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].
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.