Song of the Day #3,216: ‘She’s Always a Woman’ – Billy Joel vs. Michael Penn

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].

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,109: ‘I’ve Loved These Days (Live)’ – Billy Joel

billy_joel_songs_atticHere’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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,876: ’52nd Street’ – Billy Joel

52ndstreetIt’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.’

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,568: ‘Allentown’ – Billy Joel

nyloncurtainMy 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.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,419: ‘Vienna (Live)’ – Billy Joel

billy_joelYou 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.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #2,121: ‘Vienna (Live)’ – Billy Joel

billy_joelBilly Joel’s ‘Vienna’ is a song that I tend to forget when compiling lists like this one.

But when I listen to it again, it feels like the only song in the world I’ll ever need.

It’s so beautifully written and performed, so expertly produced by Phil Ramone, and its message is so simple and profound. It’s truly perfect.

Continue reading