Sunday, January 20, 2008

CD Review: The Stranger

1) Movin' Out
2) The Stranger
3) Just the Way You Are
4) Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
5) Vienna
6) Only the Good Die Young
7) She's Always a Woman
8) Get it Right the First Time
9) Everybody Has a Dream
Thanks, Christina. I hadn't heard this album in its entirety until after you named it as your favorite Billy Joel album. So, last night, I bought it at F.Y.E., telling myself, "This BETTER be as good as Christina thinks it is!" I kid.
Well, it IS a damn good album. My only complaint is that it sounds dated in spots. I guess that's what happens when you make an album in 1977.
Every song is good, with the very best track easily being "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant". Billy's a great songwriter and storyteller, nowhere better exemplified than in this song. Some lovely sax work from Richie Cannata breaks this story into chapters, as explained in this video.
Love the other songs, too. "Movin' Out" is another display of Billy's storytelling. "The Stranger" sounds a bit dated, what with the disco beat, but listen to the words, and you'll get a thought-provoking description of the side of yourself you hide from certain people. And unlike that lecture Mrs. McDonough gave you about that two years ago, you can disco-dance to this song. Then comes the classic cheesy ballad, "Just the Way You Are". Gotta love that electric piano. Want a treat? Check out José Feliciano's cover. Don't forget the accent on the e.
And that's just the first half! All in all, Billy's excellent songs, combined with top-notch performances and production, make for what may indeed be his best work. Thanks, Christina.
****3/4 out of five

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