OK, now it gets interesting! Welcome to Round Two of Montauk Madness. The 32 artists who survived Round One now advance to face each other in a battle to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
Both Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra cleared Round One without breaking a sweat. Joel received 95% of the vote in a matchup against Michael Penn, while Sinatra picked up 86% against my beloved Tift Merritt.
How will they fare against each other? Continue reading
Today I embark on one of the most ambitious projects I’ve attempted during the almost nine years I’ve been posting a Song of the Day.
I was inspired by my favorite podcast, Filmspotting, which (inspired by March Madness) has run a Filmspotting Madness competition each year to determine the best [fill in the blank].
Here’s a wonderful Billy Joel track first released on 1976’s Turnstiles and later on the 1981 live compilation Songs in the Attic (that’s the version featured here).
Turnstiles was written after Joel left Los Angeles to return to his native New York and exercise more control over his music (he produced the album himself). That move is reflected in such titles as ‘New York State of Mind’ and ‘Say Goodbye to Hollywood.’ On this track, he admits that, while it’s time for him to move on, he’ll have fond memories of his life in L.A.
My #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.
It’s nice to see the title track of Billy Joel’s 1978 album 52nd Street pop up on a Random Weekend so soon after my trip to New York City to see Hamilton.
I’ve always considered this jazzy rock classic one of the quintessential New York City albums, from its cover photo of Joel leaning against a wall on 52nd Street and Seventh Avenue to city settings like Zanzibar and the Herald Square of ‘Rosalinda’s Eyes.’
My third favorite album of 1992 is The Nylon Curtain, Billy Joel’s eighth studio album and the one he has called his personal favorite.
I’d likely give that title to The Stranger or 52nd Street, but this one would round out the top three.
The album, running just nine songs long, featured Joel’s most ambitious studio work. It’s his Beatles album.
You never know what your kids will latch on to.
A few weeks back, we had a family movie night and watched 13 Going On 30, an under seen and underrated 2004 film. It’s a “young kid in a grown-up body” movie starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, and in my opinion the best of its genre, topping even Tom Hanks’ Big.