Billy Joel
The Stranger


5.0
classic

Review

by themightyquinn23 USER (5 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 35 replies


Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist


#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

Standout Tracks
They are all great, but if I had to pick 4...

Movin' Out(Anthony's Song)
The Stanger
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

5. Vienna - 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.

Rating: 5/5


user ratings (206)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer (5)
Classic rock songwriting and lyricism at its finest....

Kenneth E. Rathburn (5)
The Stranger is a staple. He is timeless....


Comments:Add a Comment 
The JoZ
August 16th 2004


345 Comments


My parents have been big Billy Joel fans for the longest time, and I've since listened to his stuff many, many times

This is a stellar album from one of the best in the business.

themightyquinn23
August 16th 2004


54 Comments


Agreed. Billy Joel doesn't seem to be liked very much among the people here, not sure why because he has some amazing stuff.

The JoZ
August 16th 2004


345 Comments


Well, alot of people here probably weren't exposed to him at a younger age like I was...

I have only been heavily into rock/hard rock/metal for the past 4 or 5 years or so...

I grew up with artists like Billy Joel, Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, John Fogarty, etc.

All very talented musicians, with some great material, but often underlooked, especially by people my/our age, because they aren't heavy metal or something.

Wanker
August 16th 2004


139 Comments


billy joel is great in all aspects of his music-writing and performing. this is probably my forth favorite album he made.

themightyquinn23
August 16th 2004


54 Comments


Only fourth??? Why is that?

Iai
Emeritus
August 16th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haha....when I saw Billy Joel on the RS list, I thought, 'I've never heard any of his stuff'. And then I read this and realise Just The Way You Are isn't Barry Manilow after all. :lol:

themightyquinn23
August 16th 2004


54 Comments


Barry Manilow LOL

I would have laughed even harder if you said Barry White

Also, I bet you have heard Piano Man before.

Iai
Emeritus
August 16th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I may well have done. But I don't know it by name.

Wanker
August 16th 2004


139 Comments


[QUOTE=themightyquinn23]Only fourth??? Why is that?[/QUOTE]

i like river of dreams, piano man and the nylon curtain better than this album. i dont know, its just a personal preference.

jonno_2010
March 18th 2005


58 Comments


I think billy joel is a legend who can play the piano as well as I can shit, and I did a 9ft shit once....

temporary
June 2nd 2005


207 Comments


I've always liked Billy Joel. He's definitly one of my favorite 'softer' singer/songwriter. Great review.

robo2448
June 2nd 2005


132 Comments


Great review. I don't have any of his stuff, but was dragged to the musical Movin' Out and really enjoyed the soundtrack. I'll probably buy this or a greatest hits soon

Final Origin
September 14th 2005


380 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review there, this is indeed one of the best albums I have ever heard, the "Greatest Hits Volume I" contains 6 tracks off this album!!! That tells you that this album has Joel's many great songs.

I wouldn't start here if you want to get into Joel, start on the "Greatest Hits Volumes I & II" as it is an absolute jem.

"Freshly Baked"
September 10th 2006


583 Comments


Love Just the way you are so much that I'm gonna listen to this album.

littleswimmerdude36
October 9th 2006


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like the beginning and end of the stranger. The middle gets boring after a while. she's always a woman is probably my favorite joel song next to shes got a way and root beer rag.


littleswimmerdude36
October 9th 2006


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What do you mean by weakest song?

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 27th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I remember learning Root Beer Rag on the piano, or at least trying to. I got the main section down, but the insane run in the middle of the song was impossible for me to get, so I gave up, and now I can't find the sheet music to try again.

This album rules, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant is such a well composed song.

BigHans
November 3rd 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

simply a classic.

BigSimo
April 24th 2011


162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

cheesy as fuck but very diverse songwriting and some great songs in there

Knott-
Emeritus
June 14th 2011


10198 Comments


if Vienna is the worst song on this album then this album must be a 324 out of 5



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