Song of the Day #2,943: ‘Sleeping With the Television On’ – Billy Joel

glasshousesMy #2 album of 1980 would elicit gasps among the critical elite, who have long dismissed Billy Joel as a hack. Fuck ’em. Glass Houses is a blast — not The Stranger or 52nd Street great, but a whole lot of fun.

Rolling Stone wrote a vicious review of this album that ends with the admittedly catchy line “his material’s catchy… but then, so’s the flu.” And that’s about the kindest thing they had to say.

I don’t get it. But I’ve never gotten the hostility so many music snobs have for Billy Joel.

On Glass Houses, Joel goes for an Elvis Costello/Joe Jackson vibe, and as usual, proves that he can write winning tunes in any genre. The off-kilter mellow pop of ‘Don’t Ask Me Why,’ ‘I Don’t Want to Be Alone,’ ‘Through the Long Night’ and today’s SOTD is a new sound for him that still feels entirely his own.

Hits ‘You May Be Right,’ ‘Sometimes a Fantasy’ and ‘It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me’ remain as comforting and familiar as a favorite pillow. You have to be a cynical bastard not to enjoy this album.

I’ve been watching you waltz all night Diane
Nobody’s found a way behind your defenses
They never notice the zap gun in your hand
Until you’re pointing it and stunning their senses

All night long, all night long
You’ll shoot ’em down because you’re waiting for somebody good to come on
All night long, all night long
But you’re sleeping with the television on

You say you’re looking for someone solid here
You can’t be bothered with those ‘just for the night’ boys
Tonight unless you take some kind of chances dear
Tomorrow morning you’ll wake up with a white noise

All night long, all night long
You’re only standing there ’cause somebody once did somebody wrong
All night long, all night long
But you’ll be sleeping with the television on

You’re eyes are saying talk to me, talk to me
But your attitude is “don’t waste my time”
Your eyes are saying talk to me, talk to me
But you won’t hear a word ’cause it just might be the same old line

This isn’t really easy for me to say Diane
I know you don’t need anybody’s protection
I really wish I was less of a thinking man
And more a fool who’s not afraid of rejection

All night long, all night long
I’ll just be standing here ’cause I know I don’t have the guts to come on
All night long, all night long
And I’ll be sleeping with the television on

You’re eyes are saying talk to me, talk to me
But my attitude is “boy, don’t waste my time”
Your eyes are saying talk to me, talk to me
But I won’t say a word ’cause it just might be somebody else’s same old line

All night long, all night long
We’re only standing here ’cause somebody might do somebody wrong
All night long, all night long
And we’ll be sleeping with the television on
Sleeping with the television on
Sleeping with the television on

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,943: ‘Sleeping With the Television On’ – Billy Joel

  1. Dana says:

    Joel’s critics have faded into obscurity while the piano man sits in both the songwriter’s and rock ‘n roll halls of fame. I think Joel and his fans had the last laugh.

  2. Peg says:

    I totally agree!

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