nice little piano instrumental was driving down the street. A dark rock song was driving the opposite way. The piano intrumental swerves away from a deer and collides with the rock song, and the rock song wins. You will understand if you listen to the song, because the second part jumps right out at you. And the chorus. Yes, the chorus, man do I love Billy Joel's voice. If you read the lyrics, it will give you a good explanation of the album cover. 5/5
3. Just The Way You Are
- Here is the most popular(but not the best!) song on the album. It is one of the most covered songs of all time also. Instead of playing the piano, Billy plays an electric keyboard, which is played in the great intro of the song. Then the sax player breaks out into a cool solo. I'm sure you've all heard this line before: "Don't go changing, to try and please me/You never let me down before." 5/5
4. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
- This song has four different parts. The first is a ballad describing an italian retaurant basically. The second is a little jumpy number about a namelss person who has a new life. The third, and best, is about Brenda and Eddie. They were the popular steadies in high school, then decided to get married. Bad choice! They divorce and go back to their normal lives, but you can never go back there again. The fourth is pretty much a reprise of the first part. 4.5/5
- This is probably the weakest track on the album. That being said, does that make it a bad song? Heck no. This is the main song where the piano is really the driving instrument. The accordion is nice in this song, but meh, i is surrounded by songs that are way better. 3.5/5
6. Only The Good Die Young
- Billy Joel writing an anti-religious song? You bet, and he does a good job at it too. It's not your typical screw Christianity song however. It "politely" puts down the way Catholics are held back from doing many fun things in life because of the fact that they are Catholic. I particularly like the line "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints/The sinners are much more fun"
I would have put this in the standout tracks section, but I wanted to put one on that wasn't on The Essential Billy Joel greatest hits and if I did put this on, then over half of the songs would be on there. 5/5
7. She's Always A Woman To Me
- This is the most beautiful song I have ever heard. The way he sings with such emotion is just amazing. Just take a listen yourself, you won't regret it. 5/5
8. Get It Right The First Time
- I suggest that the drummers reading this listen to the intro. It has such a good beat. Then in come piano, bass, and guitar with a nice little riff. Good song, but not at as good as the others. 4/5
9. Everybody Has A Dream
- The second weakest track behind Vienna, but still a good song. The slowest on the album with a catchy chorus, equipped with female backup singers. Nothing that special, but look at the songs it has to compete with. 3.5/5
This is the only Billy Joel album that I would recommend to everybody. It's one of my favorites. Great great great. If you aren't going to buy it, then at least listen to the standout tracks I listed.